Virgin Voyages promises casual sophistication aboard a fleet of adults-only cruise ships designed specifically for the millennial cruise market.
Sir Richard Branson, chairman and founder of Virgin Group, surprised the cruise industry in 2014 when he announced that he was planning to launch a new cruise line.
In actual fact, however, the British tycoon has reportedly long had an interest in owning his own line.
Virgin Voyages took delivery of the first of three 110,000-ton, 2,750-passenger ships in 2020. The cruise line, headed up by Tom McAlpin, a veteran of the cruise industry, targets British, European and North American millennials, but is an adult-only cruise line.
The Virgin Voyages cruise experience
Virgin Voyages has taken a novel approach to the on-board experience, while there will be a casino, a mainstay of the modern mainstream cruise industry, there won’t be any Broadway or Broadway-type shows, which is also a fairly synonymous aspect of the cruise experience.
The cruise line focuses on partying hard at night and relaxing during the day. There are lots of bars and lounges and unusual night activities, including aerialists, comedy, pop-up music, interactive theater and more.
Daytime is structured around a “Vitamin Sea” philosophy that emphasizes relaxation and wellness. The line expects cruisers to participate in a detox, retox array of activities throughout the day.
Virgin Voyages is also working with land-based hotel designers to create the ships’ interiors, rather than cruise ship designers, reflecting Branson’s desire for the ships to be more reminiscent of hotel than other cruise ships.
This desire to be different is reflected in the lack of any main dining room aboard the ships, instead there are 20 dining venues on offer, which are included in the fare. Nine of them are proper sit-down restaurants.
Dining aboard Virgin Voyages
When it comes to dining, there will be an upscale Mexican restaurant called Pink Agave featuring electric blue metallic lighting fixtures, oversized banquet tables and porthole windows to let in natural light.
There will also be a bar area in the foyer and a private dining room for larger groups.
Another specialty restaurant is Test Kitchen, a restaurant by night and an interactive learning center by day, with a fun laboratory-inspired décor.
The entryway features lighting fixtures that mimic the periodic table and design elements add to the laboratory feel with metallic furniture, beakers and test tubes. There are hands-on cooking classes and training in how to be a barista.
Out on deck, there’s an aft area called The Dock, inspired by seaside lounges in the Hamptons and Ibiza. It features wooden deck chairs, loungers and day beds.
Up on the top deck, Virgin Voyages have taken the sun deck concept and tweeked it, The Athletic Club is a space in which to relax, play or see and be seen.
There’ll be a huge daybed capable of accommodating 80 people, white and red-striped semi-circular loungers, and a 220-square-foot area of triple netting where cruisers can lay out and overlook the open space and decks below, just like they would if sailing on a catamaran.
There is also a sports bar here, with pub games like air hockey, as well as 10 cabanas overlooking the ocean with beverage service from the adjacent bar. Incorporated into the Athletic Club will be a basketball court, boxing ring, and indoor and outdoor gyms.
Also on the top deck is Richard’s Rooftop, a chic outdoor lounge reserved exclusively for the ship’s suite passengers. It has a futuristic feel with circular loungers, giant umbrellas and, of course, a full bar.
One of the most important spots on-board is The Manor, the ship’s signature nightclub with a colour scheme of green, purple and gold.
Virgin Voyages’ entertainment line-up is as eclectic and eccentric as everything else about the brand. All through the ship there are aerialists, comedy, pop-up music, and interactive theater as well as unexpected tableside shows during dinner in some of the restaurants.
There’s no cruise director. Instead, the line has a group of people on each ship dedicated to coordinating entertainment or “happenings” around the vessels. They comprise a variety of theater producers, directors and artists.
Virgin Voyages destinations and itineraries
Scarlet Lady, the first ship to be delivered, will cruise in the Caribbean year-round from Miami from 2021 onwards.
Valiant Lady will homeport in Barcelona, cruising in the Mediterranean.
Virgin Voyages has said that it is considering all options for cruise destinations and may even consider cruising from Dubai.
Types of passengers on a Virgin Voyages cruise
Virgin Voyages wants brand loyalists who have never cruised before to try it aboard its ships.
Many passengers are therefore likely to be first-timers, and because Virgin is targeting millennials, they’ll be fairly young at 20 to 40 years old.
Because the cruise line is adults-only, many are also likely to be modern childless couples.
Cruise ships in the Virgin fleet:
Categories: Cruise Line Focus