It all began in 1844, when P&O Cruises accommodated passengers on the first leisure cruise. Their service later expanded to include India, the Orient, Australia and New Zealand.
British shipping company, White Star Lines followed with a trans-Atlantic passage and began building a fleet of ocean liners in 1849. These ships brought forward the golden age of cruising in the 1900s and introduced ships as luxury floating hotels.
Rather than getting from one place to another it became the place to be and be seen. However, that was short-lived as during the Great Wars of this Century many passenger ships were commissioned to the service effort.
After World War II, ocean travel returned until the ‘jet age’ began in the late 1950s.The event marked what was thought to be the end of the ocean liner. It was no longer fashionable, practical, or cost efficient mode of transportation.
Through the foresight in the 1960s of Ted Arinson, founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, the cruise industry had a rebirth. Carnival concentrated on holiday trips in the Caribbean, and their “fun ships” theme attracted and introduced a whole new generation to cruising. The adage of “everything old is new again” quickly gained speed.
The demand for leisure cruising increased even further because of a hit weekly TV series “The Love Boat” which starred the cruise ship Pacific Princess. The show ran from 1977 to 1986 and was the best advert ever to hit the marketplace. New cruise destinations were added with ships today travelling to every continent.
The cruise industry is about to have a new member to their worldwide class of service in the near future.
Sir Richard Branson is well known for being the founder and leader of Virgin Group, a corporation which has broken through in almost every field including outer space travel, music production, railroads and airlines.
The company may soon add the cruise industry to their long list of achievements. The 63 old Branson has announced he has raised enough money, mainly from the Abu Dhabi region and New York based investment banks to finance the 1.7 billion dollar Virgin Cruises.
BRANSON AIMS TO REACH OUT TO THE YOUNGER MARKET
This foray into cruising has gained the attention of the industry. Branson plans to create a fun experience for people who wouldn’t normally go on a cruise and plans to build the cruise line up from scratch. Attracting a younger market is imperative in this day and age so it’s no surprise that Virgin is putting their special touch in all of the aspects of the cruise including the stateroom, dining and entertainment.
This is not Virgin’s first venture with cruising, as they originally and still offer package deals in association with other cruise companies with their Virgin Holiday Cruises packages.
The fleet will comprise of two ships at first, both with itineraries planned for Mediterranean and the Caribbean. The ships will head to the Arabian Gulf region later on. The cruise line will use Miami as its hub, which is because it is the capital of the cruise industry.
The choice of the Arabian Gulf as a destination seems odd at first. However, many rich and influential figures in that region have decided to market and invest in the said area as a prime location for cruising. Cruise lines have been offering cruises in the Arabia Sea for several years now, but it is Virgin that pledges to focus on more intense trips there in the near future.
2019 is the year to keep in mind for the inaugural cruise if everything goes to schedule.
More information on the Virgin Cruise Line will be released in the upcoming months, and everyone will be on the edge of their seats to see what Branson and his company come up with next.
Written by Veronica Shine