Virgin reveals what its £543M cruise ships are set to look like, with designers told to imagine the ‘modern romance of sailing’ (but none of them have actually been on a cruise)

  • Virgin Voyages is a joint venture between Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Boston-based Bain Capital
  • The company plans to launch three ships in 2020, with production costs coming it at close to $2bn (£1.63 bn)
  • A team of designers have been recruited to do the interiors but none of them have ever been on a cruise 

Complete with discos, slick restaurants and luxurious lounge areas, Virgin Voyages promises to shake up the cruise industry with its new fleet of liners.

The firm, which is a joint venture between Sir Richard Branson’s London-based Virgin Group and Boston-based Bain Capital, plans to launch three 2,700-passenger ships in 2020, with production costs coming it at close to $2 billion (£1.63 billion).

Newly-released renderings show what the ships’ public spaces are set to look like, thanks to a group of designers who have worked on some of the world’s top hotels and restaurants favoured by the rich and famous. 

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Complete with discos, slick restaurants and luxurious lounge areas, Virgin Voyages promises to shake up the cruising industry with its new fleet of liners

The firm, which is a joint venture between Sir Richard Branson’s London-based Virgin Group and Boston-based Bain Capital, plans to launch three 2,700-passenger ships in 2020, with production costs coming it at close to $2 billion (£1.63 billion)

Newly-released renderings show what the ships’ public spaces are set to look like, thanks to a group of designers who have worked on some of the world’s top hotels and restaurants favoured by the rich and famous. Above, the science-inspired Test Kitchen restaurant 

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    Admittedly, none of the designers commissioned by Virgin Voyages have actually been on a cruise.

    London-based Tom Dixon, who is on the design team, told Conde Nast Traveler at a party in New York to unveil a sneak peak of the boats: ‘It’s quite risky, what Virgin Voyages are trying to do, getting a bunch of [designers] who’ve never been on a cruise before.

    ‘But there’s a logic to that madness. If you’re going to encourage a new demographic to cruise, then why not use designers who’ve never been on [one]? We think, ‘what would entice you to go on a cruise?'” 

    Across the ship, Virgin Voyages has partnered with Dixon’s Design Research Studio in London, Roman and Williams in New York, Concrete Amsterdam, Softroom in London and WorkAC in New York. 

    The team were given a brief to communicate the ‘modern romance of sailing’ through furnishings and detail.

    Beginning with the ship’s top deck, Richard’s Rooftop designed by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio will be an exclusive chic outdoor lounge reserved for the ship’s suite guests. 

    The private club will feature a futuristic aesthetic with circular loungers, giant umbrellas and accents of dichroic glass that will cast shadows of rainbow reflections across the outdoor lounge. 

    Roman and Williams are also the masterminds behind The Dock, an outdoor lounge with a focus on relaxation, socializing and an appreciation of the views the ship provides

    Heading inside the ship, Tom Dixon’s famed void lighting will adorn the entryway to Pink Agave, the ship’s upscale modern Mexican restaurant designed by Design Research Studio

    Located on the very aft of the ship on deck 7, The Dock is reminiscent of chic seaside lounges found in the Hamptons, Ibiza, Bali and beyond

    Known for their work with notable celebrity residences as well as eye-catching hotels like The Standard Highline in New York City, the Roman and Williams design firm was a natural fit to design The Manor, the signature nightclub for Virgin Voyages

    Heading inside the ship, Tom Dixon’s famed void lighting will adorn the entryway to Pink Agave, the ship’s upscale modern Mexican restaurant designed by Design Research Studio. 

    Electric blue metallic lighting fixtures will cascade from the ceilings above oversized banquets that line the dining room’s portholes. 

    An elongated curved lounger centers the room with round tables for two offering an intimate dining experience. 

    The upscale restaurant will feature a bar area in the foyer and a private dining room for larger groups.

    Known for their work with notable celebrity residences as well as eye-catching hotels like The Standard Highline in New York City, the Roman and Williams design firm was a natural fit to design The Manor, the signature nightclub for Virgin Voyages. 

    Inspired by Richard Branson’s history in the music industry and his first ever Virgin music studio of the same name, the dance music fueled space has been expertly outfitted with details, platforms and corners that make it both somewhere to see and to be seen. 

    With emerald, aubergine undertones and gold accents The Manor will bring glitz and glamour to sea.

    Roman and Williams are also the masterminds behind The Dock, an outdoor lounge with a focus on relaxation, socializing and an appreciation of the views the ship provides.

    Located on the very aft of the ship on deck 7, The Dock is reminiscent of chic seaside lounges found in the Hamptons, Ibiza, Bali and beyond.

    The inspiration behind The Dock was to create a space where by day, the sun, sea and sailing are the stars of the show and a cold beverage, a book and the view are the perfect companions.

    Back atop of the ship, relaxation and adult-play will meet yachting glamour at The Athletic Club, an outdoor lounge that celebrates traditional nautical elements designed by Concrete Amsterdam. 

    Featuring the largest daybed at sea, the white and red striped semi-circular lounger is the perfect spot on board for sunbathing or star gazing. Adjacent to the daybed is a 220 square foot area of triple netting where guests can layout and overlook the open space and decks below, as if they were sailing on a catamaran.  

    At The Athletic Club there will be a 220 square foot area of triple netting where guests can layout and overlook the open space and decks below, as if they were sailing on a catamaran

    The inspiration behind The Dock was to create a space where by day, the sun, sea and sailing are the stars of the show and a cold beverage, a book and the view are the perfect companions

    At the Pink Agave Mexican restaurant, electric blue metallic lighting fixtures will cascade from the ceilings above oversized banquets that line the dining room’s portholes

    Currently Virgin offers cruising holidays but it does not operate any of its own ships. Long-time cruise expert, Tom McAlpin, has been put in charge as CEO and President of the new Virgin Voyages brand

    Richard’s Rooftop designed by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio will be an exclusive chic outdoor lounge reserved for the ship’s suite guests

    Concrete Amsterdam designed the Test Kitchen restaurant with an inviting entryway with lighting fixture images that mimic the periodic table

    The Test Kitchen’s laboratory-like environment is accented by metallic furniture, sleek clean lines and of course the finishing touches of beakers, test tubes and volumetric flasks

    The Test Kitchen features communal dining tables decked out with chef stations 

    The Athletic Club expands across both sides of the aft of the ship with 10 cabanas overlooking the ocean with beverage service from the adjacent bar.

    Known for incorporating emotion and a bit of eccentricity in their designs, the team at Concrete Amsterdam are the architectural minds behind hotels like citizenM and hotel Zoku as well as eateries like 212 Amsterdam, among others. 

    Concrete Amsterdam designed the Test Kitchen restaurant with an inviting entryway with lighting fixture images that mimic the periodic table. The Test Kitchen’s laboratory-like environment is accented by metallic furniture, sleek clean lines and of course the finishing touches of beakers, test tubes and volumetric flasks.

    The remaining onboard public spaces and cabins designed by the Virgin Voyages’ interior design Creative Collective will be revealed throughout the year as a part of the brand’s continuation of its #ShipTease series. 

    Virgin Voyages  currently has three ships under order with the Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri. 

    Virgin Voyages’ first ship will arrive at PortMiami in 2020 for her inaugural sailing season, where she will sail to the Caribbean hosting more than 2,700 guests and 1,150 crew members.  

    Currently Virgin offers cruising holidays but it does not operate any of its own ships.

    Long-time cruise expert, Tom McAlpin, has been put in charge as CEO and President of the new Virgin Voyages brand.

    Back atop of the ship, relaxation and adult-play will meet yachting glamour at The Athletic Club, an outdoor lounge that celebrates traditional nautical elements designed by Concrete Amsterdam

    The round sun loungers will be the perfect spot on board for sunbathing or star gazing

    The remaining onboard public spaces and cabins designed by the Virgin Voyages’ interior design Creative Collective will be revealed throughout the year as a part of the brand’s continuation of its #ShipTease series

    Virgin Voyages currently has three ships under order with the Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri. Above, the entrance way to the Pink Agave Mexican restaurant 85635065 60-24-04

    Virgin Voyages’ first ship will arrive at PortMiami in 2020 for her inaugural sailing season, where she will sail to the Caribbean hosting more than 2,700 guests and 1,150 crew members

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