Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin hosted a “Ship Tease” in Geneo revealing key details about what sailors can expect when Virgin Voyages’ first cruise ship takes to the high seas in 2020.
Sir Richard and Tom McAlpin arrived on stage in true Virgin style via a 200-foot crane drop to celebrate the laying of the keel for the first Virgin cruise ship by welding ceremonial coins into the keel for good luck and smooth sailing.
“This is a very big day for Virgin Voyages, as an exciting new holiday option for travelers starts to get ship shape. She will be the most recognizable ship sailing the seven seas, delivering an irresistible sailor experience. We’re also committed to making sure our crew are the happiest at sea and will be proud to sail with us.” said Sir Richard Branson.
In a bold and unique move for the industry the company revealed that the first ship’s experience will be “Adult By Design” – meaning that sailors must be at least 18 or older to sail. A decision that was driven by feedback from future sailors and travel professionals, who are looking for a more elevated and premium experience, with a few Virgin style surprises.
Tom McAlpin shared specifics on the Virgin Voyages design philosophy and experience saying that: “The entire ship will be built with an attention to detail, reflecting the craftsmanship and materiality inspired by super yachts. Designed to feel more intimate and connected to the sea, 86 percent of all cabins will feature a sea terrace and 93 percent an ocean view. Virgin Voyages is creating a sophisticated ship and a transformational experience that offers our sailors a place where rejuvenating day-life meets exciting nightlife and everything in between.”
Virgin Voyages’ first fleet will be known as the “Lady Ships”, a play on the term ‘your ladyship’, giving a nod to Virgin’s British heritage. The spirit of the ships will be represented by a beautiful mermaid design on the bow.
Each ship will weigh about 110,000 gross tons, be 278 meters long and 38 wide, with delivery scheduled for 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively. The ships will feature over 1,400 guest cabins that can host more than 2,700 passengers, accompanied by 1,150 crew members on board to deliver the famed Virgin service.
Virgin Voyages is now “open for business” at virginvoyages.com. Future sailors and travel partners can place a $500 refundable deposit for access to an exclusive pre-sale before Virgin Voyages goes on general sale.