UK. Global cruise retailer Harding revealed details of its innovative offering and design aboard Virgin Voyages Scarlet lady as she made her maiden voyage from Portsmouth today (August 6).
Harding said the on-board experience in 550mÂ² of space marks a “radical change” in its approach to cruise retail. The company said it used its market knowledge to target a new cruise customer “who is fair and relevant to the Virgin Voyages brand”.
Harding worked alongside Virgin Voyages for four years to deliver a range of âadult by designâ retail spaces. Harding said the spaces were unlike any of the branded solutions he had created before. These target an inquisitive and “crazy” experience-driven demographic, the result of customer surveys, focus groups, brand roadshows and partnership discussions, said Harding.
The duty free offer includes over 50 leading brands including Vivienne Westwood, Davines, Kat Maconie and MAC Cosmetics. Harding also exclusively unveils the Chanel Les Eaux on board collection. Another highlight is a striking pop-up store from luxury brand Bvlgari, with collections such as B.Zero1, Bvlgari Bvlgari, Serpenti, Divas’ Dream and Octo.
The focus on sustainability was also key, said the partners, who piloted the creation of a âgreenâ retail experience. Harding and Virgin Voyages are committed to reducing single-use paper and plastic throughout the onboard supply and distribution chain, including bags. Only if a customer needs a bag will they receive one, and in those cases Turtle bags or paper bags will be made available. Reusable buyers are also available from Apolis Certified B Corp, producing their bags providing a fair wage to workers in Bangladesh.
Innovative materials, textures and colors combine to create theatrical and modern retail spaces, noted Harding. These include an onboard vinyl store and a karaoke studio. An exclusive limited edition red vinyl from The Sex Pistols LP is available at launch, with only 1,000 copies available and 30% of sales going to Ocean Unite.
Ocean Unite strives to unify and amplify key messages on the ocean and engage decision makers through its network. The organization aims to protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030 through a support network for marine areas and building ocean resilience.
Harding Managing Director James Prescott commented, âWith operations in the US, UK and Europe, working with Virgin Voyages for the past four years and during the COVID hiatus on a trip so important for our two brands – and cruise retail as a whole – has been an incredible experience.
âBuilding on Harding’s global presence, we look forward to working closely with the Virgin Voyages team as we embark on Scarlet Lady’s maiden voyage and seek to deliver more innovative retail experiences. . We also look forward to the launch of Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady in the near future, where we are hosting other improvements relevant to sailors.
Sally Barford, Senior Director of Hotel Partnership Management at Virgin Voyages, added: âHarding has been a fantastic partner and has really helped us push the boundaries of the cruise ship retail offering. We challenged the team to help us curate a collection of bold and refreshing brands that offer our sailors the flexibility and diversity of the high street at sea. â
Commenting on the new Bvlgari pop-up concept, Barford added: âVirgin Voyages was built on the notion of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary and that extends to all touchpoints of the sailor experience, including our on-board retail offerings. Bvlgari is an iconic brand whose glamor and elegance blend perfectly with the unmistakable allure of Scarlet Lady, providing sailors with a premium retail experience while exploring the world.