Virgin Voyages: Everything We Know So Far

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“Epic sea change”, “a cruise like never before”, “you’ll never want to travel any other way” ­–  that’s just some of the buzz coming from Virgin HQ about their new cruise line, Virgin Voyages. Sir Richard Branson and his crew are playing their cards very close to their chests about the latest venture, and the tactic is clearly working, as they have all but set the cruising world alight with curiosity.

We’ve scoured the web to learn all we can about the newest cruise line to take to the ocean waves, and have compiled a comprehensive list of what we know about Virgin Voyages cruise line so far.

The Facts

  • When will Virgin Voyages launch?

Soon but not soon enough is the general consensus. The vessels have passed the design stage and are currently under construction with Italian shipbuilders, Fincantieri. The very first of the Virgin Voyages ships is due to be launched in 2020, with two sister ships launching in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

  • How big will Virgin Voyages’ ships be?

Officially classed as mid-sized cruise ships, the vessels will be 110,000 tonnes and will be capable of carrying 2,700 passengers and a crew of more than 1,150.

  • How do I book with Virgin Voyages?

At present, Virgin Voyages isn’t taking bookings. Stay tuned to the Cruise1st UK blog and we’ll bring you the latest information and updates on the line as and when they’re announced.

  • Have Virgin Voyages’ ships been named?

The ships are so far unnamed, but it’s thought that the first vessel has been temporarily dubbed Virgin I. What we do know for sure is that the primary fleet will be known as Lady Ships – a play on the phrase “your ladyship”, and a cheeky nod to Virgin’s English heritage.

 virgin voyages sun deck design

The Details

A Fresh Travel Experience

According to business mogul Branson, the Virgin brand aim to “breathe new life” into the cruise sector and offer a unique experience for both new and experienced cruise travellers alike. These are some of the first ‘adult by design’ ships, and will only accept passengers over the age of 18.

Onboard Entertainment

The new line has officially waved goodbye to Broadway shows, instead choosing to focus on “cheeky and hip” adult entertainment. We’re not entirely sure what this entails but we do know there will be a casino on board. One thing is for sure, from the onboard dining options to the round-the-clock entertainment and the “Athletic Club” (the ship’s gym-meets-social hangout), every aspect of the Virgin Voyages’ vessels will have a characteristically upmarket feel.

when will virgin voyages launch

“The World’s Most Gorgeous Ships”?

A sleek, silvery hull is accented by Virgin’s trademark red, and a scarlet mermaid figurehead design decorates the sides of the bow. If you’ve ever travelled on a Virgin Atlantic flight, you’ll know to expect sleek and attractive. From the prototype images we’ve seen so far, these vessels will be akin to glossy super yachts; think silver-grey colour schemes, smoked glass and creative lighting elements. Designed to be highly distinctive on the open waters, they will offer a unique level of sophistication and, according to the team, even an air of mystery.

And the interiors are guaranteed to impress, too. The Virgin Voyages cruise company have hired super on-trend designers Roman and Williams (Ace Hotels, The Standard High Line, Le Coucou), Tom Dixon (Shoreditch House, Mondrian Hotel) and Concrete Amsterdam (Citizen M, 212 Amsterdam) to ensure exclusive, innovative and high-end design. CEO McAlpine had this to say:

“The design collective includes some of the world’s most stylish firms who are creators of design trends, not followers. Together they are imagining a vessel unlike anything sailors have experienced before that will be a complete departure from the ordinary. With this group, we have a depth of creativity that brings a different perspective to space design at sea that will change cruising for good.”

With that collective involved, you can be sure that the ship’s décor will be unlike anything you’ve seen on board a cruise ship before. Another guarantee is that 93% of the rooms on board will have ocean views (with 86% of rooms offering ‘sea terraces’) making this ship perfect for those who like their holiday photos to inspire jealousy.

Word is, Branson tasked his designers and architects with creating “the world’s most gorgeous ships” – so watch this space.

virgin voyages restaurant interior

Ocean-Friendly and Sustainable

The Virgin Voyages vessels promise to be sustainable and eco-friendly. In the early stages of designing the ship, Virgin Voyages entered into an agreement with Swedish company, Climeon to better utilise waste heat and convert it into clean electricity and, so far, several million dollars have been spent to improve the ships’ efficiency. This ocean-friendly ethos filters down to all elements of the ships – shampoo and conditioner will be sea and sea life-friendly, sun creams on board will be reef friendly and any bottles and packaging used will be reusable (Virgin did away with plastic at their properties a long time ago). It seems they have every eco-friendly box well and truly ticked.

Sailing the Seven Seas

Lots of the marketing material so far has related to ‘sailing the Seven Seas’, so will Virgin Voyages be launching world cruises? No, well, not straight away at least. The first year will be committed to the Atlantic, with cruises launching from its base in Miami before travelling to the glamorous Caribbean – but there is more in store. In interviews, Sir Richard has spoken wistfully about his cruise ships visiting the British Virgin Islands and also hinted that the Arctic and the Antarctic are on the company’s radar.

All in all, it seems that the plan is to do a little and do it very well, but knowing the way Branson’s empires tend to grow, we’re pretty sure it won’t be long before the Virgin fleet is sailing to every corner of the globe.

Keep up to date with regular updates on Virgin Voyages by signing up to the Cruise1st newsletter, and be the first to hear when bookings are being taken for Branson’s hotly-tipped fleet. Can’t wait that long? We have thousands of cruise holidays to choose from, so visit the homepage to start planning your perfect getaway today or call us on 0808 274 6777.

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Claire Wilde

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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