Virgin released details of their new cruise venture yesterday.
Their first ship is set to launch in 2020, with the others following in 2021 and 2022, whist a letter of intent was signed with Italian ship builders Fincantieri to build all three vessels.
Virgin called the event in which the announcement was made “let’s make waves” but did they make waves with their news – and was it as industry changing as they claimed it would be?
So far we’d have to say no…
Richard Branson arrived to deliver the news by helicopter, landing amidst plumes of Virgin red smoke but this was perhaps the most exciting part of the event.
Virgin surprised many by going against the industry trend to build mega ships by announcing their intent to build a series of mid-sized ships.
Tom McAplin, Virgin Cruises CEO, explained the move: “We made the decision to sail against the current trend of building these big megaships.”
“We are going to be constructing smaller, more boutique vessels. We have deliberately chosen a size of ship that allows us to offer an excellent variety of experiences but in a more intimate environment.”
Except the ships are anything but small and boutique or intimate – at 2,800 passengers a ship!
The port of Miami will be home to the first ship and itineraries will only include cruises to the Caribbean.
Richard Branson went on to explain that: “We now have the right partners in place to build a world-class cruise line that will redefine the cruising experience for good. The Virgin Cruises approach will appeal to cruisers and non-cruisers alike, and we look forward to being in Miami and delivering an experience for people who want a new way to cruise…
“This is a very exciting day for Virgin and travellers around the globe.”
The brand also hopes to attract a large amount of passengers who are new to the cruise market. The Billionaire explained: “they did a lot of market research… and 85% of people who had never been on a cruise ship said they would seriously consider it if it was a virgin cruise ship.”
Perhaps most interestingly, Virgin want customers to help design the ships. You can actually submit your own ideas on their website to be considered! You can have a go at this here.
With Virgin being such an innovative company, many wondered what kinds of technology they may put on the vessels. Fincantieri chairman Vincenzo Petrone said: “The level of the entertainment… envisioned is extremely complex with technological challenges. But we are sure we can together develop a very special type of platform.”
Branson also mentioned that he has been dreaming of having his own cruise line for decades.
Some critics don’t think that Virgin have announced anything that will revolutionise the cruising industry yet, instead just relying on their name to attract cruisers… but what do you think?
Do you think these ships will make the “waves” that Branson anticipates or do you think that Virgin are playing it safe and will just be introducing another cruise line no different to any others?
Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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