Richard Branson 'Never Wanted to Go on a Cruise'—So He Started His Own Adults-Only Cruise Line

By Shay Spence
July 12, 2019 05:06 PM
Richard Branson
Credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage

Richard Branson‘s decision to launch Virgin Voyages, a new adults-only cruise line from his Virgin Group company, didn’t come about from a love of traveling by cruise ship—but rather, the opposite.

“I’ve never been on a cruise, I’ve wanted to go on a cruise,” the 68-year-old business magnate tells PEOPLE. “That’s why we started a cruise line, just to try to create a cruise ship that was fun, and that was for adults.”

The company’s debut ship, Scarlet Lady, is set to make its debut in 2020, with four and five-night sailings in the Caribbean open to guests who are 18 and over. It will boast various adult-focused amenities, like an on-board tattoo parlor, luxurious spa, fitness classes and a blow-dry bar.

Credit: Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady will also have over 20 bars and restaurants (but no buffets), all of which are included with the price of the sailing—a rarity for cruise lines, which usually have certain specialty restaurants on board that have an extra charge. They will also have a “no-tipping” policy, including gratuity in the overall price to avoid unexpected expenses for guests.

The signature restaurant, Razzle Dazzle, will feature plant-based dishes and a drag brunch on every sailing.

Credit: Virgin Voyages

“Disney already does kids very well, and 99 percent of the market has kids [on board.],” says Branson. “It’s nice because we can cater completely to the adults. We can do a few outrageous things, which might be a bit more difficult to do if there were kids on board.”

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Still, Branson hasn’t ruled out the possibility of including family-friendly itineraries in the future. “I think in time we will have Virgin cruises for kids,” he says, “but for the first few ships we’ll be adults-only, and people will know what to expect.”

Virgin Voyages sailings are currently available for booking, with prices starting at $1,400.