The boss of Virgin Voyages has admitted the pandemic has forced a “compressed timeline” for delivery of its four ships, but says he is “pretty confident” he is going to be able to fill the capacity.
But speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, chief executive Tom McAlpin said he will not be able to do it without the support of travel agents.
He said: “We’ll have two ships by 2022. And we’ll have four by 2024. So yes, they’re coming fast. It’s compressed the timeline. But that’s okay. We’re happy to manage through that.
“With this partnership we have with our travel agent community to get the word out and the number of itineraries that we have and all the different choices, I think is fantastic.
“It’s going to be a lot of work but building a business is not easy and we feel pretty confident with the pent-up demand that we’re going to be able to do it.”
McAlpin said feedback on the ship was hugely positive, giving him confidence guests would return and tell their friends about it.
“People that have come on board just absolutely love the ship and we need to create some buzz. We need to get the reviews out there about Scarlet Lady and Virgin Voyages, because people just don’t know who we are,” he said.
“That’s another reason why we’re dependent on our travel agent partners to help us spread that good word.”
McAlpin said the fact that Virgin Voyages’ ships look different to those operated by other cruise lines was a plus point.
“Our ships look different. They’re very unique, inspired by super yacht design. If you’re a foodie, you’re going to love it on the ship. There are six different restaurants, you’re going to eat in a different restaurant each night and it’s a restaurant that you would want to go to on land,” he said.
“And it’s all designed for adults. You don’t have to worry about little ones running around which allows us to create and provide a more sophisticated upscale experience.”