When it sets sail in 2020, Virgin Voyages will be an adults-only cruise line, Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin said at the keel-laying ceremony for the new cruise brand’s first ship. The event took place at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa, Italy.
Billed as an “Adult By Design” experience, Virgin Voyages guests will need to be at least 18 years or older to sail, a decision McAlpin said was driven by feedback from guests and travel professionals, who are looking for a more elevated and premium experience.
The “Adult By Design” branding is the latest evolution of the new cruise brand’s concept. When it was first announced back in 2014 as Virgin Cruises, details were scarce, with Branson only promising “to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love.”
Later, when the brand was renamed Virgin Voyages, the focus had shifted to “young at heart” cruise travelers, a category that includes both Millennials, as well as those looking for a more boutique cruise experience.
At the event McAlpin and Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson also shared a few design details on the new ship, which is set to make its debut in 2020. 86 percent of the ship’s cabins will have a sea terrace, and 93 percent will have an ocean view. The ship’s livery, which was also unveiled at the event, will incorporate a silver-grey hull with smoked glass and touches of Virgin-brand red, including a red funnel. The livery was conceptualized by Ben Christie and David Azurdia from Magpie Studio in London. RWD from Beaulieu England created the funnel.
Virgin Voyages’ first fleet will be known as the “Lady Ships”, meant to be a play on the term ‘your ladyship’, a nod to Virgin’s British heritage. The spirit of the ship will be represented by a mermaid design that will adorn the bow. The mermaid is inspired by figureheads on historic vessels and was designed by London-based artist Toby Tinsley, who also designed the feminine motif on Virgin Galactic.
The ships will also incorporate a number of sustainability enhancements through a partnership with waste management system provider Scanship. Together, Virgin Voyages and Scanship will explore the development of technology that could one day significantly reduce ocean discharge by turning waste into energy, Virgin said.
Bookings are now open at virginvoyages.com. Guests and travel partners can place a $500 refundable deposit for access to an exclusive pre-sale before Virgin Voyages goes on general sale.