Branson’s Star Power Could Raise All Ships

Cruise Week

Richard Branson is a media magnet. Wherever he goes, whatever venture he is involved with, publicity follows. So unlike most new cruise ventures, Virgin's entry into the marketplace is seen by insiders as increasing awareness of the overall cruise industry as a vacation option.

Witness Tuesday morning in Miami when Branson and company told reporters that the 1st of their 3 ships will be based there and start sailing in early 2020. That's about all they said. Normally that would not be big news, but it received a lot of consumer coverage by cruise industry standards.

Ultimately, the whole industry should benefit as a result of Virgin Cruise attracting 1st timers. By hiring former Disney Cruise Line President Tom McAlpin to lead the line, Branson has brought in a seasoned pro who knows the issues involved with being new to cruise - both as a company and as a market.

The only information released about Virgin's 3 ship order is the tonnage - 110,000 tons, which qualifies as mid-size these days - and the number of guests – 2,860 lower beds.

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