Time to let the speculating begin...

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#1
New York, NY
1,635 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Branson admits that cruising is not his cup of tea.
There are things like big dining rooms and buffets (do they even exist any more on ships?) which he doesn't like.
I can't wait to see what he does, but one thing is for sure- whatever it is, it will change the industry.
What do you think will be of Virgin Voyages?



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#2
Chicago Suburbs
411 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
People on the forums often talk about how overworked and underpaid cruise employees are. In recent years, I've noticed a huge decline in service. On Virgin Voyages, I am going to expect to see top notch service. I always think of the Richard Branson quote: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”


Dining will definitely be different. It will be interesting to see how they handle it. I also expect that they will do something to not have super overcrowded areas (ie the pool won't be completely packed with people on sea days).


Virgin Airlines is our go-to airline whenever possible (though they don't have a ton of places they fly to from Chicago), so I am THRILLED that they are going to start cruising!
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#3
New York, NY
1,635 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
he definitely elevates service. Can't wait to hear what the design will look like.
I suppose it won't be long before details start to come out.


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#4
139 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Well if you are expecting an announcement this year or next year sorry to disappoint you but you are not going to get any. They set sail for 2020, that means that until 2019 they are not going to reveal anything. I think its something weird because they are taking about 3 years from steel cutting to inauguration and seems more than double the built time than a regular cruise. Why? I don't know. I hope that they take time to make a premium product as MSC did when they decided to conquest they USA Market
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#5
2,787 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Just a slightly different perspective, as someone who has flown a lot on Virgin Atlantic.

Over the last few years there has been a serious decline in the standards on VS aircraft, the staff are still fantastic (for the most part) but the quality of the food has gone down hill, the aircraft are not as clean as they were at one time, the Flying Club has become next to worthless.

I am only saying this as a reality check, while I am sure that Virgin can put out a great product, I fear people may be getting their hopes up to high, I hope I am wrong, we shall see.

We will be booking a cruise with them certainly, but a small piece of advice, do not take their marketing material too seriously, as a company they tend to over hype the product, for instance again, a couple of years back they ran some adds claiming that their economy product was just like sitting in first class on any other international airline..... people were angry when they found out that their seats had 31 inches of seat pitch (instead of the 78 inches found in most true international first class cabins)....Yes they were IMHO stupid to think that Virgin could somehow sell them a seat for $800 that costs $12,000 on BA, but they did and VS suffered some blow back from it.

As I said, Virgin is more than capable of putting out a class product, but look more towards evolutionary than revolutionary.
#6
San Francisco, CA
1,471 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
It certainly will be interesting. Hopefully revolutionary. The experience of new approaches to cruising over the past 20 years has been mixed, at best. Renaissance (cut out the TA's, offer fixed land & sea voyages) - Bankrupt (although their beautiful ships continue to be popular at Oceania and Azamara), Premier (refurb classic ships and charge slightly less than going rate) - Bankrupt (I was aboard the Rembrandt/Rotterdam when it happened), EasyCruise (I think that was the name of the EasyJet spinoff in Europe that had hop-on, hop-off ticketing and budget pricing with no extras) - folded. MSC has also had a bumpy time adapting their products for the US market.

All that said, I truly think there is a market for a "hipper" cruise product. I also hope that Virgin listens a lot and makes the adjustments in their product to meet the customer needs.

As far as Virgin airline brands - Virgin America has been purchased by Alaska and, although they've not said so, expectations are that the brand will disappear and the leased planes will decline until their leases expire (all Airbus while Seattle-based Alaska is very committed to Boeing). Virgin Atlantic is no longer controlled by Sir Richard. I think that Delta increased their ownership and now controls the company. In any event, since they entered into a codeshare agreement, the VS extras have been diminished to the point that some of the older VS planes offer a lesser product than newer DL hardware with Delta One.
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