It is now official. Richard Branson’s family owned investment group has announced the formation of Virgin Cruises. Most details have not been officially announced but here are some of the “buzz words” circulating the industry.
1. Two world-class, luxury ships will be built. Rumors say the ships accommodate about 1200 guests.
2. Rumors also say the ships will be operating by 2019, and the only hint that Mr. Branson has dropped is that the ships will, “attract people like myself who’ve never been on a cruise ship,”
3. Based on more hints and Branson’s style in travel, experts feel the ship will cater to a luxury offering with many of the ‘add-on’ features (for which others charge a fee) inclusive to the cruise fare.
4. The cruise line will be based in the Miami/Ft Lauderdale area. This is also home to the three other giant cruise conglomerates Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines.
5. Bain Capital has been secured to financially support the new cruise line, so this operation has some big dollars behind it.
6. "We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love. They'll be sailing on the latest ships offering great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service," said Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson in a statement.
7. Tom McAlpin will be the new CEO of Virgin Cruises. McAlpin, is a former president of The World, Residences at Sea and Disney Cruise Line. He is not saying much at this point, but he did express his vision that, "Cruise guests deserve something better and different to what is being offered today, and Virgin Cruises is committed to creating breathtaking experiences for them and a new generation of guests."
8. The partners have said they plan to “make waves’ within an industry that is ready for reinvention. With the big players all into onboard entertainment equipment, it will be interesting to see what Virgin is planning.