Big news for the always-exciting cruise industry! Billionaire businessman Richard Branson’s Virgin Group—already a player in airlines, hotels, trains and yes, even space tourism—has set its sights on the cruise industry. Along with Bain Capital, the group aims to operate two ships based in South Florida for Virgin Cruises. Kemplon Engineering reports on this new development.
Virgin Group’s interest in the cruise industry has been in the news cycles since March, but the announcement was made just this December. Few details are available at this time, with financial information, ship sizes and target timelines for sailing still under wraps. But Virgin Cruises is very clear on their intent to ‘make waves’ and ‘create breathtaking experiences’ that can reinvent the industry. They aim to bring Virgin’s fun, modern style into the cruise industry, and to usher in a broader, new generation of non-traditional cruisers into their ships.
Aside from Richard Branson’s iconic prowess for creative marketing and promotion, Virgin Cruises will also have an industry powerhouse at the helm: CEO Tom McAlpin is a former president of Disney Cruise Line and also headed The World, Residences at Sea.
Business analysts expect Virgin Cruises to have new ships no earlier than 2018 or even 2019. Once launched, the cruise line will be up against considerable competition from industry behemoths Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian, who together control about 80 percent of the market. But the size of the prize is irresistible, as over 20 million passengers have cruised annually in the last few years.
We at Kemplon Engineering love hearing about and reporting on cruise news, and find joy in the ability of the industry to bring so many people out to our planet’s wonderful oceans and exotic locales. Like many in the maritime community, we eagerly await more news on what Virgin Group will bring into the cruise industry.
^ Lipsey, Sid. “Hey, Richard Branson: Here’s How You Should Trick Out Virgin’s New Cruise Line.” Yahoo! Travel, 05 Dec 2014. Web. 17 Dec 2014. https://www.yahoo.com/travel/hey-richard-branson-heres-how-you-should-trick-104334119132.html
^ Ring, Niamh. “Billionaire Branson’s Virgin to Launch Bain-Backed Cruise Line.” Bloomberg, 05 Dec 2014. Web. 17 Dec 2014. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-04/virgin-group-teams-with-bain-capital-for-cruise-line.html
^ Sampson, Hannah. “Virgin Group to launch new cruise line based in South Florida.” Miami Herald, 04 Dec 2014. Web. 17 Dec 2014. http://www.miamiherald.com/living/travel/cruises/article4283117.html
^ “Virgin Cruises Readies to Enter Cruise Market.” Press Release, via World Maritime News, 05 Dec 2014. Web. 17 Dec 2014. http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/145859/virgin-cruises-readies-to-enter-cruise-market/