Virgin Voyages

Sir Richard Branson has decided to enter the cruise business. As with other businesses he’s started, he intends to disrupt the industry.
I can’t comment on the ship, since the Scarlet Lady isn’t sailing yet, but I can comment, based on their marketing materials on the website.
When the brand was announced, I signed up for more information, and I was added to the list for early access.
The major selling point first was “All adults.” You must be 21 or over to cruise. This really means “No kids”, which implies “No families.”
This was almost a selling point for me, until last Christmas, when we sailed with our niece and nephew and their kids. You know what? Traveling with kids does not always suck. The kids introduced us to parts of the ship we had never visited before. I was happy we got to help introduce them to cruising.
The more I read their marketing, the more I realized that “Adults Only” probably means “Millennials.”
I’ve been on 19 cruises, and I like being a passenger.
Virgin doesn’t have “passengers”, they have “sailors.” I don’t want to be a sailor, sailors work on the ship. I would just like to ride along.
Virgin doesn’t have “cruises”, they have “voyages.” Call me negative, but when I hear “Voyage”, my brain finishes it with “of the Damned.” Voyages are long trips.
That’s another negative point – their Voyages are short, 4 or 5 days only. Also, the itineraries are boring to me.
I’m not interested in a five-day cruise. I want a week, minimum.
Virgin Voyages prices by the cabin (or by the person.) This is great for a crowd of unmarried friends who will cram into a cabin to save money. I travel with my wife, and the cabin price is twice the single price. So, no savings.
They have free WiFi (if I wasn’t working, I would like to not be connected onboard), all the restaurants are included, many non-alcoholic drinks are included.
I think even adding the costs of included items onto a traditional cruise price still won’t save me money.
So, I think Virgin Voyages is not designed for me. So, if disrupting an industry is designing a cruise line for people who aren’t cruising today, they’re disruptive.
I would remind Sir Richard this was tried in the river cruise space a few years ago. River cruises without old farts! You can’t cruise with us if you’re over 40! It failed.
I’m waiting to see how many “adults” will pay more for a five-day cruise than a seven-day, just to be a sailor on a voyage with an overpacked room to get the costs down. I don’t know if the Virgin brand is worth the upcharge.
(Another interesting thought – how will Virgin Voyages handle lifeboat capacity? We’ve been told the lifeboats have a fixed number of “souls” they hold, and if there’s a cruise with a lot of families – which means more than double-occupancy – some rooms won’t be sold, because the lifeboats are at capacity.)
I think I’ll just stay a passenger on a cruise.

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