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Virgin Voyages to Build New Cruise Terminal in PortMiami
Virgin Voyages to Build New Cruise Terminal in PortMiami
Star Athletes, Including Venus Williams and Blake Griffin, Make Cruise Investment in Virgin Voyages
Patricof Athletes and Richard Branson on Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady (Photo/Virgin Voyages)

Star Athletes, Including Venus Williams and Blake Griffin, Make Cruise Investment in Virgin Voyages

Star Athletes, Including Venus Williams and Blake Griffin, Make Cruise Investment in Virgin Voyages
Patricof Athletes and Richard Branson on Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady (Photo/Virgin Voyages)

November 11, 2021

Chris Gray Faust
Managing Editor
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(12:30 p.m. EST) -- Rock stars, move over: a group of high-octane athletes have made an investment in Virgin Voyages that the company says will help shape the future of the cruises and the experience onboard.

Patricof Co., a private investment group made up of more than 40 entrepreneurial athletes, has joined Bain Capital and the Virgin Group as financiers for the upstart cruise line.

Athletes in the group include tennis superstar Venus Williams; Brooklyn Nets forward Blake Griffin; New York Knicks point guard Kemba Walker; NFL players Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Xavien Howard; former New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, and L.A. Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner.

Investors in a cruise line generally don't make a difference in the overall ship experience. But Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin said that in this case, the investor athletes would have input.

The investment company will work with Virgin to establish an Athlete Advisory Council, which will help design onboard experiences for the sailors onboard, the line said. The athletes will also work on sustainability initiatives.

"We've been supported by incredible partners since we started this journey. It's exciting to welcome these superstar athletes onboard who will bring great energy and ideas as we grow globally and add three new ships to our fleet by 2023," McAlpin said in a release.

"It’s also proof of how entrepreneurialism is at the heart of this brand as we evolve to have investors who are more than just people who write checks, they are part of the business and helping us navigate the future."

Some of the athlete investors were able to sail on Virgin Voyages first ship, Scarlet Lady, when it made its U.S. debut this fall, the line said. The ship is currently sailing in the Caribbean.

"I'm thrilled to be partnering with Virgin Voyages and helping to bring this incredible experience to the U.S.," Williams said in a release. "Traveling and taking in different cultures is so important to me and I'm excited to work with this team to deliver that opportunity to more customers."

"Virgin and Richard Branson instinctively know how to do things the right way ... always leading with uniqueness and innovation," Griffin said. "When Patricof Co. brought this investment opportunity to me, I jumped at the chance to invest in Virgin Voyages in the early stages and I’ve been really impressed with the brand ever since."

In addition to Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages plans to launch a second ship, Valiant Lady, which debuts in March 2022, with a third sister -- Resilient Lady -- following later in the year.

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