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Fueled by a lifelong passion for yachting and over 28 years of expertise in the cruise and tours industries, Gordon Merritt, co-founder of L’esprit Cruises, is setting out to redefine luxury experiences and make them more accessible.

Inspired by the comfort and customization of private yacht charters, L’esprit is developing a unique alternative to traditional cruises. This innovative concept reimagines the day cruise, allowing guests to explore the Caribbean coastline in style and comfort, all while enjoying the unparalleled amenities of a superyacht.

Currently seeking investors to fuel their growth and bring this unique experience to life, L’esprit Cruises aims to fill a gap in the travel industry, offering a more accessible and personalized option for luxury travel enthusiasts.

In this interview, Gordon Merritt shares his inspiration, the gap L’esprit aims to fill, and the unique offerings that set the company apart. Additionally, we’ll explore L’esprit’s commitment to sustainable practices and their vision for the future.

L'Esprit cruises

What is the inspiration behind L’esprit Cruises? 

Ever since I cruised on my first private yacht, I’ve been in love with the possibility of owning one myself. After I bought my first 36ft cabin cruiser, I wanted to learn everything I could about passenger boats and what I would have to do to become rich in the passenger cruise industry.

To learn the cruise industry in detail, I decided that the only way to do it was to start my own Travel Company. Debbi and I spent the next 27 years creating an award-winning company booking customers on the most reputable cruise lines, charter yachts, and arranging luxury Excursions and Tours all over the world.

We discovered that Charter Yachts gave the highest level of cruising pleasure than any other passenger ship. Chartering a yacht just for you and your guests to enjoy is very different from a cruise ship vacation, as it is tailored just for your preferences along with your itinerary, your excursions, your chef, a staff that waits on you hand and foot, and the ability to stay in one place longer if you like or leave early if a destination disappoints.

The problem is, chartering a yacht is expensive and, because of that, very few people will have the opportunity to experience it. BUT WHAT IF……Super Yachts were introduced into the Tours and Activities market? The answer to that question is what created the L’esprit  Superyacht Day Cruise concept.

What insights can you share about the Tours and Activities segment of the Travel Industry?

The Tours and Activities market is defined as the amount of money travelers spend on destinations while traveling – including tours, attractions, events, activities (not including dining and shopping), and transportation.

The global market for Tours and Activities bookings was $157 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach a revised size of $264.4 billion by 2030. In comparison, the cruise industry worldwide generated $13.6 billion in revenue in 2022, with the U.S. being the largest contributor in terms of paying passengers.

Many resellers of Tours & Activities have launched and online travel’s biggest brands (including Expedia, Airbnb, and TripAdvisor) have moved into this space. All are fueling astonishing sector growth and travel activities are positioned to reach $183 billion by 2020.

Vacationers want to experience something new and are tired of the same old tours and activities. The truth is, that the tours and activities space is undergoing a radical reinvention of what exactly it means to experience something new on vacation.

L'Esprit cruises

What specific details, services, or amenities set L’Esprit apart, especially for those seeking a refined travel experience?

L’esprit plans to offer an exclusive experience tailored for refined travelers. Picture indulging in the coastal charm of an island destination from the opulent confines of a super yacht, accommodating 300-500 passengers. With flexible boarding and disembarking via water taxis, guests can tailor their experience.

During the daytime cruise, guests can enjoy sightseeing, dining, entertainment, spa services, swimming, and sunbathing. As twilight descends, the Sunset Cruise will continue the enchanting journey along the shoreline, promising unparalleled luxury and leisure.

What environmental initiatives are in place or planned to promote sustainable operations?

To promote sustainable operations, L’esprit Yacht will implement state-of-the-art and eco-friendly measures. For example, each ship will feature hybrid electric main engines. Additionally, they will utilize Wingsail propulsion known as Oceanwings®, eliminating the need to activate main engines for propulsion.

Pod Propeller Systems and Bow Thrusters will enable the use of Dynamic Positioning Systems instead of anchors, preserving seabeds and coral reefs. Furthermore, a desalination plant will convert salt water into fresh water, and pump-out stations on land will be utilized instead of waste dumping into the sea.

What are your future plans for the company?

The big picture of L’esprit Superyacht Day Cruises is to build into the largest, and most profitable Day Cruise line in the world.

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