Sir Richard Branson, the mastermind behind Virgin Voyages, has told Cruise Passenger that the line plans to bring its second ship to Sydney.
In an interview with Cruise Passenger, Sir Richard said he had spoken to the Chief Operating Officer and Harbour Master of the Port Authority of NSW, Philip Holliday and had been shown around potential port sites.
“We are building five ships and we are happy to get lots of Australians interested in Virgin Voyages,” he said.
“We have spoken to the Port Authority of NSW and they have offered us a space. We are going to bring ship number two to Sydney. This, ideally may happen in the next few years.”
Sir Richard was in Sydney to launch a new partnership between Virgin Voyages and Virgin Australia to encourage Australians to ‘tail and sail’ to the Caribbean to cruise onboard the new Scarlet Lady.
“I was 26 when I came up with the idea of creating a cruise line for under 30s. I tried to beg, borrow and steal, but I couldn’t get the money. Then I was 40 when I tried to launch this idea again. I tried to beg, borrow and steal but that also didn’t fly.
“And now, with Virgin Voyages finally launched, I’ll be celebrating my 70th birthday on the Scarlet Lady.”
Mr Holliday said: “We showed Sir Richard around the facilities and he was very impressed. He asked us about availability. We told him there was availability, and he said he would be booking a slot for a ship in two to three years.”
While the Caribbean is a big commitment for Aussies to fly-cruise to, Virgin Voyages Chief Corporation Officer Nirmal Saverimuttu said the Scarlet Lady’s facilities will attract cruisers to make the journey.
“We’ve created a product which we think will attract Australians. The ship is designed by designers who have never worked on cruise ships, so they have a fresh eye. Aussies are collectors of experience, and this will be an experience like no other,” he said.
“We’ve already had a lot of great feedback from the Australian market and there is a lot of interest. The fact that we have a private beach club at Bimini, the fact that we have flights with Virgin Australia and the fact the Virgin Voyages is adults-only are just some of the big draw cards.”
Mr Saverimuttu said Australia will be a major source market for Virgin Voyages, and whether you’re 21 or 71, the line is open to all types of cruisers.
“We don’t have a demographic for the ideal Australian Virgin Voyages sailor. It’s more about the mindset – they are fun and can express themselves freely.”
Virgin Voyages’ packages pair a voyage with flights with Virgin Australia. The Scarlet Lady is due to sail for the first time in April 2020.
Packages will be available through Virgin Australia Holidays and include return flights from the East Coast (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne) to Miami. In Miami, Sailors will set sail on a number of itineraries including destinations in the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.
Website Cruise Guru is offering a 10-night – “Fire & Sunsets featuring Mark Ronson” – Fly Cruise & Stay Package. The cruise departs Miami on July 1, 2020 and includes:
• Return Economy Airfares from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Miami with Qantas including airport taxes and 2 pieces of luggage
• Private Car Transfers Airport / Hotel / Pier / Airport
• 2 Nights accommodation at the W South Beach in a Splendid Studio room (Mandatory resort fee of US$45.60 payable*)
• 4 night Fire & Sunset Soirees cruise onboard Scarlet Lady
• 5 night Mayan Sol cruises onboard Scarlet Lady
The package is priced from $5,299 per person, twin share.