Sir Richard Branson has said he is set on shaking up the cruise industry with the upcoming launch of Virgin Cruises.
The new operator plans to field two newly-designed and built 4,200-passenger ships that will begin sailing the Caribbean before the decade is out - the above picture is for illustrative purposes only.
Tom McAlpin, former Disney Cruise Line president, will come aboard as CEO, having recently headed up The World, Residences at Sea.
Around 22 million people boarded a cruise vessel over the past year and more than half were from the US. The world’s largest liner, Carnival Cruise Lines, recently said it would focus more on the Asian market, which is set to account for 20 percent of the industry by 2020 - double what it is now.
“We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love,” said the Virgin founder. “They’ll be sailing on the latest ships offering a great quality, a real sense of fun and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service,” he added.
The statement comes just weeks after Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo broke apart during a test flight, killing co-pilot Michael Tyner Alsbury.