Virgin Voyages Makes CEO Change and Secures Major Investment

Virgin Voyages announces a new round of investment totaling $550 million, as CEO McAlpin steps down to make room for Nirmal Saverimuttu.

In a move that could shape the future of Virgin Voyages, the cruise line has announced a significant investment and a change in leadership. With a focus on expanding its reach, the company has closed a $550 million capital raise and also revealed a shift at the helm.

Following the new investment round, the current CEO, Tom McAlpin, will be stepping down as head of the cruise line, making space for Nirmal Saverimuttu.

Significant Investment as Virgin Looks at Further Growth

Virgin Voyages has successfully closed on a $550 million capital raise led by Ares Management’s Private Equity Group. Additional funds also came from existing investors, including the Virgin Group and Bain Capital. The investment follows another $550 million investment by Blackrock earlier this year.

The new influx of capital aims to strengthen the company’s financial standing and accelerate international expansion plans.

Since Virgin Voyages launched its first cruise ship in March 2020, the cruise line has quickly grown into one of the world’s fastest-growing and most popular cruise brands, making a name for itself with a new style of cruising that sets it apart from the establishment.

Virgin Voyages Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock

“It is hard to express just how proud I am of all that the Virgin Voyages Crew has created and the strong endorsement we are receiving from Ares. We have won numerous industry awards and received many five-star reviews because of our passion for this brand,” said McAlpin. 

In addition to the financial news, Virgin Voyages announced the retirement of its founding CEO, Tom McAlpin. He will transition to the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors, while Nirmal Saverimuttu will take the reins as the new CEO.

“While I will miss the day-to-day, I believe it is the right time to step aside as CEO. Nirmal is a great friend and experienced leader who lives and breathes the Virgin Voyages culture. I know he will help take this amazing brand and Crew to new heights, and I look forward to continuing to support the leadership team as Chairman,” McAlpin continued.

Nirmal Saverimuttu has been with Virgin Voyages since the company was first formed. He joined the cruise line in 2014 as Chief Commercial Officer from the Virgin Group after being involved with the first round of investments. Saverimuttu is currently serving as President and Chief Experience Officer.

“I want to send our deepest thanks, on behalf of all our Crew and the Board, to Tom for his leadership and passion for the business. We are so grateful for all he has done and are thrilled to continue to partner with him as our Chairman,” said Saverimuttu. 

Going Beyond Three Cruise Ships?

Currently operating three ships, Virgin Voyages seems unlikely to be using the new investment round towards building more ships. The cruise line is putting more focus on developing more in new international markets by the end of the year.

The emphasis will be on sailing to more ports in the Caribbean, Australia, and a return to the United Kingdom. The cruise line announced a new series of itineraries today, September 7, which includes 19 new destinations across 27 new itineraries.

Virgin Voyages Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Unitedpixel / Shutterstock

Virgin Voyages also announced an indefinite delay in launching their fourth ship, Brilliant Lady, due to supply chain and staffing issues. Brilliant Lady will not be sailing any cruises through April 2024, at least.

The delay of Brilliant Lady marks another instance where Virgin Voyages has had to postpone ship launches, but it doesn’t appear to overshadow the company’s ambitious plans for growth.

Currently, Virgin Voyages operates three 110,000 gross tons cruise ships—Scarlet Lady, Valiant Lady, and Resilient Lady. Scarlet Lady, the cruise line’s first cruise ship, offers cruises out of PortMiami, sailing on four and five-night cruises with calls to Puerto Rico, Puerto Plata, Bimini, and Nassau. 

Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady both operate in the Mediterranean. Valiant Lady is sailing cruises in the Western part of the Med, while Resilient Lady operates in the Eastern Mediterranean. On October 29, Valiant Lady will join Scarlet Lady in Miami, while Resilient Lady will reposition to Australia. 

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