There was a big conference for travel agents in Portsmouth, where Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin was going to be speaking to show off our ship Scarlet Lady and give the audience a few shipteases. He started playing a video, which I had filmed a few days earlier, when suddenly it cut out and they had to call the tech engineer to come and sort out the problem.
I was ready and waiting backstage and the team had even got me dressed up in a branded boiler suit to look the part. I burst in and walked through the crowd and onto the stage, and the audience loved the surprise.
Tom and I spoke about how Virgin Voyages is going to disrupt the cruise industry and do things really differently. We’ve been listening to people and thinking how things could be done better. We want our crew to be the happiest at sea and we are putting wellbeing and sustainability at the heart of the journey. We don’t want to just break the mould, we want to offer something that will completely change the way people see sea travel.
We also had one more little surprise in store. When I was asked about what I think of what other companies are doing, we started talking about the wonderful progress Virgin Galactic is making – and ripped open my shirt to show a t-shirt underneath emblazoned with the words “my other ship is a spaceship” (Tom had “His other ship is a spaceship”)!
It’s really special to see Virgin companies all in different sectors disrupting and innovating at great pace. Virgin Galactic has made great progress with two successful spaceflights – and we also recently announced that we’re moving operations to Spaceport America in New Mexico.
It’s also wonderful to see Virgin people embracing a fun, inclusive, innovative culture and putting purpose at the heart of it whether we are flying to space or sailing the high seas.