Branson shows off his ‘new lady’

Entrepreneur come marketing genius Richard Branson has revealed what the inside of Virgin Voyages’ new ship will look like – and it’s exactly as you’d expect from a brand that’s redefined the music, hotel, airline and telecommunications industries in the past.

The first of three cruise liners from master shipbuilder Fincantieri is due for delivery in 2020 and is not yet named; but it’s already making a splash in the industry. Little wonder when you see the rendering unveiled in New York last week.

It’s being hailed as a ‘new kind of sea vacation’ and, as Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin puts it: “this ship just got real”.

Virgin was so keen to redefine cruising that it used what it calls ‘cruise virgins’ – that is, no one involved in the design was to have been involved in cruising prior to working on this new vessel.

“When it came to designing our first ship we really wanted to challenge the way a holiday at sea looked and felt,” Branson explained.

“It carries on a long-held tradition we have at Virgin of going into new industries with a fresh pair of eyes. Since day one we’ve done things differently.”

It may have been a risky strategy to assemble a design team who’d never worked on cruising before, but the renderings show that it may pay off.

“Virgin always challenges the cliché, they look at the world in a different way to others. So when they came to us and said they wanted to do on sea what they’ve managed to do in the airline industry it was a ‘hell yes!’ from us,” said one of the architects, Rob Wagemans of Concrete.

Virgin Voyages so far seems to be accomplishing its mission.

“Our design partners together with our internal design team have dreamed up eye-catching, intimate and alluring spaces that we can’t wait to see come to life,” Tom McAlpin said.

Richard’s Rooftop, on the top deck, is an exclusive outdoor lounge reserved for premium guests. It will feature circular lounges, giant umbrellas and ‘rainbow reflections’ splashed across the VIP area.

Signature nightclub, The Manor, is inspired by Virgin’s history in the music business, while The Dock is a chic outdoor lounge featuring ‘seaside’ lounges while highlights of The Athletic Club include the largest daybed at sea and 10 cabanas overlooking the deep blue.

While there promises to be a range of restaurants, only three have been unveiled so far, but expect more details as Branson’s #ShipTease unfolds.

The first ship will arrive in Miami in 2020, and will sail the Caribbean in its maiden voyage.

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Are you excited by Virgin’s entry to the cruise world?

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