By Matteo Zaccagnino
Four Seasons enters the yachting world. 28 September is a date that marked an important turning point. At least as far as the world of luxury cruises is concerned. Or rather, until that day it could be defined as such, then the entry onto the scene of Four Seasons opened a new era. Or, to be even more precise, since that 28 September, the entry of a player of that calibre has kick-started an offer that previously did not exist on the market.
But let us go in order. The choice of location in which this new initiative was presented speaks volumes about the ambitions of the project. It took place in the Principality of Monaco and not in Miami. The context in which to highlight the project was the Monaco Yacht Show and not, as one might at first imagine, the Seatrade (an event that attracts the main operators in the cruise world every year).
And, as if this were not enough, it was not the canonical conference room of the Miami Beach Convention Center that provided the setting for the presentation, but rather the main hall of the Monte Carlo Oceanographic Museum. It was here, in front of a large audience of journalists, that Christian Clerc, President of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Nadim Ashi and Philip Levine, founders of Marc-Henry Cruise Holdings LTD; Larry Pimentel Ceo of Four Seasons Yachts; and Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO and General Manager of Fincantieri, gave a detailed explanation of the project. Here all our posts about Fincantieri
Four Seasons Yachts: the ship
It all started with the Christina O. The legendary yacht that once belonged to Aristotle Onassis was the inspiration for giving form and substance to the vision of the first ship that, from the end of 2025, will sail the oceans in Four Seasons colours. While the name of the first unit is still strictly confidential, something more is leaking out on the features, some of which are truly unique, that the ship will bring with her. The length will be 207 metres. A size that makes her rightfully part of the ranks of large yachts and not of cruise ships.
On board, the spaces will be spread over 14 decks and the offer will include a total of 95 suites or real mini-apartments with an average surface area of 54 square metres between indoor and outdoor space. The windows will be full-height, allowing guests to enjoy an immersive experience with their surroundings. Not to mention that, remaining on the subject of height, the ceilings will have an internal height of 2.4 metres.
To get an idea of the level of attention in both the design and, above all, construction phases, US$ 4.2 million will be spent on each suite. The real gem is the ‘Funnel Suite’. Located in the funnel section, it will be built on four levels and will offer more than 892 square metres of total indoor and outdoor living space, including a private swimming pool and a dedicated private spa area. There will also be restaurants, relaxation areas, a spa, swimming pool, outdoor areas and, of course, a large kit of toys and tenders to make your stay on board even more unforgettable.
The design of the Four Seasons Yachts involved several professional figures; Tillberg Design of Sweden, an excellence in this field, followed in detail the design of the exteriors and the guest suites; the London-based Martin Brudnizki Design Studio took care of many on-board social areas dedicated to the yacht’s guests while the creative direction was entrusted to Prosper Assouline.
From project to reality
The first unit of what promises to be a real fleet of ships will be built by Fincantieri, which, it is worth underlining, combines its expertise as a builder of cruise ships, including those operating in the luxury sector (just think of the orders received in past years from Silversea, Viking, and not least MSC’s new Explora brand) with important experience in the megayacht sector thanks to projects of the calibre of Serene and Ocean Victory. “We are excited to embrace this new opportunity with Four Seasons that will allow us to strengthen our global leadership position”, says Pierroberto Folgiero, Fincantieri’s CEO and General Manager, who adds: “With a reputation built on innovation and reliability, Fincantieri combines groundbreaking engineering and technology to create the finest vessels in the world, ensuring sustainability practices are integrated throughout the design and guest experience.”
With a distinct focus on guest-centric luxury finishings, Fincantieri has received global acclaim and achieved industry awards. “This project is in a class of its own, combining the best of passenger ship construction and yacht design to create a new benchmark for ultra-luxury vessels” adds Luigi Matarazzo, General Manager Merchant Ships Division of Fincantieri.
Four Seasons Yachts: Yacht or Ship?
As previously mentioned, Four Seasons Yachts opens a new chapter in the five-star offer on the sea. “In partnership with Four Seasons, we are creating a new category of luxury lifestyle travel that appeals to discerning guests. We are bringing together the very best across industries to create the pinnacle yachting offering through world-class design, curated experiences, and truly exceptional service,” says Pimentel. “When we launch in 2025, there will be nothing else like it on the open seas. Our shipbuilding partnership with Fincantieri rounds out a triumvirate of industry leaders in this unprecedented luxury lifestyle project.”
Pimentel has a long experience in the world of cruises and knows the sector very well, having in the past held the role of President and CEO of companies of the calibre of Seabourn Cruise Line, Cunard, SeaDream Yacht Club and last but not least Azamara. Translated, the best of what the luxury cruise market offers, at least to date. And here comes into play the concept devised by Four Seasons whose proposal goes beyond the logic of an experience that can be lived on a cruise ship, even a luxury one, or on a megayacht. The space is there. At least judging by the numbers.
The cruise sector after the forced stop related to the pandemic is back on track even more than before. A context in which the offer in the high-end segment alone is proving to be one of the most dynamic in the light of the growing success of a formula that favours increasingly smaller ships in terms of size, unprecedented itineraries that smell of adventure and off the beaten track, and an impeccable level of service. In a single word, a unique and unrepeatable experience that attracts the attention of a clientele in many cases at its first experience and whose age, in many cases, does not exceed 50.
Thinking over a long horizon, by 2027 there will be around 90 units operating in this market segment. But the entry on the scene of Four Seasons will raise the bar even further by adding something new on the strength of the history and reputation of a brand of this magnitude. “Four Seasons Yachts represents a new chapter in our company’s long history of excellence in industry innovation as we continue to capitalise on new opportunities to expand the Four Seasons world,” says Christian Clerc, President of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Our goal is to try to imagine new scenarios while remaining true to our values. Together with Marc-Henry Cruise Holdings LTD, we are creating something extraordinary that combines their expertise with what Four Seasons does best: offering true excellence, made up of a high level of service and love for our guests.”