I started out in business shipping records via mail order from the back of Student magazine. Now we’re shipping records from…a ship! The Virgin story began with music so it’s wonderful to see Virgin Voyages taking our love of music to the seas with an onboard record store. When we opened our first shop on Oxford Street above a shoe shop nearly 50 years ago, I never could have imagined that there would one day be a record shop on board our own ship.
Virgin Voyages are taking inspiration from Virgin Records’ stores, where we used to laze around on bean bags listening to our favourite songs. Sailors will be able to relax at Voyage Vinyl, check out albums at listening stations and have a chat with a specialist about the best music out there.
We’ve also got two more names to add to our DJ residency program, featuring regular artists at The Beach Club in Bimini. Mark Ronson was the founding DJ of the programme – I got to see him in action in New York recently - and I’m thrilled that he will be joined by DJ MK and Sofi Tukker for Sailors to dance the night away.
If you’d rather be the one behind the mic, we’ve also got an experience for you. The Groupie is Virgin Voyages’ karaoke space , designed by Roman Coppola, which you can book and sing your heart out in small private bookable rooms with friends.
Virgin Records was where I first learned the art of disruption, and it’s great to see this ethos living on with Virgin Voyages. There was nothing overly rock ‘n’ roll about the way artists were treated or records were produced. We thought we could do it differently, and offer artists and customers a better music experience. So we bought a property called The Manor and turned it into a recording studio - Virgin Voyages are bringing the name back to life with the Manor nightclub onboard.
Nearly five decades in business later and Virgin Voyages are tearing up the industry playbook and offering something really fresh for sailors. I’ve dreamed of starting my own cruise line since I was in my twenties, but Virgin Voyages had to offer something different for customers. That’s why many of our teams have never worked in the cruise industry before. Everyone is coming at this with fresh eyes and big ideas of what would make the best voyage – not just doing what has been done before. This really will be an experience like no other. It’s so exciting to see every new ship-tease – whether it’s how they are reinventing the cabins (think RockStar Suites) or banishing the buffet – I can’t wait to see what comes next.