Sir Richard Branson has docked in Sydney to celebrate the launch of a new partnership between Virgin Australia and Virgin Voyages.
Australians can now get their hands on packaged tickets to board Virgin Voyages’ maiden ship, the adults-only Scarlet Lady, thanks to a new partnership unveiled yesterday between the cruise line and Virgin Australia.
Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday evening, Branson, 69, said the realisation of Virgin Voyages had been a life’s aspiration, and a long time coming.
“I pinch myself every day of my life. This morning we were doing a function on a ferry with Virgin Australia, with Virgin Voyages … it’s all too unreal to be true,” Branson said.
“It was many, many, many years ago when we first embarked on this. I was 26 and I thought ‘wouldn’t it be fun to have a cruise line for under 30-year-olds’.
“And I worked hard. I couldn’t borrow the money, I couldn’t get the money, couldn’t steal the money.
“So, I then got into my 30s, and I thought let’s try again, it will be for under 40-year-olds … then it was under 50-year-olds.”
In the end, Branson will be celebrating his 70th birthday on board Virgin Voyages’ cruise ship after finally making his dream a reality.
He also revealed Australians may not have to wait long for the ship to arrive Down Under. Branson said he had been in discussions with “the head of the port authority” while in Sydney about bringing a Voyages cruise ship to Australia in “a year or two, or three”.
Branson offers condolences to victims of NSW fires, as Virgin Australia commits to charity support
Earlier on Tuesday, Branson alongside team members from Virgin Australia and Virgin Voyages surprised local commuters by making an appearance on a local ferry, to announce Virgin’s new ‘Tail to Sail’ packages.
“When Sydneysiders hopped on the local ferry this morning, their usual commute turned into a celebration of Aussie culture, feel good flying and setting sail on new adventures,” Branson wrote in Virgin’s online blog.
“We have all been dismayed to see the news about the catastrophic fires in New South Wales and Queensland, and my heart goes out [to] all those impacted by the fires and the brave emergency services personnel and volunteers working to contain them.
“In Sydney, we were determined to put a smile on people’s faces. Together with the wonderful Virgin Australia and Virgin Voyages teams, we handed out fairy bread and lamingtons, traditional Aussie treats you’ll be able to enjoy on board Virgin Voyages, our new cruise company,” he said.
In a separate report, Branson told The Daily Telegraph Virgin Australia is working with the Salvation Army Emergency Services by flying the charity partners team to and from bush fire-affected areas. The airline is also waiving any fees caused by change or cancellation for guests impacted by the fires or who are unable to travel due to the fires.
Virgin’s Tail to Sail packages are now available through Virgin Australia Holidays and include return flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Miami. In Miami, travellers will set sail on the Scarlet Lady on a number of itineraries, including destinations in the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.