(6 a.m. EST) -- New luxury cruise line The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection today laid the keel for its first ship, set to debut in late 2019.
The keel laying ceremony took place at the Hijos De J. Barreras Shipyard in Vigo, Spain. Commemorative coins were welded to the ship's hull, and the first section of the ship was lowered into place in the building dock. In attendance were Douglas Prothero, Managing Director of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection; Timothy Grisius, Global Real Estate Officer for Marriott International; HJ Barreras Shipyard's Chairman Jose Garcia Costas; and Tillberg Design of Sweden's Owner and Executive Project Director Fredrik Johansson.
Reservations for the unnamed, 298-passenger ship will open to the public in May 2018. The ship's inaugural season includes visits to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Intended to evoke the feeling you'd get on a luxurious private yacht, the ship will feature all-balcony suites, a Ritz-Carlton spa, and a restaurant by Michelin-starred Sven Elverfeld. Renderings show an infinity pool at the back of the ship and a marina platform with kayaks and a speed boat.
--By Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor