May 16, 2018
(7 p.m. EDT) -- Virgin Voyages is offering a sneak peek of select public spaces on its cruise ships, the first of which debuts in 2020. The spaces -- which include the ship's nightclub, an outdoor lounge for suite passengers, and a Mexican restaurant -- have been designed to reflect the romanticism of ocean sailing, while also showcasing the best of modern design that is the core of all Virgin brands.
"At the core of our Epic Sea Change For All is ensuring that the spaces on our ships are well-styled, distinct and reflective of the dynamic experience we want to bring to our sailors," said Tom McAlpin, president and CEO for Virgin Voyages. "Our design partners together with our internal design team have dreamed up eye-catching, intimate and alluring spaces that we can't wait to see come to life."
Here's a breakdown of the newly revealed spaces:
Located on the top deck, Richard's Rooftop (designed by Tom Dixon's Design Research Studio) will be a chic outdoor lounge reserved exclusively for the ship's suite passengers. Named for Virgin's founder Richard Branson, Richard's Rooftop will have a futuristic feel with circular loungers, giant umbrellas and accents of colored crystals that will cast shadows of rainbow reflections around the space. A full bar will anchor the lounge space.
Another outdoor space at the top of the ship, the Athletic Club, will be a lounge inspired by yacht culture. Designed by Concrete Amsterdam, it will feature the largest daybed at sea (it's meant to be shared), a white and red-striped semi-circular lounger, perfect for sunbathing or star gazing. Next to the daybed will be a 220-square-foot area of triple netting where cruisers can lay out and overlook the open space and decks below, just like they would if sailing on a catamaran. The Athletic Club spans the entire aft of the ship and has 10 cabanas overlooking the ocean with beverage service from the adjacent bar.
Moving indoors, another space designed by Tom Dixon's Design Research Studio will be Pink Agave, an upscale Mexican restaurant featuring electric blue metallic lighting fixtures, oversized banquet tables and porthole windows to let in natural light. An elongated curved lounger centers the room with round tables for two offering an intimate dining experience. Pink Agave will feature a bar area in the foyer and a private dining room for larger groups.
The Manor will be the ship's signature nightclub, which will feature dance music primarily. Designed by the Roman and William design firm, The Manor was inspired by Richard Branson's history in the music industry. According to the line, the emerald, aubergine and gold space is outfitted with "details, platforms and corners that make it both somewhere to see and be seen."
Roman and Williams also designed The Dock, an outdoor space at the back of the ship on Deck 7 offering views of the ocean, and focused on relaxation and socialization. Inspired by seaside lounges in the Hamptons and Ibiza, the space is designed for cruisers who want to relax peacefully during the day with a cold beverage and a book, while surrounded by natural beauty. It will feature wooden deck chairs, loungers and day beds.
Another restaurant onboard will be the Test Kitchen, designed by Concrete Amsterdam, which encourages diners to think about their food from a new perspective. The entryway features lighting fixtures that mimic the periodic table to get people into the mood of the laboratory-like environment with design elements that include metallic furniture, beakers and test tubes.
While the new spaces do showcase a modern sensibility, Virgin Voyages says the ship also will offer a nod to the historical glamour of grand ocean voyages; classical nautical elements including steel, brass and portholes (like those that will be found in Pink Agave) will be "tastefully sprinkled" throughout the ship. All designs were inspired by the brand's cruise concept "The Modern Romance of Sailing."
The designs were showcased at a press event in New York City. On hand to discuss them were three of the designers -- referred to as the "Creative Collective" -- selected by Virgin Voyages to help develop the look of the ship: Tom Dixon's Design Research Studio, Roman and Williams, and Concrete Amsterdam. Other designers in the Creative Collective are Softroom of London and WorkAC. None have ever designed for the cruise industry before, a critical factor for Virgin Voyages when it sought out people and companies to work with.
"Ranging from gritty to glamorous, we've collaborated with a collection of brilliant interior designers and architects to create a variety of spaces that our sailors will love," said Dee Cooper, senior vice president of product design for Virgin Voyages. "With careful thought, humor and attention to detail the Creative Collective has designed a ship that's styled for those thirsty for a wonderfully modern holiday at sea."
Virgin Voyages' first ship is scheduled for delivery in 2020; it will sail from Miami. The remaining onboard spaces, including cabins, will be revealed throughout the year. Two more ships are scheduled for delivery in 2021 and 2022. All Virgin Voyages ships will be Adult by Design, meaning only those 18 or older will be permitted to sail.
Learn more about the new ship, including what you can expect with entertainment and accommodations.
--By Dori Saltzman, Senior Editor