Cruise News – Feb. 15, 2018
Virgin Voyages celebrated the official opening of its land-based headquarters in Plantation, Florida (about 15 minutes west of downtown Fort Lauderdale), during a festive open house complete with the brand’s signature red and purple color palette and nautical and British accents and décor.
Virgin Voyages’ president and CEO, Tom McAlpin spoke about the brand-new space that will eventually employ hundreds of South Florida talent.
“It really is an honor to lead such a fantastic team who is literally growing by the day,” said McAlpin. “Three years ago, there were two of us, and now we have 80 crewmembers who’ve been hand selected.” McAlpin adds that this year they plan on bringing aboard another 125 crewmembers, and ultimately they expect at least 400 crewmembers based in the home office and 1,100 aboard each of the three ships.
The light open space includes open rows of desks that will eventually be home to dozens of employees (for now it’s just a start-up crew). There are also separate glass-enclosed private offices and collaborative workspaces, comfortable lounge areas, amazing kitchen facilities complete with quality refreshments, as well as larger conference rooms.
There are also games such as a pool table, shuffleboard, and a Pac-Man video console, as well as a relaxing Zen-like lounge area that the line says is a nod to how the upcoming ships will look and feel. (The first is set to debut in 2020 from PortMiami).
McAlpin says that sometimes the term “office” isn’t the right way to describe what they’ve created. In fact, they worked with the Virgin Voyages design team and IA Interior Architects to create an environment that reflects who they are as a brand, which he describes as innovative, creative, optimistic, and welcoming. They also wanted a space to have a look and feel that inherently feels like life on board a Virgin Voyages ship from classic, nautical accents to pops of Virgin red and nods to the company’s British heritage.
Dotting the office are also tributes to Virgin founder, Richard Branson, including inspirational quotes and phrases, London-style phone booths for private calls, and meeting areas named after Branson’s properties around the world from Necker to Ulusaba. But the pièce de ré·sis·tance is the “wall of ties” — a cheeky ode to Sir Branson’s hatred of neckties.
“The office needed to deliver a space that would help our crewmembers collaborate, and, frankly, unfurl all that creativity, thus we came up with an open floor plan that is nice and modern and light and bright and airy,” said McAlpin.
“We wanted a place that we could come to work and be excited and be proud to be here and be proud to create unique things together. I’m glad to say that I think we’ve accomplished all of that.”
If you’re interested in joining the Virgin Voyages team, McAlpin explains that when the company recruits, they look for three very important characteristics: “people who have a spirit of discovery, people who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo; and people who are committed to delivering an incredible experience for our sailors.”
— Jodi Ornstein