Friday, December 5, 2014

Cruising "Like A Virgin" Takes On A New Meaning

Although Madonna is probably best know for doing things "like a virgin," serial entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson runs a close second to the pop singing sensation. The newest venture by Branson's Virgin Group, the family-owned branded investment group, is the announcement of the formation of Virgin Cruises, its new cruise line business. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed, but a CEO has been appointed and Bain Capital is its lead investment partner.

Proven industry leader Tom McAlpin will join Virgin Cruises as CEO and will head the management team. Most recently, Tom has been President and CEO of The World, Residences at Sea. Tom also served as President of Disney Cruise Line having joined as part of the founding management team. Virgin Cruises will be headquartered in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area and plans to design and construct two new world class cruise ships. At this time, the company has not disclosed when it will start operating for competitive reasons. As part of one of the world's most recognized and respected brands, Virgin Cruises plans to offer guests an outstanding experience and service aimed at broadening consumer targets for the cruise market.

"We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love. They'll be sailing on the latest ships offering great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service," Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson said.

CEO Tom McAlpin added, "Cruise guests deserve something better and different to what is being offered today, and Virgin Cruises is committed to creating breathtaking experiences for them and a new generation of guests. Opportunities like this do not come often, so I am very excited to lead this business and introduce the Virgin brand to the cruise industry, as it has always put customers at the heart of what it does."

Virgin Group, conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors including mobile telephony, travel and transportation, financial services, leisure and entertainment, health and wellness, and space tourism. The partnership with Bain Capital, one of the world's leading private investment firms, is committed to exploring the creation of a global cruise business and setting new industry standards.

After years of rumors that Sir Richard would be going to sea, the Virgin Cruises announcement is seen as a positive by cruise industry insiders. It also gives a new meaning to the term "cruise virgin."

Image: Courtesy Virgin Group

No comments: