Launching in 2020, Virgin Voyages’ inaugural sailing will include world’s first cruise ship tattoo parlor. If you’ve been longing for a less conventional cruise souvenir, Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages cruise line may just grant your wish. The British billionaire is set to launch his cruise brand in 2020, complete with cruise ship tattoo parlor.
Onboard tattoo parlor ‘Squid Ink’ will host lineup of celebrity tattoo artists
Lou Rubino, Jr., of World Famous Tattoo Ink and Freshly Inked magazine fame, is partnering with the world’s first cruise ship tattoo parlor, called Squid Ink. Staffed by two full-time artists handpicked by Rubino, Squid Ink will also host guest tattoo artists. Many celebrity tattoo artists are already slated for appearances at the tattoo shop.
Cruise ship tattoo parlor honors long tradition of sea-inspired ink
Tattoos have long been a hallmark of oceanic travels, popularized in the West by sailors. Tom McAlpin, president and CEO of Virgin Voyages, says the cruise line aims to “continue that legacy with rock and roll style by bringing some of the best ink artists to sea.” In a press release, McAlpin stated the goal was to help passengers “make lifelong memories … with a souvenir they’ll never lose track of.”
Virgin Voyages aims to shake up cruise industry
The 2020 inaugural sailing is expected to depart from Miami on a tour of the Caribbean. In launching the brand, Branson has highlighted key areas where he sees the cruise industry lacking, namely sustainability and diversity.
Both Branson and McAlpin emphasized the need for businesses to helm global change at a press event earlier this year. For Virgin Voyages, that means sustainable cruising, and ensuring leadership diversity.
“Across the maritime industry, we can do better in onboard recruiting and leadership representation for women,” said McAlpin.
Of course, cruise ship tattoo parlors also help to challenge the status quo. Branson has been vocal about targeting a much younger demographic for his cruises. The three cruise ships in Virgin Voyages are designed to appeal to first-time cruisers.
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Virgin Voyages’ maiden voyage is expected in 2020, but exact dates have not been set and tickets are not available. It is possible the first sailing may already be sold out, as the website suggests pre-booking deposits are no longer being accepted due to “overwhelming demand.”