The idea of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin cruise brand, Virgin Voyages, has been circulating around the industry for some time. Now, it looks like we may finally be getting details of what we can expect on board each of the ships – the first of which is set to launch in 2020 under the name ‘Scarlet Lady’. Despite never having embarked on a cruise before – claiming to find them “pretty dull and boring” – the British entrepreneur has been closely involved in the design of his first cruise ship. He has even gone as far as to predict other lines will attempt to emulate his ideas in “five to six years’ time”.
It’s safe to say that Branson will be doing things a little differently, with his fresh and appealing concept offering a contemporary and sophisticated way of cruising. The main focus on board the ship will be health and well-being, with nine public spaces focussing around the “Vitamin Sea” programme of fitness and rejuvenation. Features will include an outdoor boxing ring, gymnastics equipment, cabanas and a sports bar. There will also be the ‘Gym and Tonic’ bar, and a spa complete with hydrotherapy pool, mod room, salt room, cold plunge pools and quartz beds.
This is a huge shift away from the current concept of cruising, which seems to rotate around numerous plentiful dining options, gleaming amenities and keeping the kids entertained. These ships will be adult-only and, although no specific market has been defined, Branson has encouraged that the ship will be suited for the “young at heart”.
But it doesn’t stop there – Branson has outlined plans that are set to shake up the entire industry and create a distinctively unique experience. At the crux of all of this is Virgin Voyages’ “Scarlet Squad” initiative, which will be aimed at recruiting and mentoring female crew in a variety of onboard areas such as marine, technical and hotel management. All of these fields, at present, currently show a statistically higher number of male staff members across the board.
Virgin Voyages Chief Executive, Tom McAlpin, said: “Across the maritime industry, we can do better in onboard recruiting and leadership representation for women. I want all future crew to know that Virgin Voyages will create an onboard environment that is fair, inclusive and where everyone has an opportunity to reach their full potential.”
Adding to this sentiment, Branson said: “If there is a male captain and a female captain, and they are equally qualified, we will hire the female.” Virgin Voyages will be looking to hire their first crew members in early 2019 prior to the official launch of Scarlet Lady in 2020.
In addition to this, Branson has also announced a movement to ban all use of single-use plastics across the ship. Straws, bottled water, beverage bottles, condiment packets, shopping bags, food packaging, stirrers and take away hot drink cups will not be present in any capacity aboard Scarlet Lady. Instead, recyclable and reusable materials will be used across the ship wherever possible.
Virgin Voyages have marked a step in a brand new direction for the cruise industry and will be interesting to see if other lines follow suit in the years to come. If you love cruising and are looking for a new and exciting career opportunity, you may be interested to learn more about the exciting franchise business opportunity available with GoCruise.
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