The Advocate reports that Richard Branson, mogul, author, philanthropist, investor extraordinaire is launching a cruise line specifically for the LGBTQ community.
That’s right, you read that correctly.
Virgin Voyagers, under Branson’s own Virgin Group, will see its flagship, the Scarlett Lady, launching its maiden voyage in 2020 which will begin in Miami and to the Caribbean. The ship will feature an entirely new design, with 93 percent of the cabins (1,330 in total) featuring an ocean view. 86 percent of those will feature private balconies. For those with expensive taste, 78 RockStar suites will offer access to entertainment, restaurants, private members club in addition to solo transfers to and from Miami.
Virgin Group’s airline, Virgin Atlantic, recently became the first airline to offer a flight with made up of an LGBTQ staff. Emmy nominated actor Tituss Burgess from Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was hired by Branson to be the master of ceremonies during the flight, which coincided with the World Pride celebration in New York this past June.
“Our purpose at Virgin is changing business for good, and that means using our business to make a positive impact in the lives of our employees as well as our customers,” Branson said. “Businesses are starting to see that they have important roles to play in standing up for LGBTQ rights, especially in places where those rights are being violated. This includes the travel industry, as many LGBTQ travelers feel discriminated against or feel uncomfortable being themselves while on holiday.”
In addition to it being the right thing to do, Branson feels that LGBTQ travelers are a huge benefit to businesses. When “customer bases are as diverse and inclusive as possible,” they thrive, he says.
“Each of us is responsible for taking care of the places that we travel so that future generations can discover them as well,” Branson says. “Now that I am a grandfather of five, I am more driven than ever to make sure that they get to enjoy seeing natural wonders of the world as much as I have.”
Traveling can be especially stressful for the LGBTQ community, especially when it comes to the high seas which can feel catered to heterosexual couples or families with young children. Branson’s efforts provide not only an experience for those looking to truly let loose, but a safe space for LGBTQ people who are looking to explore and travel without having to censor who they truly are.
“We wanted Virgin Voyages to make positive changes in the world,” he explains. “The brand purpose behind the company is ‘Epic Sea Change for All,’ and ‘all’ includes our partners, our sailors, our ocean, the communities we operate in, and our crew.”
Here’s to hoping more people follow Branson’s lead.
Learn more at Virgin Voyages.
h/t: The Advocate