by Irene S. Levine
Jul 11, 2018,
A growing number of cruise lines—operating riverboats and ocean-going vessels—are redefining their onboard amenities, culinary programs and shore excursions to appeal to the growing number of “active” midlife travelers. They’re crafting menus with healthy options, bringing fitness activities and experts onboard, and designing new excursions and itineraries.
Recognizing this trend in the marketplace, Blue World Voyages—a new five-star luxury cruise line set to launch in May 2019—will be creating a specialty product for these cruisers, every aspect of which is designed to appeal to those interested in health, fitness and wellness.
“Currently, there are no ships in the global cruise fleet that cater exclusively to this market, “ says John Richards, CEO of Blue World Voyages. “We are seizing this opportunity to be the first to address this need. Cruisers will be able to sail with 100% like-minded passengers,” he adds.
Blue World promises sports lovers, fitness buffs and other health-conscious travelers opportunities to maintain and build upon their wellness routines while on vacation; it also hopes to provide transformative experiences for those who want to use their time onboard to improve their lifestyle.
The background of Blue World’s development and management team reflects a mix of experience in cruising, hospitality, and wellness. It includes Richards (a former President of Starbucks N.A.), Founder and Chairman Gene Meehan, Co-Founder Fredy Dellis (former President & CEO of The World at ResidenSea), and VP of Wellness Diane Trieste.
Forbes.com spoke with CEO Richards to learn about Blue World Voyage’s future plans:
Describe the ship briefly. Is it a new build?
The first Blue World Voyages ship will be a beautifully repurposed, completely refurbished vessel, designed and styled by top marine design architects and interior designers in the industry, Tillberg Design of Sweden and Juan Poggi Designs.
We chose to repurpose an existing vessel rather than initiate a new build for two reasons: First, by downsizing a larger ship from 900 to 350 passengers, we can double the size of most cabins resulting in an all-suite ship. Plus, the larger vessel provides more space for spa and sports amenities. Secondly, the difference in cost (between this and a new build) allows for a lower break-even point giving us more flexibility in pricing ourselves competitively.
What special wellness amenities are planned?
Wellness amenities are embedded in our ship design. We will have the highest spa to passenger ratio in the cruise industry plus the largest sports deck at sea, including a unique floating sea water lap pool.
Rendering of Sea Water PoolBlue World Voyages
The bow-to-stern Sports Deck will be outfitted with hi-def golf and soccer simulators; batting cages; a functional training center; yoga, spinning and TRX studios; a swimmers’ treadmill—and more. The Spa Deck, also occupying an entire deck, will include a relaxing therapy tub, spa pool, indoor and outdoor treatment rooms, and a solarium. For an extraordinary sybaritic experience, 12 private Bali beds will allow guests to sleep under the stars and wake up to a butler-served breakfast.
What types of itineraries and shore excursions will be offered?
For the first season (2019), our cruises will be 7-day voyages starting at a cost of about $3500 per person. Our itineraries will flow from a singular focus on “Active Lifestyle Cruising,” with local destinations evaluated and selected based on appropriateness for activities such as cycling, hiking, running, golf and watersports (snorkeling, kayaking, and kite-surfing), as well as locations ideal for activities such as yoga and meditation.
Because it’s a smaller vessel, Blue World Voyages will have the flexibility to enter remote harbors and visit less frequented, off-the-beaten-path destinations not accessible to larger vessels. With only 176 cabins, the ship size ensures that we will leave a smaller footprint, with less impact on fragile environments.
What about the cuisine?
Dining is an important part of the overall cruise experience. We will keep it delicious and exceptional while maintaining the focus on good health. In each port, our chefs will seek out the best local fresh ingredients for farm-to-table and sea-to-table menu choices. Our executive chef, who will oversee menu preparation, trained and worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the U.S., including Chez Panisse, Charlie Trotter’s, and Tra Vigne.
Can you briefly explain Blue World’s ownership model?
As interest in cruise travel surges, sophisticated travelers are looking to own a home at sea as well as on land. Of the 176 staterooms, 26 are designated for private ownership as Owner Suites; the balance (150 suites) will be for other guests. By offering Owner Suites, Blue World Voyages provides an option for active, athletic and health-focused travelers to own (and relax in) their own space at sea while traveling the world with other like-minded individuals.
Rendering of Owner’s SuiteBlue World Voyages
These one- and two-bedroom residences will be marketed and sold through our own sales organization and by well-known international real estate companies. Owners will acquire a 25-year right of use (residency rights) giving them the right to rent (through Blue World) sell, donate or pass on to their estate. Owners Suites are set to sell for $2.25M (one-bedroom) and $3.25M (two-bedroom) plus annual maintenance fees (amounts not yet finalized).
“We’ll be a luxury ship with a relaxed, low-key casual ambiance,” Richards adds.
It is anticipated that the line will begin taking reservations for future cruises in November 2018.