It’s being launched with all the hullabaloo you’d expect from the Virgin brand and global entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.
It’s the cruise for non cruisers. The line that will change the game for ever.
What do we know so far? The Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages first ship, has a tattoo parlour, ‘sailors’ instead of guests, ‘Events & Gigs’ rather than glitzy Broadway shows.
But a ticket on the Scarlet Lady doesn’t come cheap.
Starting at around US$3,560 which equates to around $5,000 Australian dollars for a five-night cruise that includes calls to Havana, she is more than double the price of a seven-night Caribbean cruise aboard the Celebrity Edge and just $1,000 cheaper than a seven-night Cuba cruise aboard Regent Seven Seas.
“We don’t think about the other cruise operators when we do our pricing,” said Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin at a press event in New York City to launch the brand. “We try to create something that is much more inclusive. Everything we do is about being different.”
You’d think though, for that price, you would be having one hell of a trip. And that’s what Virgin Voyages has promised. WiFi for example, is included in the fare, there will be no cover charge for the ship’s 20 restaurants, gratuities are not required and activities and fitness classes will be complimentary. Alcohol and shore excursions still come at an extra cost.
“I never want to go into a business unless we are going to radically alter it and radically create something that everybody who works for Virgin and everybody who come into contact with Virgin is going to feel really proud of,” Sir Branson said in an interview with Business Insider.
“I’ve never been on a cruise ship – I’ve never fancied a cruise ship. Basically, we want people who are sophisticated and young at heart, people who want to have a good time.”
The line also recently revealed new details around its ‘Events & Gigs’. The Scarlet Lady will offer six original shows that include “interactive dance parties and off-the-wall participatory acts.”
While there will be no cruise director, Virgin Voyages will have a range of entertainment pros that include choreographers, producers as well as theatre and circus companies.
“This is a premium experience, it will be a premium price,” McAlpin said. “But we want our sailors to come away thinking that they got an incredible value.”
So would you be willing the try Virgin Voyages for a $5,000 price tag? Cruise Passenger compares a Virgin Voyages trip with what you can get on several other lines.
Havana After Dark 5-night cruise
Departing: April 19-24, 2020
Miami – The Beach Club – At Sea – Havana, Cuba – Havana, Cuba
Limited View Sea Terrace
Includes: Basic Bevvies, Group workouts, No dining cover charges, Unlimited WiFi, Tips
Sailor 1: US$1,975
Sailor 2: US$1,975
Taxes & Fees: US$350
Total: US$4,300 (approx. AU$6,000) twin share
Eastern Caribbean 7-night cruise
Departing: April 7-14, 2019
Fort Lauderdale – At Sea – San Juan, Puerto Rico – Tortola, British Virgin Islands – At Sea – At Sea – Fort Lauderdale
Ocean View stateroom
Includes: 4-perks package, $150 onboard credit for 2, Unlimited High-Speed Internet for 2, Premium Beverage Package for 2, Additional $150 per person to spend onboard
First guest: $3,455
Second guest: $3,455
Taxes & Fees: $287.68
Total: $6,997.68 twin share
Disney Cruise Line
5-Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Miami
Departing: April 9-14, 2020
Miami – At Sea – Cozumel, Mexico – Disney Castaway Cay – At Sea
Includes: Accommodation, Entertainment, Meet and greet with Disney characters, Dining
Adult 1: US$1,150
Adult 2: US$1,150
Taxes & Fees: $233
Total: US$2533.08 (approx. AU$3,565.22) twin share
7-Day Miami to Miami
Miami, Florida, United States – Havana, Cuba – Sea Day – Cienfuegos, Cuba – Cienfuegos, Cuba – Santiago de Cuba, Cuba – Sea Day – Miami, Florida, United States
Includes: Free – 4 shore excursions, Free – Beverage Package, Free – US$400, shipboard credit
Adult 1: $2,880
Adult 2: $2,880
Total: $5,760 twin share
Ford Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale 7-Days
Departing: March 16-23, 2020
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States – La Habana, Cuba – La Habana, Cuba – Sea Day – Santiago De Cuba, Cuba – Sea Day – Bimini, Bahamas – Fort Lauderdale
Includes: All-inclusive cruise i.e. shore excursions, speciality dining, mini bar stocked with your preferences, butler service
Guest 1: $3,960
Guest 2: $3,960
Total: $7,920 twin share