I had waited five years for this reunion and had fondly imagined it among the minarets and earthy romance of Casablanca, where the Oscar-winning film of the same name still casts a nostalgic shadow.
Granted, this was never going to match the emotionally charged contacts of the Hollywood classic, and the reality, as we drove along congested highways that weaved past towering ultra-modern hotels in a battered excuse of a taxi, wasn’t exactly evocative.
But as we pulled into the harbor, Evrima lay before us, shining like a precious pearl in this industrial wasteland, all clean lines and flowing contours, in stark contrast to the surrounding battalion of dusty cranes and tightly stacked shipping containers.
The last time I saw this glamorous megayacht was in October 2018, when its bare metal hull slid from the slipway of the Galician shipyard, where it was built, into the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, ready for its seaworthy tests.
It was a moment of celebration, cementing luxury hotel giant Ritz-Carlton’s entry into the world of ocean cruising with the first of three opulent superyachts managed under its offshoot The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.
This glitzy newcomer promised to bring the gold standard world of hotel hospitality to the oceans. Still, the first trip was plagued with complications; Shipyard issues, the Covid pandemic and resulting supply issues delayed Evrima’s launch eight times before the megayacht finally launched on its maiden voyage from Barcelona in October 2022 – two and a half years behind schedule.
As I walked onto the gangway a year later, in October 2023, I eagerly anticipated how this ‘new era of yacht-style cruising’ – costing upwards of £1,000 per night – would compare to more traditional, luxury experiences at sea.
The differences were immediate and clear. There was no grand atrium or reception area, but instead the Living Room, a chilled lounge area that flowed across the width of the yacht. This was the central hub where guests gathered, immersed in books from the library or gathered for aperitifs and hors d’oeuvres to the lilting sounds of live music.
Evrima’s cool and contemporary vibe is reminiscent of chic boutique hotels, with muted tones of fawn and chocolate, smoky dark woods and leather panels, enlivened with flashes of sienna, emerald green and tangerine. Modernist works of art adorned walls and filled spaces.
This effortless class extended to our two-story loft suite, one of six different types on this suite ship, packed in a wow factor with a living area upstairs plus a balcony or ‘private terrace’ and a bedroom downstairs (where my first instinct was to play with the electronic blinds and light controls via the touchpad) and a private bathroom with marble mantel.
With only 298 guests, I found the atmosphere on board Evrima to be more cliquey than on other exclusive ships. Maybe because after joining this cruise halfway through, everyone was already satisfied, but I missed the camaraderie that is normally such an intrinsic part of small ship travel.
But then Evrima does not attract the usual cruise crowd. It’s a younger couple, mostly Americans and mostly in their 50s. About half of them have never taken a cruise before, and 40 percent are dipping their impeccably groomed toes in the waters of the Ritz-Carlton after sampling the chain’s hotels.
What united them was a rich aura that radiated from their reassuringly expensive wardrobes and suspiciously smooth skin tones.
This was a world of the demure and the super-rich, as demonstrated in Evrima’s designer boutique, where I gazed at Cartier watches and Chanel bags that retailed for as much as £5,580, although I was too late for the three Hermès Birkin bags that cost almost £16,000 each. piece that had already been broken off.
As we sailed towards Tenerife we dined in style at the five restaurants – a fair amount for such a small ship, enjoying the curries and noodles of the Asian specialty Talaat Nam, succulent surf and peat in the lovely open-air Mistral and exquisite melting pot . Beef carpaccio in the mouth in the main restaurant of the Evrima Room.
Unlike traditional cruise ships, there was no buffet location, but the casual eatery Pool House did a good job with breakfast snacks, lunch burgers and poke bowls.
The main draw for foodies – and the only venue that cost extra – was SEA, led by chef Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the Ritz-Carlton property in the German city of Wolfsburg, which has three Michelin stars, where our seven-course ‘culinary trip’ with unique flavors was beautifully presented, although I wasn’t convinced this justified the stomach-churning surcharge of £318 per person.
But I started to wonder if it was just me, as prices didn’t seem to be an issue for this well-heeled crowd, with rumors of a Brazilian family splashing out around £2,000 on wines during one meal – easy to do if the wine list is full of vintages. costs four figures, topped up with a bottle of Montrachet Grand Cru 2006 for a wallet-breaking £15,300.
Claiming one of the highest space ratios at sea, Evrima never felt crowded, with two infinity pools and hot tubs spread across several sundecks, although poor conditions left the Marina Terrace and water toys at the rear of the ship disappointingly off limits goods .
To enhance the yacht’s family appeal, there is a Ritz Kids club; empty during our sailing, although it was the opposite story for the Ritz-Carlton spa, whose five treatment rooms, all with outdoor terraces, enjoyed a steady stream of visitors.
Reminders of the Ritz-Carlton heritage were everywhere, with the signature emblem adorning the ship’s supplies and our super-soft bathrobes. How did Evrima fulfill its sacred lineage?
There’s no doubt that this relative newcomer ticks the same opulent boxes. With a crew to guest ratio of almost one to one, including our own personal concierges, the service was certainly attentive (as with other luxury cruise lines), although a little refinement would not go amiss.
But as a chic eye-catcher, this superyacht holds its own in the most stylish of ways, promising a tantalizing taste of the jet-set lifestyle that will make you feel like a million bucks – whatever your bank balance.
Sara Macefield was a guest at The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection (0800 048 8667; ritzcarltonyachtcollection.com). The 10-night crossing from Venice to Civitavecchia, including Dubrovnik, Kotor, Amalfi and Capri, costs from £10,528 pp including tips, drinks and WiFi. Departs July 28; flights extra