WATCH: Richard Branson on Adults-Only Cruise Line Virgin Voyages' 'Magical' First U.S. Sailing

The billionaire businessman behind the new all-inclusive cruise line tells PEOPLE he's getting onboard soon!

Virgin Voyages' first ship, Scarlet Lady, is finally setting sail stateside — and the brand's founder, Sir Richard Branson, is getting ready to hop on board!

Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages' first-ever vessel, is officially making its maiden voyage out of Miami on Wednesday — an inaugural trip that has been years in the making after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the original April 2020 launch date back multiple times. The sailing will be a four-night Caribbean itinerary that gives passengers a taste of all things Virgin at sea.

"​​Scarlet Lady is just magical. It's a fabulous ship. I'm doing my first-ever cruise next week on her," Branson, 71, tells PEOPLE.

That's right — despite designing his own cruise line from start to finish, the billionaire businessman has never actually been on a cruise vacation before. And there's a reason for that, he says. He had never come across one that he thought he would enjoy. So, naturally, the Virgin magnate made his own.

Virgin Voyages Richard Branson
Courtesy Virgin Voyages

"I asked myself why I hadn't been on a cruise, and then a few years ago, got a group of people together, and said, 'Let's list all the things we don't like about cruises, and why is it that 95 percent of the population has never been on a cruise,'" Branson explains in a video interview with PEOPLE, above.

He continues: "We set about using all the experience we had from creating Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Active, and Virgin America, even Virgin Galactic, and so on, and tried to create the kind of cruise company that those 95 percent of people who have never been on a cruise would love to go on."

Virgin Voyages
Virgin Voyages

The result of that brainstorming session is a company that turns every traditional tenet of cruising on its head. Virgin Voyages cruises are adults-only, have a no-tipping policy, nix any formalwear requirement, offer 20 all-inclusive restaurants (with no buffets in sight!), and boast grown-up amenities like an onboard tattoo parlor, state-of-the-art workout facilities and a blow-dry bar.

The company also has a private oasis on land called The Beach Club at Bimini, which offers white sand beaches, a massive swimming pool and plenty of Instagram-worthy hangouts.

Branson is set to enjoy a trip on the ship's second sailing later this week, with his wife, Joan Templeman, and a few friends.

Virgin Voyage Sir Richard Branson
Virgin Voyages

"I'm very much looking forward to it," the U.K. native says of the trip. "We've had an exciting year. We've gone from spaceships [for Virgin Galactic] to cruise ships in the last two or three months. This was a baby that was actually born 18 months ago, and then had to be put back in the womb, in a shipyard. We've now pulled her back out again, and this little Virgin is ready to sail."

In light of the ongoing pandemic, the company is implementing multiple COVID protocols — starting with the requirement that all passengers aboard be fully vaccinated. (Read PEOPLE's prior coverage on Virgin's COVID health plan.)

Virgin Voyages
Virgin Voyages

"I suspect it'll be one of the safest places in the world," Branson says of the ship, noting that he wouldn't be getting on with his loved ones if he didn't think so. "There are very few places you can go and socialize, and go to a restaurant, and know that everybody else is vaccinated, where all the staff are vaccinated, where you've got the sea air blowing through the ship and lots of outdoor areas."

"People should just get vaccinated, and relax and enjoy life again," he adds.

Virgin Voyages
Virgin Voyages

Enjoying life and taking a break with friends is what his company is all about, Branson says. "I think we just want to be sure that people get off the ship, just saying, 'That was one of the best holidays of our lives,'" he says.

RELATED VIDEO: Virgin Voyages Introduces "Shake for Champagne" Feature on Scarlet Lady

"My daughter, I tested [a voyage] on her, and she went around the U.K. on it," the father of three continues. "She was very skeptical about cruises, and she's been lucky enough to have had a lovely island, Necker Island [Branson's private island in the British Virgin Islands], and other places she's gone to. But she just said they had an absolute blast, and that's what we want people to have on Virgin Voyages."

Virgin Voyages
Virgin Voyages

During the ship's inaugural season, Scarlet Lady will sail a mix of four- and five-night itineraries from Miami, with stops in Mexico, the Dominican Republic or the Bahamas, depending on the sailing.

More information on Scarlet Lady's winter schedule — including how to get onboard — can be found on the Virgin Voyages website.

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