FLORIDA, United States, Tuesday October 25, 2016 – Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson isn’t a fan of cruises. And he made no secret of that in a blog on his company’s website.
“I have never been on a cruise, and never wanted to – they sound stuffy and dull,” wrote the keen sailor, water sports enthusiast and conservationist last week.
But, the British billionaire added, “I would love to go on a voyage – they sound adventurous, exciting and glamourous.”
And that’s the reason behind him unveiling Virgin Voyages as the identity for his company’s cruise line which will sail from Miami to the Caribbean in 2020.
“Thousands of future sailors and travel professionals shared their thoughts with us and tasked us with delivering the most irresistible vacation at sea, and our name alone should leave them dizzy with anticipation,” Sir Richard said at a press conference in Miami last week.
Virgin Voyages’ first ship will offer a range of Caribbean itineraries to ports that deliver unique and very social experience, the company said.
When asked if the new ships would include Cuba in their itineraries, Sir Richard noted that Virgin has been flying to Cuba from London for years and he “definitely” hoped to include the island in Virgin Voyages.
He said Virgin Voyages would create boutique experiences for travellers that are as “magical” as those offered by his other ventures – which include Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Trains, a Chicago hotel, and a game reserve and lodge in South Africa.
Added Virgin Voyages’ CEO and president Tom McAlpin: “This is anything but just another cruise or holiday, it will be a transformational experience delivering a very Virgin style of adventure.”
And in a first for the cruise industry, Virgin Voyages is partnering with Climeon, a world-renowned clean energy innovator, to install a system on all three of its ships that will transform waste heat from the engines into electricity for on-board use.
The vessels will be built by Italian master shipbuilder Fincantieri and will have a capacity for 2,700 “sailors” – as passengers will be called – and 1,150 crew members.