With plans of taking rich tourists to the final frontier put on hold by a tragic crash, British businessman Sir Richard Branson is taking his business to one of the original frontiers - oceanic voyages. That's right, Virgin is about to get wet in the cruise business.
USA Today reports that Virgin cruises will launch with the financial backing of Bain Capital and be headed by a former Disney Cruise Lines president, Tom McAlpin. The company will be based in south Florida, and start operations with two new "world class" ships. In his announcement, Branson said, "We plan to shake up the cruise industry, and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love," but the company has yet to announce when or where they'll set sail, citing competitive reasons.
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400 by Mark Harkin (Flickr / CC Commercial License)
The last new entrant into the cruise business was Disney Cruises, in 1996. Collectively, Virgin comprises over 400 companies, and travel is nothing new to them. Virgin has been in the airline business since 1984, starting with Virgin Atlantic, and has since expanded to include Virgin Australia and Virgin America.
Cruising seems like a natural progression for Virgin, known for its upscale product and service within the airline industry. Their Virgin Holidays company has been selling cruises on competitors for years, paired with flights on Virgin Atlantic, of course.
Top photo via AP Images
Paul Thompson is a aviation journalist with over 13 years of experience working in the airline industry, who maintains the website Flight Club for Jalopnik.com. You can contact Paul to submit story ideas, your own "Plane Porn" photos, and comments regarding this or any other aviation topic via email at Paul@Jalopnik.com