It just makes sense. As you’re enjoying your Virgin Cola, the artist you’re listening to on Virgin Radio blaring through your Virgin Mobile driven smartphone may be signed to Virgin Records. The flight you’re waiting to board could be on Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America or, if rich and adventurous (and in the not-so-distant future), Virgin Galactic. See where I’m going with this?
It seems that British tycoon Richard Branson has his charismatic fingers in just about every cookie jar imaginable so it comes as no surprise to hear about his newest addition to the Virgin Group family, Virgin Cruises. With over 400 companies in the Virgin conglomerate, many in the travel sector, it just makes sense for Branson to branch out to the open seas, extending his brand to where it has yet to tread. So, what exactly is Virgin’s point of difference in a market that isn’t necessarily over-saturated but definitely competitive?
“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.” – Richard Branson
At the helm as Virgin Cruises CEO will be someone who knows a thing or two about branding and the cruise industry, founder and former president of Disney Cruise Line, Tom McAlpin. Along with private equity firm, Bain Capital, Virgin Cruises is investing upwards of $2 billion on two new ships that are already being designed but a firm launch date remains top secret.
“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.” – Tom McAlpin
Something different, with famed Virgin service sounds very much like something Sir Branson could get behind, after all, in-flight massages and manicures are Virgin’s ideas and a prime example of the level of service and style one can expect aboard one of their ships. A consumer driven product that is sexy and functional is something Virgin has almost trademarked and in bringing that focus and distinction to a currently stagnant industry, Virgin hopes to broaden the market that currently takes to the seas to vacation. Like I said, it just makes sense.
As the first new major ocean cruise line in 20 years (Disney Cruise Line was the last in 1996), Virgin Cruises will be based in Miami and expect to be sailing by 2020.