Richard Branson started an adults-only cruise line, with lots of booze & tattoos

London Marathon finish line

I’ve never been on a cruise. I’ve never really wanted to go on a cruise? I’ll admit that every so often, those Viking Cruise commercials really do get me, and I think those particular European-based cruises might be sort of cool. But I’ve really never been interested in the cruises which just sound like “Disneyworld on a boat.” Like, too many slides and kids running around and everything is germy and everyone gets sick and four days into the cruise, everybody has the Norovirus. But what if you are like me, a sophisticated hermit who doesn’t like a lot of chit-chat and sort of hates children? Well, luckily, Richard Branson is interested in appealing to me alone. Billionaire Branson has launched a new thing: Virgin Voyages. Just for adults. No kids allowed.

Richard Branson‘s decision to launch Virgin Voyages, a new adults-only cruise line from his Virgin Group company, didn’t come about from a love of traveling by cruise ship—but rather, the opposite.

“I’ve never been on a cruise, I’ve wanted to go on a cruise,” the 68-year-old business magnate tells PEOPLE. “That’s why we started a cruise line, just to try to create a cruise ship that was fun, and that was for adults.”

The company’s debut ship, Scarlet Lady, is set to make its debut in 2020, with four and five-night sailings in the Caribbean open to guests who are 18 and over. It will boast various adult-focused amenities, like an on-board tattoo parlor, luxurious spa, fitness classes and a blow-dry bar. Scarlet Lady will also have over 20 bars and restaurants (but no buffets), all of which are included with the price of the sailing—a rarity for cruise lines, which usually have certain specialty restaurants on board that have an extra charge. They will also have a “no-tipping” policy, including gratuity in the overall price to avoid unexpected expenses for guests. The signature restaurant, Razzle Dazzle, will feature plant-based dishes and a drag brunch on every sailing.

“Disney already does kids very well, and 99 percent of the market has kids [on board.],” says Branson. “It’s nice because we can cater completely to the adults. We can do a few outrageous things, which might be a bit more difficult to do if there were kids on board.” Still, Branson hasn’t ruled out the possibility of including family-friendly itineraries in the future. “I think in time we will have Virgin cruises for kids,” he says, “but for the first few ships we’ll be adults-only, and people will know what to expect.” Virgin Voyages sailings are currently available for booking, with prices starting at $1,400.

[From People]

I know that was basically just an ad by People Magazine, but I still found it interesting. Richard Branson invests in everything from music to airplanes to space travel, and yet he still thinks to himself, “I wish I could go on a cruise with no children allowed.” Seriously though, aren’t most of the kid-friendly cruises just basically “drop the kids off at the cruise babysitters and mommy & daddy go get drunk”? So Branson is just editing out the cruise babysitters and the kids. Mommy and daddy get to drop the kids off at their grandparents’ house for a week while mommy and daddy get sh-thoused and tattooed on a cruise by themselves. I bet this cruise will be super-popular.

Red Scarlett Party for Virgin Enterprises - Arrivals

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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58 Responses to “Richard Branson started an adults-only cruise line, with lots of booze & tattoos”

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  1. Gil says:

    I worked in a adults only luxurious hotel in Cancun and it was heaven. You only have to deal with drunk dudes, you don’t have to deal with the kids running around the property and having tantrum during breakfast. It was heaven for me, at least. I bet was heaven for the customers too. This only adults cruise sounds like a good idea to me.

    • Suze says:

      We specifically chose an adults only resort in Cancun for our honeymoon! We stayed at Secrets The Vine and it was awesome.

      • Suzy from Ontario says:

        We like Secrets as well and prefer Adults Only. Haven’t tried The Vine, but have been to St. James, Silversands, Cap Cana and Capri. Love Secrets!

  2. Bubbagirl says:

    If I were to go on a cruise I would go on this one. Kids ruin trips.

    • Millennial says:

      Yes, I think Kelly Ripa said vacations with kids aren’t vacations, they are trips. And I thought truer words were never spoken.

      In any event, I might get over my deathly fear of contracting cruise-related norovirus to go on an adults only cruise. Especially if they did the Norwegian area.

    • Yesterday says:

      Wow. If “hell is if your own making” ‘twould look like a prison barge filled w drunk badly tatted up, fluffy haired narcissists. I’ll wait till I’m old, &sail on a smallish PBS history tour, sans other ppls kids OR inebriated FWits.

    • Fran says:

      Yes! same!

  3. Becks1 says:

    Seriously though, aren’t most of the kid-friendly cruises just basically “drop the kids off at the cruise babysitters and mommy & daddy go get drunk”?

    Well, when you put it that way, I am hesitant to admit how much we love the kids club on cruises, lol.

    So I do like cruising, and we go with the kids. Some cruise lines do cater more to adults so you do have to do some research IMO if you are going with your kids (we love Royal Caribbean with kids.) But, I would be all over this kind of cruise too – not just for the kids free aspect, but for the restaurants and gratuity-included etc. Those things add up fast on a cruise.

    • ab says:

      The kids club is the best part of any cruise with kids! My last cruise was with Royal Caribbean, and they are autism-friendly so I was even able to leave my daughter in the kids club and know that they could handle her. It was fantastic. Those few hours away were glorious, lol.

      I would definitely try out an adults-only cruise, but I would worry it would become too much of a party ship. My husband doesn’t drink and we’re pretty low key in general. I would relish a week away from the kids but I’d probably rather just go to a resort on a quiet beach somewhere rather than a cruise.

  4. minx says:

    Even a kid-free cruise wouldn’t be my thing. I would feel like a captive audience in a confined space with a bunch of strangers, forced to be sociable and make chit chat. Sounds like the opposite of relaxing. But I know people who love cruising.

    • AnnaKist says:

      Same here, minx. I’ve been on a few cruises, mostly work-related, and a couple with my adult kids for “pleasure, family bonding and relaxation”. I hate cruises. The best thing that happened on the last – and I do mean LAST cruise – was that I tasted my first espresso martini, as I’m not a drinker. It was delicious! As for the rest of cruising, nope, not my thing. My kids loved it, but they were quite happy to sit, drink an talk to strangers until all hours, whereas I’m a happy hermit. I’ve a friend who retired, but still teaches casually in order to fund cruising with her husband. They recently returned from their latest jaunt – flying from Sydney to Vancouver to visit their son, and then taking him on the Alaskan cruise, and as usual, made friends with several other cruisers. They ju love it.
      Are adults-only or kid-free cruises something new to America? We’ve had them leaving Australian ports for years.

    • Harryg says:

      And fitness classes??? No effing way.

    • Liz says:

      Same. I told my husband years ago – No Cruises! No way I want to be trapped on a floating petri dish with a bunch of complete strangers.

      And then he told me what he wanted to do for his 50th birthday trip. The Galapagos Islands. The only way to really see anything is from a boat. So we are going on a cruise around the Galapagos next spring. Sigh. I need to stock up on anti-bacterial wipes and Dramamine (or whatever other anti-nausea medicine I can talk my GP into giving me). FWIW – for my 50th we drove around Ireland for 10 days and had a wonderful time!

      • Kaley says:

        If you go on a Galapagos cruise DO NOT use a large ship! You cannot port at most islands and it will not be worth the trip.

        Most “cruises” are small boat, i.e. 12 – 24 people, and it is not really a “cruise” like Carribean, Mediterranean, etc. I think some may go up to 100 people but, again, they have strict size limits as to not overwhelm the wildlife as the islands are small and mainly uninhabited.

      • sammiches says:

        Who in the world told you the only way to see the Galapagos is by cruise ship? Many, many people visit the Galapagos and travel between the islands on small speed boats.
        The cruise ships that they allow down there are causing such environmental problems anyways.

    • PointingScreaming says:

      If “hell is of your own making”, t’would be a prison barge full of fluffy haired drunk gym bodied narcissists. When I’m white haired & infirm, I s’pose I’ll to the PBS history tour w fellow oldies, but nary w an upscale booze cruise. Blleeeccchhh.

    • Godwina says:

      Yup. Still not interested. Give me a city to walk around any day, or a lovely country retreat. This remains my idea of a nightmare in general, and it’s not about the social aspect, which I do easily enough. Hard pass, Virgin Hippy.

      PS Liz, your 50th choice is aces, and I am so jealous. May all the forces be with you in the Galapagos.

  5. Megan says:

    I was on a Viking river cruise in France last week. I went with my mom and we both agreed those commercials are major false advertising. The food was mediocre, at best, the sun deck was almost never open, and the complimentary wine was swill. Viking regulars are like a cult. They could not understand why my mom and I choose to eat our meals in Lyon, Vienne, Arles, and Avignon, rather than on the ship.

    But Viking does not allow children on their ships. So kid free was the biggest plus.

    • Becks1 says:

      Oh thanks for this. I have been eyeing up a Viking cruise for a future anniversary trip or something. Good to have a realistic expectation though. I want to do it more because I think it seems like a fun way to see some parts of Europe.

      • Megan says:

        There is nothing to see from the boat in France, but my understanding is that the route for German cruises has a lot of castles.

      • Lucy schroeder says:

        I took the french cruise with viking, too with my elderly mom. Food was ok, but I loved the landscape. Avignon, Arles, Lyon, it was beautiful. I recommend AIDA river cruises, though. Great food, buffet-style, and quite posh.

    • BW says:

      I recently went on a Grand Circle Cruise Line cruise up the Rhine and Mosel rivers. Beautiful castles. Lots to see from the top deck. MUCH cheaper than Viking, and it goes to all the same places. The food was great. The ship was older, but clean. The crew was great. Only about 100 guests, and most were older people. No kids. No noise. Nice and quiet. You can be a hermit if you want. Casual dress for meals. Sit down meals, no buffet. Free wine. Good wine. I would do a Grand Circle Cruise Line cruise again in a heartbeat. I would not do Viking.

      • BW says:

        I’d like to add to my Grand Circle Cruise Line comment. The chef was super accommodating about making me vegan meals.

    • M.A.F. says:

      Interesting. I did a Viking River cruise in June and my experience was rather different (I did the Danube River one). You were also there during the heat wave which might explain why your sun deck wasn’t open (ours was always open). I enjoyed it. I do agree about the regulars being cult like (there more regulars than first timers like myself). The food was fine, I mean you do have the option to have lunch and dinner on the boat or off shore (unless you are traveling to your next port during those time frames). My only issue with the food was not enough vegetarian options. My biggest complaint though was not enough time in some of the ports. In Slovakia, we had like maybe 2 hours (that included the guided tour & on your own time) then back on the boat so we could sail to Budapest (which did take the rest of the day and evening).

      • Megan says:

        The sun deck was disassembled for most of the trip because it was too high for the bridges on the Rhône.

        I’d say 98% of passengers ate all three meals on board, even though we were in the gastronomic heart of France. The program director was completely taken aback when I asked what pick up address I could use for Uber to take us to Paul Bocuse.

      • Sona says:

        Im from Slovakia and I always wonder what do people think of Bratislava as they stop here during the boat trip. Hope you enjoyed it!

    • StaceyP says:

      I’ve went on two Viking cruises, a river one Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland and an Ocean one last fall Hong Kong to Beijing. I very much enjoyed both. Viking is more about the destinations than about ship board life and I loved the smaller ship for the Ocean cruise, the food was excellent. I like the fact that they don’t ‘nickel and dime’ you after you get on board. No photographer, no auction or casino.
      However the major plus for me is no one under 18 years of age, so no screaming kids only a couple incidences of old white man privilege yelling at the staff.

  6. Krakken says:

    Tattoo shops and cruise ships seem like a weird and unlikely combo, aftercare and sun exposure-wise. Who is going to want to hop into a cruise ship pool with fresh ink? Seems like a recipe for flesh eating bacterial infection to me.
    Although Some (most) of the most unfortunate looking and poor quality tattoos I’ve observed come fro the uk so maybe there’s a connect?

    • Some chick says:

      Naw. Bad tattooists are everywhere. Trust me on this.

      It’s gimmicky, but you know some folks will want to get souvenir tattoos from their big cruise. Doubly so if it is an anniversary or something!

      My issue with cruises is that there is SO! MUCH! WASTE! I’d feel terrible about it the entire time.

      • Megan says:

        I have been to almost 50 countries and never once have I desired a souvenir tattoo.

      • Some chick says:

        Cool! Good for you! We should all know what we like, and take our own direction. That doesn’t mean it won’t resonate for other people. :-)

      • Sophie Ferris says:

        Interestingly, I work for a cruise retailer, and we have had Virgin in to discuss selling these voyages. One of the major reasons they have moved away from a single kitchen/buffet-style type dining is the waste factor – which is estimated at 60% on most cruises. Which is just… awful. The restaurants on these ships will all have their own kitchens and food made to order just like any other restaurant. So that’s one thing! To be honest, I have never been drawn to cruising, but having heard from the horse’s mouth (so to speak), I could be convinced by Virgin Voyages. “Wellness” is a huge part of the offering (yoga classes, spa treatments etc) so they are definitely not going for an 18-30′s vibe!

  7. Um says:

    i dont know. I feel guilty when I take vacations without my kids so if I’m going ditch them and spend the money I don’t want to take a cruise to the Caribbean. Cruises are something I’d prefer to do with my kids.

  8. Fortifiedblonde says:

    Always nice to see more childfree-friendly environments pop up

  9. Victoria says:

    @kaiser But what if you are like me, a sophisticated hermit who doesn’t like a lot of chit-chat and sort of hates children?

    Lmao can we cruise together?

  10. Jb says:

    I’m down! But I’ve heard horror stories about cruises so will wait for reviews before I sign me and my husband up. We currently don’t have kids but nice to know there are options if when we do.

  11. Pixie says:

    I love travelling but the thought of being stuck in the middle of the ocean on a fancy contraption with hordes of drunk strangers is my idea of a waking nightmare. Also, you mean to tell me cruises aren’t usually kid-free?? Who wants a bunch a stranger kids running around whilst they’re trying to get drunk? This whole concept is alien to me lol

    • Becks1 says:

      Haha! It depends on the cruise ship. the RC cruises we have been on always have an adults-only pool (this maybe pretty standard for cruises, I’m not sure) and when we do put the kids in the kids club, I think its pretty easy to avoid other kids. I don’t feel like I’m being run over with little kids when I’m on a cruise ship.

      And, some cruise lines do cater more to adults – some don’t have a kids club, for example.

      I was about to say that “we never make friends” on cruises but last time we did find ourselves in the midst of a large birthday party and we were absorbed by those people lol.

      • Pixie says:

        Ah I suppose that doesn’t sound too bad! I’m sure it could be fun, especially with a fun group of friends. Although, I think I’ll stick to my beachy holidays for the time being!

  12. Lizzie says:

    You couldn’t pay me to go on a cruise but I have gone to an adult only all inclusive and it was marvelous.

  13. Aenflex says:

    It would need to be 25 and older for me to bite. Hanging with a bunch of 18-20 year olds is just as bad as hanging with children.

  14. Bb fan says:

    Why would anyone get a tattoo on a cruise??? You’d have to protect it from the sun, keep it out of the pool, and be so careful to keep it clean in such a germy environment.

    • Godwina says:

      Not to mention, one rogue wave while your skin is being inked. I will continue to get tattooed on stable surfaces.

  15. Cousin Chrissy says:

    I had saw this advertise on Facebook a few weeks ago and shared it so when my husband and I are looking to do something nice that came to mind. I don’t have children and don’t know if I do. They suck. They yell, scream, have tantrums over nothing, and they ruin your life. Your life is never the same with kids. Your wallet is thinner, you age quicker, and you’re not as happy. Yet everyone seems to want them anyway. I really don’t get it. The earth is so overpopulated as it is yet many people feel it is their duty to reproduce. I’m 33 and if I do have kids, it’ll only be one and I’ll be closer to 40 when it happens. I’m living my best life right now and don’t want kids to ruin it.

    • Jessica says:

      No kids for us! I have never been on a cruise, but this sounds intriguing.

    • Some chick says:

      Are you me? This totally could have been me “when I was your age” LOL.

      I got my tubes tied and I have never looked back!

    • minx says:

      I agree with everything you said, except for “you’re not as happy” if you have kids. No one can really measure other people’s happiness. We didn’t have kids for 13 years after we got married, by choice. I’m very happy we had them (they’re adults now, so the heavy lifting is done) but if we hadn’t had them I would have been happy as well.

  16. Lori says:

    There are already cruise lines that have the reputation for catering to adults such as Holland America. Have seen very few children on that line. But they are favoured by seniors. I guess the tattoo parlour is a way to signal that this is adults only for a younger set ( or young at heart!)

  17. JennyJenny says:

    We went on a glorious, high end cruise to Alaska.
    The Regent ships have less passengers and lovely amenities.

    We thought surely there’d be a few to no children on board. Boy we’re we wrong!
    Those 8 children disrupted the entire voyage with nary a word spoken to their parents. They were always in the pool being obnoxious; riding the elevators for entertainment and actually allowed in the nightly entertainment venue where they sat in the front, always getting up and down.

    It really soured my opinion of cruising!

  18. Nicegirl says:

    Kaiser you are a wannabe writer’s dream blogger- ‘a sophisticated hermit’ is so, so awesome. 😎🖖🏽

    Sophisticated hermits ftw!

  19. Nicegirl says:

    Also, it’s called ‘The Scarlet Lady’ – ok. Guess I’m going on a cruise 🚢

  20. deadnotsleeping says:

    I go on a girls cruise every spring. There’s always about 10 of us, give or take a few, and no husbands and no kids. It’s heavenly. It’s never going to be at the top of my favorite vacations but getting a chance to relax with my friends with no responsibilities… definitely worth it.

    I’ve already forwarded this article to some of the girls. We’ve never been on an adult’s only cruise, but honestly we rarely see other people’s kids. Plus, others people’s kids don’t stress me out as much as trying to keep an eye on my own. Lol.

  21. Alyse says:

    To anyone going a cruise: think of the local stops!

    Lots of cruises do drop offs that add chaos to the destination, and people don’t spend any money there to make up for it (all food etc being bought on ship)

    I get the allure of an all-inclusive deal – but make sure you are supporting local tourism by spending your money there too!!

  22. Rad says:

    SIGN ME UP!!!! I avoid cruises like the plague for only one reason: Spawn.

    The older I get the less interested in what your crap-covered off-spring is offering to >me<.

  23. Eden75 says:

    I’d rather poke my eyes out than go on a cruise but this one would be one, if I was now eyeless, that I would go on.

    Never understood the appeal of being stuck on something you can’t leave with 5,000 people you don’t know. But hey, whatever, ahem, floats your boat………

  24. Steven B says:

    Oceania cruise line is not adults only however they do not have amenities geared for children. So, while there are a few children, it’s a much lower number than other cruise lines.