Sir Richard Branson’s latest venture Virgin Voyages promises to reinvent the cruise experience with its first ship slated to set sail from Miami in just a few weeks.
Described as “rock star” cruising for over-18s, the ships will offer table-top dancing, an on-board tattoo parlour, champagne on demand and a strict adults-only policy.
Speaking in Sydney, Branson said his interest in the sector was sparked by all the “negative feedback I’d gotten from people who’d been on cruise ships”.
“We decided to create the kind of cruise ship that myself, my friends, my adult children would have a blast on,” Branson told Today.
“And our wonderful team at Virgin, who know who to create magic, I think have managed to pull that off.”
The first vessel in what will be a $2.9 billion luxury fleet is The Scarlet Lady.
“It’ll be a fun ship to go on, it won’t be horrible, long buffets where people will have to wait for their food — there’ll be 28 individual restaurants, there’ll be running tracks… You name it, we’ll have it,” he said.
The ship will accommodate 2770 passengers, or “sailors”, across its 1330 cabins, 78 “Rock Star” suites and four “Mega Star” suites that come with standing hot tubs and guitar-lined music rooms.
“The nice thing is we’re trying to treat everybody as rock stars,” Branson said. “We’ve got big verandas where people can sit outside their suites looking at the beautiful views they’re going to enjoy as they travel around the Caribbean.”
Branson also announced a new partnership with Virgin Australia to fly Australian “Sailors” to the departure point.