Virgin Voyages to launch adults-only cruise experience in 2020

The very first Virgin Voyages cruise will accommodate 2,700 passengers when it finally sets sail in 2020, but none of them will be a child.

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On Tuesday night, during a press event/keel laying ceremony for the fleet’s first ship in Genoa, Italy, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin announced that the ship’s first “experience” will have an “Adult by Design” theme, meaning that no one under the age of 18 will be allowed on board.

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According to a press release, the company’s decision was “driven by feedback from future sailors and travel professionals who are looking for a more elevated and premium experience, with a few Virgin style surprises.”

Virgin Voyages did not elaborate on any of its “surprises,” though McAlpin said Virgin Voyages is committed to creating a “sophisticated ship and a transformational experience” for passengers to enjoy both daytime activities and “exciting nightlife.”

The Virgin Voyages website may have also offered a sneak peek of what the passengers might expect on their voyage when explaining exactly what its “keel laying” ceremony is all about.

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“'Getting laid we’ve heard of, but what on earth is a keel?' you ask. Totally valid question,” the company writes before explaining how a keel laying is basically a groundbreaking ceremony for a ship.

The ship’s official icon will be a topless mermaid.

The mermaid logo was inspired by figureheads on historic vessels, Virgin Voyages says.  (Virgin Voyages)

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In addition to the cruise’s adults-only theme, McAlpin said the ship itself will be “inspired by superyachts” and feature balconies — or “sea terraces,” as he calls them — on 86 percent of the passenger cabins.

“She will be the most recognizable ship sailing the seven seas, delivering an irresistible sailor experience,” McAlpin said. “We’re also committed to making sure our crew are the happiest at sea and will be proud to sail with us.”

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Virgin Voyages is currently accepting “fully refundable” deposits of $500 to reserve spots for its upcoming cruises. The first ship is scheduled to take passengers from Miami to the Caribbean after construction is completed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa. The company’s subsequent sister ships will debut in 2021 and 2022. 

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