Virgin Cruises: What Would You Like to See?

March 5, 2014 | By | 40 Comments

The cruise industry is awash with rumors that Sir Richard Branson is planning to launch a Virgin cruise line. The Virgin Atlantic boss has hired a US-based advisory firm to scout around for investors in the two-ship venture, which is, according to media reports, expected to launch in 2019 in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.
So far, so not particularly surprising. In fact, it sounds like a perfectly sensible business idea if Branson can raise the money. Virgin is a respected brand and it’s highly active in the travel sector with airlines, trains, a new hotel chain and its tour-operating arm, Virgin Holidays Cruises. The cruise market is growing and the customers are getting younger and a bit more hip, which matches the Virgin image.
The question is, will Virgin Cruises be ‘different’ enough to attract this sought-after younger customer?
A Virgin spokesman said to The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, where Branson is rumoured to be raising funds, “We would offer more entertainment and leisure opportunities on board the ships, making them attractive to a younger market. We believe we can supply the Virgin ‘touch’ on cabins, leisure and dining facilities.”
But isn’t Virgin just a tiny bit too late to expect to be that ‘different’? This statement strikes me as just a tad patronizing to what’s out there already. Can Virgin beat the creativity of the décor and theming on a Disney cruise ship? Can it offer a range of activities to equal those of Royal Caribbean, with its ice rinks, zip lines and skydiving? Can its nightlife be as cool as the clubs and lounges on Norwegian Cruise Line‘s ships?
Branson is right to tap into a younger market but others are out there, already doing it, right now. It’s not like 1984, when the flashy launch of Virgin Atlantic Airways with its saucy imagery and novelty innovations rocked aviation, an industry widely perceived as staid, smug and boring.
At least a cruise venture stands more chance of getting off the ground, as it were, than Virgin Galactic, the entrepreneur’s much-hyped space flights, which have been subject to constant delay since the expected launch date of 2007.
If the cruise venture does launch, I wonder what we can expect. Glamorous crew in bright red uniforms, no doubt, and perhaps cool lighting like the airline has on its planes. And of course, you can expect the inevitable media shots of the leonine one posing in front of a scarlet funnel.
If you’re a Virgin fan, what touches would you like to see on the new cruise ships? Tell us in the comments!
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    40 Responses to “Virgin Cruises: What Would You Like to See?”

    1. Judith Stutes
      March 5th, 2014 @ 9:35 am

      An “Adults Only” that was quiet and you couldn’t hear the loud music and the children.

    2. Kathleen
      March 5th, 2014 @ 9:44 am

      Personallly I think he shouldnt be catering to a younger market at all. The last few cruises that I have taken with my husband -I’ve noticed the younger generation overly wild and uncontrollable to the point where security had to be called as well as medical professionals. On my last cruise being that they showed up late My husband & I had to diffuse the situation ourselves. I think a cruise would be more profitable for him if he catered to the over 40 crowd. I think people would enjoy a cruise more if there wasnt distractions like the last couple I have witnessed onboard several cruise lines that cater to the younger crowd!

    3. William Webb
      March 5th, 2014 @ 9:46 am

      I’d like to see the ship stay in port long enough for customers to get the feel and flavor of TRAVELING to a place different from where they live! For most people a week long party is not what makes a cruise a complete experience.
      Thanks for asking.

    4. Cathy
      March 5th, 2014 @ 9:54 am

      Seniors are the growing group of cruisers, so smaller (1200-1500 passenger) ships, adult only, with night life and entertainment geared more towards that group. Free “house wine” with lunch and dinner (like some of the River Cruises already do). There are already too many cruise ships aimed at the younger party crowd … We need something aimed at the older crowd!

    5. Carole.
      March 5th, 2014 @ 9:54 am

      Adjustable Sleep Number Beds.

    6. Rich N
      March 5th, 2014 @ 9:57 am

      Balcony staterooms for solo travelers.

    7. Sue
      March 5th, 2014 @ 9:59 am

      No kids , nothing worse when trying to relax ,
      And all inclusive drinks or at least a set ammount per trip and once it’s used up then pay for extras
      Larger bathrooms in cabins
      Better hygiene rules when entering the dining areas ,to many people skip the hand wash and don’t care about the germs .
      Longer over night stops at some destinations

      A free trip to all the people who bothered to comment here :)

    8. Sam Francis
      March 5th, 2014 @ 10:02 am

      Solve the internet issue, and don’t charge an arm and a leg for it. In fact, include it in the cruise fare. That’s a big way to differentiate.

    9. Vera Garcia
      March 5th, 2014 @ 10:03 am

      I would have enough lounge chairs and a bigger pool.

    10. L Andrews
      March 5th, 2014 @ 10:05 am

      1. Larger staterooms/larger closets 2. Adults only ship or sailings
      3. Longer stays/overnight stays in port
      4. Enhanced in stateroom television programming
      5. Wifi/Cell phone service included in all areas of ship.
      6. redesigned embarkation/disembarkation routine
      7. less then 3000 passengers

    11. Anna robbins
      March 5th, 2014 @ 10:09 am

      The ship painted yellow like the sun ☆~☆… we are ncl loyal customers! But you could steal us away!!

    12. tom partsch
      March 5th, 2014 @ 10:29 am

      I would like to see a larger shower.

    13. Cathy
      March 5th, 2014 @ 10:35 am

      NO kids, No smoking…. = Perfect Balance

    14. Jennifer West
      March 5th, 2014 @ 11:08 am

      1 LOTS more tables for 2
      2 Plenty speciality restaurants
      3 Free WIFI

    15. Bob Nelson
      March 5th, 2014 @ 11:09 am

      1.pool that is really heated
      2. Larger cabins, with curtain that divides bed and seating area so one can be in bed, and the other could seat up.
      3. No Formal dining, were here to relax.
      4. Longer times in some ports.
      5. Free WIFI from cabin.
      6. Pay crew good wages, with tipping dependent on the quality of service.

    16. Sherri Lorenz
      March 5th, 2014 @ 11:12 am

      Offer an organic menu with grassfed meats and a large gluten free selection. No one in the cruise industry does this, and a growing percentage of the population is more and more food conscious. We used to cruise 1-2 times a year, but cannot now due to our dietary restrictions and no one offering an option to buy up to a better menu. For people this is important to they will pay up knowing the food is more expensive, they do at home and they will so they can vacation.

    17. Marian Dye
      March 5th, 2014 @ 11:47 am

      I am going to buck the trend and ask for reasonably priced holidays during school holidays and kids clubs staffed by professionals who speak English [if that is your preferred market] The kids clubs could be decorated/ set up in such a way that during term times it can be used for other things e.g. small parties, cards etc
      To be able to sit in a restaurant and served by a waiter [not necessarily all the time] dress code to be smart.
      Totally agree re enforced hygiene to prevent norovirus.
      Games rooms, be it board games or card.
      Good quality bed linen.
      Pleasant, helpful , professional staff
      Easily accessible sockets for iPads etc
      Tea/coffee making in all rooms
      Unusually ports of call where a lot of ships don’t usually go.
      With regards to food a good eclectic mix, with some fat free, sugar free etc options. [even if only no butter on vegetables]
      Single cabins, without a horrendous single person supplement .

    18. Anna Marie
      March 5th, 2014 @ 11:52 am

      no kids ship, staying at port longer,
      no formal gowns, free wifi.
      allgery free food, and organic grass fed.
      movie night or free movies in rooms.
      lots of things we like just some updates for things to keep us interested.

    19. Joe Davis
      March 5th, 2014 @ 11:59 am

      Perhaps a “younger” crowd isn’t the right term. We sail on Regent, so that is our bias. We’ve seen newly weds, families and passengers in their 80’s.

      For Virgin, perhaps affluence is one ingredient. Comments seem to favor no smoking, no kids, larger cabins. I’m guessing if you can afford luxury prices you won’t be drunk or late.

    20. Lyle Linville
      March 5th, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

      Embrace the Solo Traveler. I have two cruises, once in an Oceanview, and another in a Balcony. My invisible cabinmate used up funds that could have been used elsewhere on the ship, or in port. I WILL NOT be pidgeon-wholed in an inside cabin, which is all most lines offer the solo traveler.

    21. wilhelmina
      March 5th, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

      Luxury and keep the formale evenings a bit style on the cruise ships if you don’t like it take a other cruise line..No smoking everywhere on the ship .no kids in part of the ship … special swimmingpool for kids…Free wifi …. more tables for two in the restaurant .no bath but shower in the staterooms

    22. Mary K
      March 5th, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

      In addition to free or at least low cost wifi and house wine. a forward lounge on an upper deck with at least a180 degree view of the ocean ahead is a necessity! An outdoor bar/ lounge seating area adjacent would be ideal. And smaller ships, please!

    23. Sharon White
      March 5th, 2014 @ 12:50 pm

      We love to cruise, but DREAD seeing the “monster kids” the parent’s don’t correct! We try to sail when kids are in school. So, “Adults only cruise” please, skip the formal night, less photos taken, free wifi in the room, coffee maker in the room, larger balcony, better TV station choices, music in the room, better food choices on the room service, softer mattresses, larger bathroom/shower stalls and cabins, less fancy meal choices in the dining room with larger portions, more time in port ’til later in the evening, and no smoking. Can’t wait for our next cruise in Sept.!

    24. Nancy
      March 5th, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

      My Wish List for a Virgin Cruise.

      Adults only areas that are enforced by the staff and crew.

      Free mobile phone service for Virgin Mobile customers.

      Sensible sized inside rooms. Don’t punish me for not buying the higher priced balcony rooms and sailing inside to save money. If I can buy two cruises going inside for the price of one balcony cruise, I’m in.

      No smoking anywhere inside, including the casino. Why must non-smokers breathe stinky, second hand smoke there and yet be protected from it elsewhere on the ship?

      No ship over 3,000 guests.

    25. Steve Hedley
      March 5th, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

      Tips included in the price.
      Single cabins without a hefty surcharge

    26. Michael Gaughan
      March 5th, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

      Virgin has done a good job with the airline finding a market willing to pay extra for a better class of service, without the bottom dollar being the big concern. without going into specifics, they simply need to market a cruise that’s going to cost $xxxx up front for everything and not one where you pay $xxx before the cruise, and get a bill for $xxx at the end. It just seems a big gap between, say, a good-sized suite on the popular lines and getting onto one of the luxury lines. I read a lot on the Forums about longtime cruisers bemoaning how they feel nickel-and-dimed today. Maybe they can change the market where newer cruisers can appreciate NOT being N-&-D’ed?

      But also since they’re going from a clean sheet of paper: SMALLER SHIPS. Certainly no 4000 passenger behemoths. Bigger is not always better.

    27. Kathie
      March 5th, 2014 @ 1:07 pm

      Smaller ships, no formal nights, eat when and where you want with who you want. Varied entertainment in different areas. Overnight a atleast 2 ports. I honestly feel like crew/captain make a cruise.

    28. AK
      March 5th, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

      If I were Branson…
      Integrate brand.
      Virgin airline points/mile awards can be used to purchase cruises.
      If you are elite tier with Virgin air, your elite status tranfers to cruise benefits…upgrades etc based on respective elite tier…early boarding, priority baggage.
      Virgin mobile credits towards crise internet packages.
      Lounge and Limo service for big spenders.
      Cruise credit card that gives extra points used to purchase cruise and onboard spending.
      The cross-branding possibilities are endless.

    29. Barry Svee
      March 5th, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

      I agree that young adults are not where the money is.

      1. Diva-friendly staterooms (lighted mirrors, a top makeup drawer, room in the bathroom for his and hers toiletries, e.g. not on the floor)
      2. Larger adults-only sun & pool area
      3. A walkaround promenade with padded lounge chairs for readers, which takes demand of lounge chairs in the sun decks
      4. A cute comedy club lounge large enough to accommodate crowds for name acts
      5. Piano Bar
      6. Lounge with live jazz in the evening
      7. One 24 hour hot tub or small pool area, weather permitting
      8. Canopy shade in parts of the sun deck
      9. Free wifi throughout the ship, even if there is a reasonable quota applied at first
      10. Trendy fitness classes outdoors: yoga, kettlebells, whatever is hot
      11. Hands-on cooking classes
      12. Wine pairing classes
      13. Scotch, whisky, gin, whatever tasting classes
      14. Triva for Jeopardy whizzes
      15. Pop trivia for not-so-Jeopardy whizzes
      16. Local wifi hub for connecting cell phones for managing stateroom account, shore excursions, restaurant reservations, guest-to-guest messaging, daily activity schedule, and activity reminders. Upload photos and sell passengers a cute photo book on their way out.
      17. Yes, more time in ports
      18. End of formal nights. They go against airline luggage fees anyway.
      19. Coffee that doesn’t suck
      20. Fresh pastries

    30. Tracy
      March 5th, 2014 @ 1:38 pm

      Im in my 40s with a teenage family , I think the ships should cater for younger people and families get rid once and for all of the myth of cruises are only for old people !

    31. Jay
      March 5th, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

      1. No old grumpy travelers that think that cheerful children are annoying. Cruising should be fun, not about being surrounded by frowning old (or old acting) that think martinis, chain smoking and growling about kids makes them look like world travelers. It only makes them look like fools. Deal with the babies and young kids, their whining and diapers … after all, they’re putting up with yours. Welcome to reality.

    32. AudalSomerset
      March 5th, 2014 @ 3:56 pm

      No smoking at all, better control of sun loungers and adult only areas. Definitely no climbing walls, bumper cars or skating rinks. Parents who can’t control their children should be removed at the next port. Gratuities for passengers to tip who they think worthy of and not have to cancel gratuities as soon as you embark.

    33. PattiH
      March 5th, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

      As with the ‘Red’ service on Virgin flights, have a touchscreen in rooms (or via a smartphone app) where one can order snacks to be delivered to you. Also, have comfy chat/lounging areas up on deck where groups can relax and socialize. Modern lighting fixtures would look cool at night. (Those plastic deck chaises aren’t comfortable or conducive to conversing) Large hammocks would be fun too.

    34. Jane Cunningham
      March 5th, 2014 @ 5:26 pm

      No children – an adults ( 21+) only line would be heaven and many would pay a premium to sail without children. Larger standard cabins.

    35. virgincruisefan
      March 5th, 2014 @ 5:33 pm

      1.) Give us a cruise line for us (20’s thru 50s) and not our parents! We love Disney and Carnival but focus this cruise line at adults-only (meaning 18 or older only) with a sexy fun nightclub at sea concept.
      2.) Smoking is not sexy: No smoking in cabins or indoor common spaces anywhere. With smoking only allowed in special air-lock smoker lounges placed far from passenger cabins and common areas.
      3.) A sleek topless pool and sun deck area is an absolute must: Think Nikki Beach at South Beach in Miami or the Moorea Pool at Mandalay Bay in Vegas.
      4.) Numerous (6 to 8) outdoor hot tubs of varying sizes (not 3 or 4 oversized ones for the whole ship) with bar service.
      5.) Borrow a range of Vegas nightlife concepts with cool & hip indoor-outdoor nightclubs with name DJs (Vegas DJs) spinning but make sure you also have chill spaces that are more into jazz and slower/lower beats.
      6.) Hire cirque du soleil to do 3 different spectacular shows and consider having 4 cruises a year with big name talent.
      7.) Stay classy: Keep one night at sea classy and black tie and gowns – seriously. Offer a huge assortment of gown, sexy black dresses and black tie rentals on board at reduced costs. The other nights can be casual.
      8.) Think lifestyle & fitness & wellness: Offer cooking & nutrition classes, diet and make-overs, wine tasting, mixology, personal trainers, style makeovers, wellness classes, yoga classes, pilates, etc.
      9.) We want a beach at sea that is always warm and fun: Forget about the never-used outdoor basketball court and miniature golf and shuffleboard. Give us a truly epic main pool (not the usual tiny cruise ship pool) with an opening glass roof, heaters, and multi-levels of lounge areas so if we are on a cruise on a chilly day in Feb or March – we know we can count on a warm pool and a warm, fun outdoor space.
      10.) Create smaller balcony or oversized window cabins for singles
      11.) Sail only from FL (Caribbean and Mexico) and LA/SF CA (Hawaii and Mexico and Alaska)
      12.) Love the split bath design on Disney ships but women really do need a proper sit down vanity and make-up space.
      13.) A casino.
      14.) Consider partnering with Randy Gerber, Steve Wynn or another successful nightclub developer or hotelier – these guys just know how to do adult fun…
      15.) We’d personally prefer to spend more full days at sea and then spend an extra night in port at someplace truly special (Martinique, Kauai, Cabo, etc).
      16.) A Starbucks and an In-N-Out burger at sea!
      17.) Your choice of 10 photos taken during your cruise are, like the wifi, included in your cost.
      18.) Offer the first class version of cabins segregated from the rest of the ship with upgraded interiors, linens, vibe and it’s own pool and hot tub and sun deck and a cafe.
      19.) Offer a wide choice of first-run (not just released dvd) films in a screening room style theater and in our rooms and on a huge funnel screen overlooking the pool.
      20.) Create a real library with a gas fireplace – a great place to go sit and read or get caught up on email.
      21.) We really enjoy the rotational dining on Disney cruises and found the four dining room concept interesting and fun but do it with name brand restaurants everyone likes: Ruth Chris for steaks, etc.
      22.) whatever you guys do – do NOT just buy an old cruise ship and renovate it “enough: and try to sell us on that. Virgin should design a completely new style of cruise ship from the keel up to realize a differentiating vision of adult cruising. Do that and within a few years you’ll have a 6-ship fleet that’s always booked.

    36. MG
      March 5th, 2014 @ 6:58 pm

      I’ll second the ideas of No Smoking, free WiFi, less space wasted on ridiculous “attractions” like putt-putt, ice skating, etc. – we can do that at home! As far as children go it’s poor parenting that creates poor behavior in kids, but unfortunately adults are the paying entities. So sorry, kids, we prefer you stay home, and you can blame your parents. Now…if there was a way to remove obnoxious adults….

    37. Nancyquilts
      March 6th, 2014 @ 12:46 am

      The best thing a new ship could provide would be level entry to the bathrooms. Pipes could be in a lowered ceiling.

    38. Margaret
      March 6th, 2014 @ 9:07 am

      Adult only and no smoking anywhere on board.
      House wines with meals included.
      Overnight port stops.
      No “reserving” deck loungers, rather first come first served.i am tired of selfish hoggers.
      Keep passenger capacity under 2000.
      Decent tables for two by window and dining al fresco.
      No cordoned off exclusive areas that block access around perimeter of ship.
      Good coffee.

    39. Ross
      March 6th, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

      Longer in ports and more overnight stays would be my primary reason to change cruise line loyalties. A lot of what is listed above on wish lists ARE available on other cruise lines so bringing the best of the best all to one line would be great. Unfortunately, it will be a struggle to offer this and keep the price points at accessible levels to be affordable for the target market. Decent coffee shouldn’t be too hard to offer, nor more tables for 2 on dining spaces. Treating staff well and giving them reasonable accommodation, hours and wages is my wish for every cruise line

    40. mick
      March 6th, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

      Most seem to want the Adults Only…..No Kids Cruises….totally agree. More Overnight stops. Yes no smoking. House wine for free with dinner would be nice. Better WiFi on ships, more affordable.

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