Richard Branson's Virgin Voyages Will Enter Cruise Market as Adult-Only Line

by Daniel McCarthy
Richard Branson's Virgin Voyages Will Enter Cruise Market as Adult-Only Line

Photo: VirginVoyages


The first of three ships from Virgin Voyages, the cruise line introduced by Richard Brandon’s mega-business group last year, will be a far cry from the industry’s standard family-friendly lines.

Virgin announced on Tuesday that its first ship, which is set to enter service in 2020, will be adult-only, with only guests over the age of 18 welcomed aboard.

Branson made the announcement during the ship’s keel laying at Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

“She will be the most recognizable ship on the seven seas,” Branson told attendees.

The ship will sail 2,800 passengers, around the same size of Celebrity Solstice and Carnival Liberty. According to McAlpin, the line’s president and CEO who was on hand with Branson at the event, close to 90% of the ship’s cabins will feature a balcony.

Aside from the age restrictions, Branson and McAlpin revealed some of the ship’s other features that they hope will make it stand out from the rest of the market.

For one, guests will be called “sailors” and those balconies gracing the outside of the ship will be called “sea terraces.” The ship will also feature a mermaid design on its bow and a silver hull adorned with smoked glass and the signature Virgin red.

All three of Virgin’s ships will be known as “Lady Ships,” which the men said is a nod to the British term “your ladyship.”

When Branson first announced the ship order in October 2016, he noted that he had never set foot on a cruise ship. He also said it was an intentional decision to take the word “cruise” out of the name, calling the word “awful.”

The plan is for the ship to sail out of Miami for its inaugural season, though no specific itineraries have been announced. The other two ships are scheduled to be delivered in 2022.

All three ships will have Climeon Ocean, a power system that turns waste into clean energy, which will lower the released carbon dioxide of each ship by 5,400 tons per year.

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