When you work in the travel industry, you get excited about new hotel openings, new airline routes, reduced travel restrictions for certain destinations, and the like. But very rarely does something truly innovative and new come along. This is one of those times. When we heard that Ritz-Carlton was launching a luxury yacht collection, we knew we had to get the scoop and share it with you. Please meet our new friend, Ray Huynh!
CIRE: Hello Ray! It was great seeing you earlier this month at the First in Service Travel Summit in NYC! And so awesome to hear the exciting news out of Ritz-Carlton! But first, say hello…
RAY: Hi there! Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity! It was so great to see you all and Eric at the First in Service Travel Summit in NYC! For those that do not know me, my name is Ray Huynh and I am a Strategic Accounts Manager for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. In my role, I oversee trade relations for the eastern USA, eastern Canada, and Latin America.
CIRE: We have been so eager to hear more about this new Ritz-Carlton product! Tell us about the Yacht Collection!
RAY: We are the first of its kind and could not be more excited and proud of what we’ve accomplished! We’ve combined the luxury lifestyle of The Ritz-Carlton with the casual freedom of a yachting vacation. Evrima, our custom built superyacht, splits her time between the Mediterranean and Caribbean, and offers itineraries that have been designed to be at a much more relaxed pace so guests have more time at ports of call and overnight opportunities! And then through our shore collection offerings, guests can learn about the local cultures of each destination through curated immersive experiences ashore.
CIRE: We are overly geeked out about this! How do you differentiate Evrima from a cruise ship? And what would you say to people who are not “cruise people”?
RAY: We offer a very intimate experience onboard Evrima, with a nearly 1-to-1 crew-to-guest ratio and approximately 1-to-82 square foot guest-to-space ratio! Evrima is not a cruise ship – she is a superyacht. She is just over 600 feet long with 149 suites, all with their own private terraces and ocean views. Even at full capacity, which is around 300 guests, it will feel very intimate. Evrima is truly stunning, refined and elegant in design, with subtle hints of luxury that exude throughout. A client once described her time onboard Evrima like being on her rich uncle’s superyacht.
CIRE: Wow! This sounds right up our alley. Is Evrima the only Ritz-Carlton Yacht?
RAY: Evrima is our only superyacht at the moment, however, I am excited to share that we have two more new superyachts on the way – Ilma and Luminara! Ilma will be in the water and sailing at the end of 2024, and Luminara at the end of 2025!
CIRE: Amazing! Are you new to Ritz-Carlton, Ray?
RAY: I am not, actually. I started with The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans in 2013. My first job with the brand was at the front desk, and from there I moved to events, sales, housekeeping, and now “trade relations,” which is working with luxury travel advisors like the team at CIRE. I’ve lived in California, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.
CIRE: And where is home now?
RAY: Home is South Florida currently, where I’ve been for 8+ years. I recently relocated to Fort Lauderdale from Miami. And before that, I lived in New Orleans. Growing up, I split my time between California and Texas.
CIRE: WE LOVE NEW ORLEANS! What are your top tips for visitors to NOLA?
RAY: I love New Orleans, too! If you have the opportunity, definitely do a long weekend and check out the Red Dress Run in August. It’s really neat because everybody in town, men and women, are decked out in red dresses and it doubles as a fundraiser! There’s a 5k(ish) run event, and afterwards, everyone is in the French quarter having a good time. Some people take it to the next level…if they’re traveling to NOLA by plane, they post photos of themselves on the plane in the red dress!
And one of my favorite restaurants when I was there is an Italian place called Domenica. Have you ever had clam pizza? It’s probably the most amazing pizza I’ve ever had in my life. Most people wouldn’t think of ordering it, but I love to try to new things. It’s one of the highlights from my time living in NOLA.
CIRE: The Red Dress Run sounds like a hoot! Clam pizza sounds…intriguing… Tell us about your favorite vacation ever.
RAY: Bangkok, Thailand! The people and food are simply amazing! I went years ago and happened to be there during the Thai New Year. OMG, so much fun! It’s in the springtime and everyone celebrates with colored chalk powder and water guns. You use the chalk to “bless” people and the other component is everyone is running around with water guns! The streets are packed with people celebrating. The fire department even has the hydrants going and are spraying people with water. It was so wholesome and fun! If you go to smaller cities, they bring the elephants to come and spray water on you as well!
CIRE: Pure joy! We love the picture you painted, Ray. Thank you for sharing your story with us and for sharing the amazing details of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Looking forward to meeting Evrima in person soon!
CIRE Travel is a full-service travel agency headquartered in New York, NY. Our expert team supports clients across the country and around the world.
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