Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Branson goes 20,000 leagues under the sea

necker_nymph_sub.top.jpgBy Blake Ellis, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Virgin unveiled the latest addition to Richard Branson's luxury fleet on Friday: an underwater plane that will fly riders into the depths of the Caribbean Sea.

Guests on Necker Island, a retreat in the British Virgin Islands, will be able to dive underwater in a submarine dubbed the Necker Nymph for $25,000 a week. But that's only after shelling out around $300,000 for a one-week stay on Necker, the private island owned by billionaire and Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson.

Beginning on Feb. 20, two riders and a pilot will be able to take the plunge from land or from a boat. The underwater plane uses the downward pressure on its wings to fly through the water for up to two hours at a time, while an open cockpit will give riders a 360-degree view.

The Necker Nymph's typical speed is 2 to 5 nautical miles per hour and it can dive more than 100 feet, said Karen Hawkes, a spokeswoman for Hawkes Ocean Technologies, the company that designed the Nymph.

A statement released Friday by Virgin Limited Edition, the luxury arm of Virgin Hotels, described the Nymph's launch like a plane's takeoff. "Gliding on the water's surface like an aeroplane on a runway, one of the three pilots will operate the joystick to smoothly dive down."

Vacationers will be able to fly the Necker Nymph while chartering the Necker Belle, Branson's 105-foot yacht, or the submarine can be launched from shore. Necker Belle is rented out to guests for $88,000 a week, bringing the full Necker Island experience to more than $400,000 per week.

Riders must follow SCUBA procedures and be trained or accompanied by a certified pilot before entering the underwater plane. SCUBA tanks are mounted in the submarine and passengers must wear masks while underwater, said Hawkes.

The Necker Nymph claims "near-zero" environmental impact because its "positive buoyancy prevents the sub from landing on a reef, and its low light and noise emissions ensure the fragile ocean ecosystems remain undisturbed," Virgin said. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,824.25 104.33 0.59%
Nasdaq 5,132.97 24.30 0.48%
S&P 500 2,092.14 11.73 0.56%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.04 -1.71%
Data as of 10:40am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.54 0.11 0.63%
General Electric Co 29.99 0.05 0.18%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 8.31 0.13 1.61%
Pfizer Inc 33.08 0.31 0.95%
Ford Motor Co 14.48 0.15 1.05%
Data as of 10:25am ET


Credit Suisse is offering more generous benefits for new parents in the U.S., including paid leave of 20 weeks, as part of a package that it claims is the best on Wall Street. More

Brazil announced that economic growth fell 4.5% in the third quarter, a sign that its recession worsened in the second half of the year. More

The AT&T customers still clinging to their unlimited data plans are going to see a $5 price hike in February. More

Hive, a startup funded by the UN, is tasked with getting more Americans engaged with the refugee crisis. More

Have you heard of Harvey Mudd College? A degree from this small liberal arts school can cost more than a house, but grads earn about $92,300 a year after getting their degree. Google hired 11 Mudders last year. More