Virgin, arguably the most innovative airline in the world, is making the transition from the skies to the seas. Virgin Voyages, Richard Branson’s new cruise line, has recently revealed a “shiptease,” which includes specifics about the highly-anticipated liners.
The cruise line will initially feature three ships, with a capacity of 2,700 passengers each. They are expected to take their maiden voyage in 2020 with production costs set at roughly $2 billion.
Virgin Voyages hopes to upgrade the cruising experience. Tom McAlpin, CEO at Virgin Voyages, said last week that the cruise line was aiming to “change the way this kind of vacation not only looks and feels, but most importantly, how it’s experienced.”
The cruise line will be an adults-only experience, therefore don’t expect waterslides, games or Disney characters. Rather, the ships are expected to focus on luxury. The brand has relied on the talents of designers for other travel trademarks like Ace Hotels, the Standard, and the Mondrian. The interior will be reminiscent of an exclusive art deco nightclub. The ship will also include a rooftop terrace and a catamaran net that will hang at the back of the ship.
Tom Dixon, one of the designers, told Conde Nast Traveler that: "It’s quite risky, what Virgin Voyages are trying to do, getting a bunch of [designers] who’ve never been on a cruise before. But there's a logic to that madness. If you’re going to encourage a new demographic to cruise, then why not use designers who’ve never been on [one]? We think, 'what would entice you to go on a cruise?'"
Passengers, who will be referred to as sailors, can enjoy fine dining experiences at restaurants such as Pink Agave, an avant-garde Mexican restaurant, or Test Kitchen, “scientific dining” that includes tables set with beakers, test tubes, and volumetric flasks. The cruise line will also showcase the “largest daybed at sea” and a workout area that will include a running track.
The Roman and Williams design firm, which is behind hotels such as The Standard Highline in New York City, has created The Manor, the Virgin Voyages’ signature nightclub, which was inspired by Branson’s music industry background. It will feature emerald and aubergine tones and gold accents. The firm also designed The Dock, an outdoor lounge intended for relaxing, socializing and watching the sunset. The Dock is influenced by oceanfront lounges found in the Hamptons, Ibiza or Bali.
A nautical lounge, named The Athletic Club, sits atop the ship and was designed by Concrete Amsterdam. The first ship will leave Miami and circle the Caribbean in 2020.