He’s done luxury hotels, trains, spas, airlines, trips to space (!!!) and now Sir Richard Branson is taking to the high seas.
Branson famously said he has dreamed of starting his own cruise line back in his twenties.
Now, the first voyage of The Scarlet Lady, a nod to Virgin’s iconic red logo colour, departs 1st April 2020.
Will Virgin make waves in the cruise industry?
We all know Virgin have never been a company to stick within the status quo, and as expected their new sailing experience promises to bring about an ‘Epic Sea Change For All’ that is ‘definitely not a cruise.’ The Telegraph even commented that ‘you can bet your bottom dollar that cruise convention will be thrown overboard’ when Virgin get involved.
It’s been just over a fortnight since Virgin Voyages started selling its first sailings to the general public – and the branding and marketing certainly sets Virgin Voyages apart from the traditional luxury cruise lines.
Passengers are referred to as ‘sailors’ and cruises referred to as ‘voyages.’ Indeed, Virgin Voyages certainly have a thread of nautical word-play running through their banding, which includes their onboard wellbeing programme, Vitamin Sea.
The tone of voice for Virgin Voyages is fresh, cheeky and down-to-earth, ‘since you’re going to be feeling good as hell,’ ‘And if you’re not a sweaty person, lie about it for the sake of the rest of us’, ‘It’s a mood, but one we are absolutely here for.’
Virgin has also ripped up the rule book regarding what’s traditionally available on board a cruise ship, with a tattoo studio, drag performances, mass participation performances and a laboratory-like eatery all available onboard.
Prior to creating their brand, Virgin carried out extensive market research into cruiser’s ‘pain-points’ with traditional cruise lines, and has made a big point of shouting about that in their marketing comms. They’ve removed the ‘annoying add-ons’ like surcharges for premium restaurants, extortionate rates for Wi-Fi and watered-down broadway performances. Virgin has listened to these common irritants and in response their voyages offer free Wi-Fi, complimentary group fitness classes and no gratitudes or service charges.
The Virgin Voyages website is clearly meant to appeal to the millennial market, bursting with animated gifs, emojis, and bright, large imagery. Far from the logically-ordered, easy-to-digest websites of competitors, there is always somewhere new to navigate to and something to spark your interest.
‘Virgin has always avoided stuffy formalities and brought a lot of excitement and a bit of rebelliousness to our customer experiences’ said Sir Richard Branson.
Will Virgin succeed in their mission to make waves in the cruise industry? Sir Richard Branson certainly has a flair for the dramatic and one of the ways he is celebrating the launch of his new cruise line is by spending his own 70th birthday onboard.
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