Virgin Australia has joined forces with Sir Richard Branson’s new cruise venture Virgin Voyages that is due to set sail in 2020.
As part of the partnership announced on Tuesday, Virgin Australia will sell so-called “Tail to Sail” packages that included flights from Australia to Miami and a ticket on board a Virgin Voyages’ cruise covering destinations in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States.
“We’re extremely excited to welcome Virgin Voyages into the family, and work with them to bring this ‘Tail to Sail’ travel experience to Australians,” Virgin Australia chief executive Paul Scurrah said in a statement.
“The Virgin service and our distinctive personality is at the heart of everything our brands do and this is a great opportunity for Australians to experience the famous Virgin hospitality across multiple travel experiences.”
Virgin Australia operates nonstop flights from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles with its fleet of five Boeing 777-300ERs. It also has an alliance with Delta Air Lines on routes between Australia and North America.
Sir Richard Branson, whose UK-based Virgin Group holds about 10 per cent of Virgin Australia shares and has a seat on the airline’s board, was in Sydney on Tuesday undertaking some promotional activity for Virgin Voyages, first on a Sydney ferry and then later at an industry event.
“I’ve always loved coming to Australia and am delighted to launch this new partnership between two iconic brands in our Virgin family, which will bring more of our Virgin magic to Australia and allow Aussies to experience our wonderful new Virgin Voyages offering,” Sir Richard said in statement.
“I’m immensely proud of this new brand; in building it we took the time to think through every detail and craft a unique experience that brings to life Virgin and disrupts the travel industry. I can’t wait to hear what Aussies think of our new endeavour.”
Construction of Virgin Voyages’ first ship, to be named Scarlet Lady, by Italy-based Fincantieri began in early 2017 and was expected to be completed by April 2020.
It was one of four ships on order, with the remaining three due for delivery between 2021 and 2023.
Scarlet Lady was designed to have 1,330 cabins and 78 “RockStar Suites” for about 2,700 adult travellers, with all Virgin Voyages cruises to be for those above the age of 18.
Guests on board will have all meals, Wi-Fi, filtered water and soft drink included in their ticket, as well as free activities such as fitness classes. Gratuities were also included.
Virgin Voyages chief commercial officer Nirmal Saverimuttu said the partnership with Virgin Australia would “embed Virgin’s inimitable service from start to finish to make Australians’ holidays epic”.
Further, Saverimuttu said he expected the experience on board a Virgin Voyages cruise would resonate with Australians.
“Australians love to travel, Australians love high-end design, they love experiences,” Saverimuttu said.
“Australians in particular, they have a different version of luxury. They like luxury without the pretentiousness and the stuffiness and that’s why I think people will gravitate to this product.
“At the end of the day everyone should feel like a rock star, everyone should feel glamorous once in a while and that’s what we want to give the opportunity for people to do.”
VIDEO: A promotional video featuring the Mega RockStar suites from the Virgin Voyages YouTube channel.