Virgin Voyages looking seeks new market with all-inclusive offerings

Virgin Voyages says it had plenty of potential customers when it launched.

Sean Russo, the company’s Canadian sales manager, told a Baxter Media webcast that some 95 per cent of the world’s population for a multitude of reasons haven’t gone on a cruise.
“Our challenge was to (create)… an experience that caters to people who don’t like what currently exists out there,” he said. “We’ve been quite successful thus far.”
The Richard Branson enterprise has three vessels now and a fourth is in the works, and welcomes passengers who are 18 or more, with Russo saying its sailings are for the “young of heart….for everyone who really enjoys life.” He said Virgin Voyages sailings create a setting “where adults can be adults.”

Seeking a target market

Virgin Voyages is seeking new clients, with a target market being people who have traditionally enjoyed staying in all-inclusive resorts and like to be pampered, and appreciate their offspring “but don’t want to hang out with children” while on vacation, he continued. Russo said Virgin Voyages passengers won’t encounter dress codes.
“That doesn’t mean people don’t dress up,” he continued. “People dress up because they want to, not because they’re told. No one’s going to be turned away from the main specialty restaurants because they’re wearing shorts. People can be their own authentic self.” Enabling people to be their “authentic self” breaks down possible barriers to communication between passengers, Russo added.

A more economical way to cruise

Virgin Voyages fares include many items, including tips, “standard ” WiFi, entertainment and “essential beverages,” with Russo reporting that passengers won’t receive bills at the end of their cruises.
Russo said some clients might find the fares more expensive initially than those offered by some other cruise lines but “we’re actually going to be more economical in the long run.”
Virgin Voyages vessels have what Russo described as te same “fundamental layout” and carry around 2,770 passengers.
Passengers won’t find buffets. “We’re really about that fresh, made-to-order experience.” Energetic passengers are invited to use the likes of a jogging track and a boxing ring. There are shore excursions that can accommodate people with disabilities and
Russo said some excursions “may have as few as six people and cap out at 20.”
Night owls are welcome to use the two-level The Manor nightclub. Meanwhile, Charles Sylvia of CLIA told the same webcast that their travel agents receive a number of benefits when they join CLIA, among them credibility when it comes to cruise industry knowledge.
“When you are an approved CLIA member, you are a credible seller of cruise travel in the United States and Canada,” he said. “That goes a long way.” Members will be provided with credentials, he added.