Virgin Voyages’ CEO flags 2023 Australia deployment

“We will have a ship in Australia at some point. I’m pretty confident” Tom McAlpin

Australian cruisers will be waiting four years before they’ll get a taste of Virgin Voyages’ adults-only cruise concept in local waters, the CEO of the start-up company has forecast.

Virgin Voyages’ maiden ship, Scarlet Lady, will enter service in April next year and will operate a series of sailing from Miami to the Caribbean and Mexico. Three additional sister ships will make up the Virgin Voyages fleet, with a new 2,770-passenger vessel to be delivered annually in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

CEO and President Tom McAlpin said it’ll be around the time of the fourth ship’s arrival that Virgin Voyages will be in a position to look at an Australian deployment.

Speaking exclusively with LATTE last week at CLIA Australasia’s Cruise360 conference in Sydney, McAlpin said interest from this market, now Virgin Voyages’ fourth largest source behind the US, Canada and the UK, could no longer be ignored. Last week Virgin Voyages named Travel the World as its general sales agent (GSA) for Australia. A GSA for the New Zealand market will be assigned next year.

McAlpin was tight-lipped when questioned about future destinations for the Virgin Voyages fleet, however the Mediterranean, Turks & Caicos Islands, Scandinavia and Australia have recently been earmarked by Virgin Group Founder, Sir Richard Branson.

“We will have a ship in Australia at some point. I’m pretty confident,” McAlpin told LATTE.

Virgin Voyages Rockstar Suite
Virgin Voyages' Rockstar Suite

“The affinity. The awareness of the brand. I think in due course we’ll be here. It’s not going to be a third ship, it could be a fourth ship [in 2023]. It could be that we bring it down to see how the market responds.” Tom McAlpin, Virgin Voyages President and CEO

“The nature of our business is that our ships are mobile. And we can be an ambassador for the brand and take ships to different places. There’s no reason that a ship has to stay on exactly the same route. We could at some point have ships that travel around the world,” he revealed.

World Cruises could also be in the pipeline, but McAlpin said it’s not on the immediate agenda.

“I don’t think we need to do it right now because we’ve got some really cool places that we still want to go. The Med would be great, Northern Europe would be great, we have Alaska… there’s just so many different great places around the world to go. We always have the opportunity to come down here, but it is a long way to go.”

More from our exclusive chat with McAlpin in next week’s launch issue of LATTE Cruise.

Lead image: Virgin Voyages’ President and CEO Tom McAlpin (right) with Cruise360 Australasia MC James O’Loghlin | Image Credit: CLIA Australasia 

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