Virgin Voyages designing beach club on Bimini

Virgin Voyages will build a beach club in Bimini in partnership with the Resorts World casino there.
Virgin Voyages will build a beach club in Bimini in partnership with the Resorts World casino there.

Virgin Voyages will design a beach club on the Bahamian island of Bimini, and all voyages of its first ship, the Scarlet Lady, will stop there for a daylong pool party, entertainment and beach experience.

The Beach Club will be located "a short transfer" from the pier and will be built in partnership with Resorts World Bimini, a 750-acre casino hotel project that is owned and run by Genting Group. The Beach Club will be designed by Virgin and built by Resorts World.

Virgin Voyages guests will have exclusive use of the Beach Club when the ship is in port. When cruise passengers are not on Bimini, the facilities will be used by Resorts World. 

Virgin Group Head Richard Branson talks cruising at a Virgin Voyages event with Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin, senior vp design Dee Cooper and CCO Nirmal Saverimuttu. Points Guy Brian Kelly, far left, hosted.

Virgin pledges to create a destination to rival the best beach clubs in Ibiza and Saint-Tropez, two high-end, party-centric ports of call in the Mediterranean. It said an expansive lagoon-style pool will anchor the club.

There will be six bars and complimentary, "thoughtfully sourced" food with Bahamian flavors such as conch and mango salad, banana leaf-wrapped queen snapper and Bahamian rum cake. A hammock grove will offer a spot to relax beneath the palms.

Virgin said that while mornings will feature yoga and meditation, "energy at The Beach Club will gradually be amplified as the day progresses and turned back down as the dusk settles in."

A day at the Beach Club will wind down with a bonfire on the beach.
A day at the Beach Club will wind down with a bonfire on the beach.

It said the high point of the day would be late afternoon when a DJ-led pool and flotilla party would be the center of the action. Later in the evening, a beach bonfire and acoustical music will wind down the day.

Virgin said British-born Grammy Award-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson has been named the founding DJ of the Beach Club "resident-Sea" program.

It isn't clear whether Virgin will share its facility with Resorts World, or whether Virgin guests will have special access or privileges at the casino. Genting owns the Star Cruise and Dream World cruise brands in Asia, as well as Crystal Cruises.

Virgin also divulged details about its onboard entertainment, which it calls Events & Gigs. It said it has developed a stable of producers, directors and artists to include in its "Creative Collective."

The collective will feature Jenny Gersten, Randy Weiner, Sam Pinkleton, Ani Taj, PigPen Theatre Co., The 7 Fingers, Roslyn Hart and Alfredo Guenzani and the Spark Cooperative.

Virgin said it would forgo a traditional cruise director in favor of a "dynamic group of individuals dedicated to making "happenings" around the ship completely epic. 

Shows will range from modern takes on classic stories, to interactive dance parties and "off-the wall participatory acts," Virgin said, promising "experiences that will break down the fourth wall and push the boundaries of traditional stage performances." 

The Beach Club will feature a DJ-led pool party.
The Beach Club will feature a DJ-led pool party.

It said many entertainments will be staged in the Red Room, described as "the first transformational multiform theater at sea." The room will be capable of four configurations -- a traditional Proscenium stage, an alley stage used for fashion shows, a dance flat-floor configuration and a "reverse stage setup." Virgin said part of the idea was to create completely different experiences for each day of the cruise.

Six original shows have been developed. A show by Randy Weiner, producer of "Queen of the Night," "The Donkey Show" and "Sleep No More," will be announced shortly.

Virgin said Sam Pinkleton & Ani Taj have created "a hype music video disguised as an absurdist style dance party," called UNTITLED DANCESHOWPARTYTHING.

PigPen Theater Co. is responsible for Phantom Folktales, "a collection of song-driven micro-plays throughout the ship, that seemingly appear out of thin air, and disappear just as quickly."

Alternative circus company The 7 Fingers collaborated in the development of "Ships in the Night," which tells its story through the use of cutting-edge digital projection "interwoven with the authenticity of the human condition," and "Duel Reality," a take on Romeo and Juliet with a modern twist featuring acrobatic storytelling.

Guests will be invited to participate in "Never Sleep Alone," described as a show featuring "the hysterically funny, straight-talking relationship therapist Dr. Alex Shiller," created by producers Roslyn Hart and Alfredo Guenzani.

Virgin Voyages picked Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, to fully open for bookings. It used the occasion to announce the first voyage that will include its founder, Richard Branson, who will host a four-day cruise to Havana to mark his birthday. The cruise departs July 15, 2020. Branson turns 70 three days later.


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