Today Virgin Voyages, a new cruise line from Richard Branson's Virgin Group, cut steel on their first ship. The ceremony, which took place at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Genoa, Italy represents the brand "becoming real", as up to now the very real effort to create Virgin Voyages has been planning and marketing without the tease of an actual ship. Now, Hull 6287 (the name of the first Virgin Voyages ship has not yet been announced) is officially under construction and Plantation, FL based Virgin Voyages, lead by CEO Tom McAlpin is one big step closer to their first cruise in 2020. The ship is slated to be 110k gross tons, carrying 2,800 guests and 1,150 crew - an impressive crew to passenger ratio.
The next major milestone in any ship-building project, the keel-laying ceremony will take place at Fincantieri later this year.
I've not shared in past posts my excitement about what Virgin Voyages has been planning. They seem to be aiming squarely at me. That in mind it'd be great to get a little something of substance out of them. So much of what we can tell so far we've had to derive by reading between the lines of their marketing copy and videos. For example, they've not mentioned families, but beyond that the video from their last big press event didn't show a single child. They haven't specifically addressed cost of target demographics, but their passenger to staff ratio is what we see in the upper ends of the market, though we see younger people pictured in their ads, and their ships are larger than the ultra-premium and luxury markets tend to get. I'm not complaining here, as starting a cruise line from the ground up is certainly quite the task. If anything this shows their success so far as I've thirsty for more.
What do you think about Virgin Voyages? Have you seen enough to know you'll want to sail or are you skeptical about a new player in an industry traditionally built on decades of experience? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter!