This week saw Richard Branson reveal the first of his plans for the Virgin Cruises fleet, with the announcement made that the cruise line’s first ship is to homeport in Miami when launched in 2020. While the announcement has whet the appetite of cruise fanatics worldwide, it was the decision to ask the public for their input and ideas on what makes a great ship that caught our attention. Branson has made no secret of the fact that he intends for Virgin Cruises to change the industry and the way people cruise; is letting people effectively design their own ship the secret to cracking the new to cruise market?
The subject has been the cause of much conversation on our cruise forum this week, so we decided to take a closer look at some of the suggestions. While the internet has been flooded with calls for an adult only ship, our forum members are looking elsewhere for their inspiration.
Perhaps our favourite of all suggestions so far: a live aquarium with a walk-way through the centre. There are restaurants with aquariums in Nashville and hotel suites with aquariums in Dubai, so why not take it a step further and put one on a cruise ship?
MORE TIME IN PORTS & MORE OVERNIGHTS
This was a popular suggestion on the blog, with many hoping that Virgin Cruises will incorporate more time in ports and more overnight stays into their itineraries. Whether this will be possible for the first cruise ship in the fleet, given its 7-day Caribbean itinerary, remains to be seen, though it may be something Virgin Cruises consider for the future.
GRATUITIES INCLUDED IN THE FARE
Nothing gets people going quite like the subject of gratuities and several of our forum members are in agreement that they would like to see Virgin Cruises include gratuities in their fares. Some feel it would be simpler, making the booking and sailing process far easier, while other prefer the freedom to pay their own gratuities to whom they see fit. It will be interesting to see the stance Virgin Cruises take on this.
INNOVATION: ROYAL CARIBBEAN STYLE
Royal Caribbean’s latest ships have led the way when it comes to innovation and many are of the opinion that the cruise line has paved the way for others to follow. Will we see a North Star style observation capsule on board Virgin Cruises’ ships and will Richard Branson be spotted rocking surf shorts on his own version of FlowRider?
OCEAN VILLAGE STYLE CRUISING
A return to Ocean Village style cruising has been touted as a possibility for Virgin Cruises, with a casual dress code and active excursions geared towards a more ‘fun’ cruise experience. White water rafting and quad biking are suggested as some of the excursions that could be offered, and this certainly fits with Branson’s adrenaline junkie personality. While it won’t go down well with those who treasure the traditions of cruising, it could well turn the heads of passengers who hadn’t previously considered cruising.
What would you like to see on Virgin Cruises’ very first vessel? Let us know!