For Sir Richard Branson, life is one big adventure.
Her latest adventure is Virgin Voyages, which next summer will criss-cross Australia and we were on board for a whirlwind 72-hour tour, courtesy of Virgin.
“I love Australia and Australia seems to get on well with me and I can’t wait to come and smash a bottle of champagne over it,” Branson said. A topical matter.
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There’s no one like Branson.
One hour is what we were allocated with the contractor, but it quickly turned into three days.
Yes, he has a cruise to promote, but Branson really likes to have fun.
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We started with a lead interview, which was set up in the ship‘s massive suite.
When Branson walked into the room, he was quiet, a little reserved, and very polite, but three days later we were both jumping in the pool.
“Why did you decide to conquer the seas? I asked Branson.
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“Well, let’s see…we did space, we did sky,” he laughed.
“I wasn’t a huge cruiser, but at about 28 or 27, I thought we could kind of create, you know, the kind of cruise ship that I would like to go on and I thought, well, we’ll do it for the under-30s,” Branson said.
“And then I didn’t have the money to do it, so it was the under 40s, the under 50s, the under 60s. In short, in the end we succeeded, we did enough money to be able to create this ship of our dreams.”
Branson has a lot to say, after all at nearly 72 he’s been around the block a few times.
But one of his proudest accomplishments are his grandchildren and he loves talking about all six of them.
“They started a petition and what I had to say nicely was that when I turn 18, I’ll promise to take them on a cruise myself and they’ll have a great time,” Branson said.
In a first cruise, Virgin Voyages is child-free.
Vintage records, like Mike Oldfield and The Sex Pistols, line the deck, and electric guitars are more than just decoration.
It’s a Virgin cruise.
There are three lady ships in the fleet, each around 280 meters long, which can accommodate 2,700 passengers, or sailors, as Virgin likes to call them.
The brand launched in March 2020, the same month the cruise industry was shut down.
But Branson promises his ships are worth the wait.
“Businesses, airlines, cruise lines, fitness clubs, hotels, you name it, they’ve all been shut down. So it’s been really, really difficult,” Branson said.
“So it makes coming out of COVID all the more satisfying to see, you know, the 1,700 employees; their smiles.”
All passengers and crew are vaccinated, everyone is tested before boarding and Virgin Voyages says all air filtration systems are the same as you would expect in hospitals.
You will pay for alcohol, but all food and drink is included.
And if you want to get tattooed aboard the world’s first floating tattoo parlour, it will be extra.
“Are you inspired to get a tattoo?” I had to ask Branson.
“I definitely, well, I almost definitely decided to get a tattoo,” Branson said.
“The only thing holding me back is the fact that you can’t go swimming for a week or two after getting a tattoo and it seems a little strange being on a cruise ship and then getting a tattoo and of not being able to go swimming.
“But if I can overcome this little worry, then I will definitely get a tattoo.”
“Why is it so important to stay young, to stay fun? I asked the king about the good times.
“It’s a lot more fun for you if you take that approach,” Branson said.
“If the guy running the business or the girl running the business is first in the pool, fully dressed, then everyone would be in the pool fully dressed.”
Shortly after saying that, Branson was in the pool, fully dressed, with his stick not far behind him.
Luckily, the Virgin Voyages marketing team came prepared with several outfits and he went through them all.
“How does cruising compare to space? If there is a comparison,” I asked.
“Let me see,” laughed Branson, while trying to find similarities.
“I mean my journey into space was without a doubt the most amazing 24 hours of my life and getting these kinds of comments from people who have been on a Virgin Voyage they seem to indicate that it has was an unforgettable experience for them.”
Branson has no intention of slowing down, but he knows that one day he will be forced to.
“I definitely don’t feel like slowing down. Obviously there will come a time when your body will say enough, but I really think you can keep your body the way it was when you were 20 for longer than people do. think so,” he said. mentioned.
So what do you do, when you’ve done it all?
“Most of my time these days is spent using the fact that I can pick up the phone with anyone in the world and move on,” Branson said.
“So trying to address some issues that are close to my heart and that people around me feel very strongly about – the war on drugs.
“It’s been a miserable failure for 70 years. As a businessman, I would have shut it down 69 years ago and announced from today that we’re going to treat drugs like a health problem, not like a criminal problem.”
What about the Virgin brand?
“I think if there was anything important left to do, I would have done it,” laughed Branson.
“After COVID, there’s a lot of work to be done with businesses that have been through COVID, who are struggling with a lot of debt and they need to get back on their feet.”
After three days at sea with the billionaire, how would I describe him?
Well, a whole lot of fun, obviously, but Branson is also surprisingly humble.
When he wasn’t touring with us, he was exercising and the guy is still going strong.
He was chatting with the staff, or having breakfast with his wife Joan, who joined him on board.
It was a pleasure.
Five free trips, for five lucky viewers
Branson knows we love to cruise and he’s got five free trips for five lucky ones A topical matter the viewers.
For a chance to win a free Virgin trip for you and your plus one, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and explain why we should choose you.
Closing of registrations on Friday May 27, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.
Terms and conditions of application.
There is a delay on the terms and conditions, which will be available tomorrow, but registrations are now open.
Australian residents 18+ only, limit one entry per person.
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