Let’s pray for calm seas.  

By Marisa Spyker
October 25, 2018
Courtesy of Virgin Voyages

If you’ve been on a few cruises, you’ve likely amassed your share of cruise ship souvenirs, from the miniature ship replica to the cardboard-framed family photo snapped at the entrance to Nassau.  

But whatever mementos you’ve collected along the way, none of them are more permanent than this one. Virgin Voyages, Richard Branson’s anticipated first foray into cruising, recently announced that when their inaugural ship sets sail in 2020, it’ll offer passengers the unique opportunity to get inked aboard the world’s first cruise ship tattoo parlor.

“Tattooing is a time-honored seafaring tradition, and we’re continuing that legacy with rock and roll style by bringing some of the best ink artists to sea,” said Tom McAlpin, president and CEO for Virgin Voyages in a press release. “Our sailors are looking to make lifelong memories, and we think there’s no better way to commemorate their first voyage with us than with a souvenir they’ll never lose track of.”

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If you’ve been contemplating a tattoo for a while, getting inked at sea is especially fitting, as the expansion of the art form is often credited to sailors who picked up the concept from aboriginal tribes in the South Pacific.

The on-board tattoo studio, adorably named Squid Ink, will be operated in partnership with tattoo industry legend Lou Rubino, Jr., the visionary behind World Famous Tattoo Ink and Freshly Inked magazine. The studio will employ two full-time tattoo artists hand-picked by Rubino throughout the cruise, with occasional guest appearances from the most sought-after celebrity ink artists.  

While cruise passengers can come prepared with ideas of their own, those who opt for the service spur-of-the-moment can also choose from specially designed voyage tattoos to commemorate their seafaring vacation.

Pro tip? If you’ve consumed enough poolside Mai Tais to enthusiastically enter the afternoon belly flop contest, probably best to save that commemorative tattoo until morning.