Virgin Voyages CEO discusses future of cruises after COVID

Tom McAlpin, president and CEO of the new cruise line from Virgin, hopes to begin to set sail in July with fully-vaccinated passengers and crew, depending on CDC guidance.
4:57 | 03/16/21

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Transcript for Virgin Voyages CEO discusses future of cruises after COVID
All right, gio, joining us now is Tom Mcalpin, the president and CEO of virgin voyages, the new cruise line from virgin. Thank you so much for taking time to be with us. Tom, I understand that you have an announcement you would like to make concerning when you are about to set sail again. What is that, sir? Well, thank you, robin. Thanks for having me. Great to be here. We're really excited to launch again and finally launch. We're waiting for the final word from CDC and that green light. But, you know, safety and security is our number one priority and always has been our number one priority and we've heard from the president, we've heard him talk about the acceleration of vaccines out there where by may all adults could be vaccinated so we think that's an important criteria to create a safe environment on our ships, so we're going to be requiring all of our sailors and all of our crew to have -- to be vaccinated before they get on board the ship and think that's the right thing to do to create that safe environment. In addition to the vaccinations, what are safety protocols are you going to put in place? Well, you know, we've had the last year to really think about this. We've been collaborating with our partners in the industry, we've been talking with CDC, a plethora of things we're going the fundamentals are it starts with cleaning protocols but I would call those table stakes, the basics we will do. At virgin voyage we invested in new technology. It's called atmos-air, air purification system and uses bipolar ionization to proactively go out and kill all of the bacteria and all of the viruses that are in the air. It's the same type of system used in hospitals. And we will use technology on board our ships in a way to create these contactless interactions with our crew. Not only providing a better experience but providing a safer experience. And then, of course, CDC will be requiring us to do testing. We have the capability of testing all our passengers before they get on board the ship and test while on board if they have any symptoms and we'll test folks as they leave. That's probably a staged approach, a phased approach, if you will, and hopefully will go away with time and last but not least, the creme de la creme is requiring the vaccine a. Again they'll be available to all adults. We're an adult only cruise it fits for us, it makes sense, safety and security is important so we think the combination of all these factors creates the safest possible way to travel. Right and the vaccinations could be a game changer but do you have any plans in place in case there is an outbreak on board? Well, of course, we do. We thought about this. We've gone through great lengths to prepare for this. We have two doctors, we have three nurses on board. We have all the equipment to take care of our guests but it's kind of like going through a lifeboat drill. You prepare for that but, you know, the likely event of something happen something very remote. Think about it. We're only accepting folks on board that are vaccinated. We're testing everybody before they get on board so the likelihood of having an outbreak is very remote. I don't have to tell you how difficult the travel industry -- how difficult it was for the travel industry. Do you believe that you, virgin, could be a model for other cruise lines? Well, I'll tell you we haven't done this alone. We've been working closely with the rest of the industry, proud of what the industry has done. You know, when it comes to safety and security and environmental issues, the industry gets together and solves these problems because it's in our best interest. You know, there's great pent-up demand. Americans love to cruise. It enjoys high satisfaction rates so we're excited about the future of cruising. Frankly, we're, you know, a little bit jealous of the other industries, the theme parks, airlines, hotels, restaurants opened up and I think with these protocols we've put in place with the industry creates a safe environment where people can feel comfortable getting on board a ship again. We heard in gio's piece you've got a loyal core group of cruisegoers and I know they're excited about the prospect. Tom, thank you very much. Appreciate you sharing that with us. Great to be here. You know, we hope to maybe have you on sometime and tell you about the fantastic virgin voyage experience and what it's like to set sail the virgin way. I appreciate that very much. Thank you. Thank you so much, Tom. Take care. I just got -- I've never -- Ready to cruise? I have not been on a cruise ship like that before so who knows. Who knows. Especially with the protocols in place. Glad to know they're coming? There are people that they are loyal -- Every year. Have you been. No, never. Have you? Huh-uh. We'll all go together. We can go on virgin -- The crew. The list to go. The control room.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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