Cruise deal alert: Virgin Voyages just unveiled its ‘most inclusive offer’ ever

It’s deal time at Virgin Voyages, the startup cruise line backed by Sir Richard Branson.

The one-year-old brand is out with what it’s calling its most inclusive offer ever, a limited-time promotion that brings discounted fares, as well as enormous drinks credits — $600 per cabin for some sailings.

Under the terms of the offer, which will be available Tuesday through Jan. 31, 2023, anyone who books a voyage for one person will be able to bring a second person in the same cabin for 60% off the regular fare.

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In addition, they’ll get a complimentary bar tab of $600 per cabin for voyages of seven nights or longer. For voyages lasting fewer than seven nights, the bar tab will be $300.

“It’s the most inclusive offer that you’ll see from us all year,” Virgin Voyages chief growth officer Isis Ruiz told TPG in an exclusive interview in advance of the announcement. “This is the best of the best.”

Virgin Voyages already includes a lot in its base fares, from unlimited Wi-Fi access to crew gratuities.

In addition, all meals on Virgin ships are included in the fare. There are no extra charges for onboard restaurants. However, drinks are one thing for which passengers on Virgin ships normally pay extra.

Related: I’ve been on more than 150 cruise ships; here’s what I thought of Virgin’s first vessel

By adding the massive drinks credits, the line is making sailings booked during the promotion almost completely all-inclusive. Only a few onboard services, such as spa treatments, will still cost extra.

The offer is available for sailings over the next year on both of the two Virgin vessels currently in operation (Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady), as well as two more vessels that are due to start up service in the coming year.

The line’s third ship, Resilient Lady, begins service in May 2023. Its fourth vessel, Brilliant Lady, is due in December 2023.

Specifically, eligible sailings include:

  • Scarlet Lady: Voyages departing through Dec. 27, 2023.
  • Valiant Lady: Voyages departing through Dec. 30, 2023.
  • Resilient Lady: Voyages departing between May 14, 2023, and March 15, 2024.
  • Brilliant Lady: Departures on Dec. 24, 2023, and Dec. 30, 2023.

In addition to being Virgin’s most inclusive offer of the year, the promotion is designed to be the line’s main offer for Wave Season — the heavy cruise booking period that typically begins in January.

Related: A guide to Virgin’s new loyalty perks

Cruise lines often roll out their best offers of the year during Wave Season.

Ruiz said the line added the bar tab for free drinks into the promotion in response to customer demand. It’s the thing she says Virgin passengers — the line calls them “sailors” — most want to see added for free as part of a promotion.

“The peak kind of feedback that we get is … we’d love to have some drinks included,” she said. “We get overwhelmingly positive feedback from our sailors that that’s where value is for them.”

A wellness focus for early 2023

In addition to launching the promotion on Tuesday, Virgin Voyages announced that sailings of its ships during January, February and March would have a special wellness focus.

The line said every sailing during the period would have a line-up of restorative and zen-inducing events such as sound bath meditations and healthy happy hours.

The new offerings also will include restorative and curated spa treatments and zen-inducing activations.

Ruiz said the line is tapping into the desire for wellness that often comes at the start of a new year.

An adult-focused cruise experience

Launched in 2021, Virgin Voyages was designed to shake up the cruise industry with a new, hipper style of cruising.

Its two ships currently in operation, which are similar in design, offer everything from a tattoo parlor to a colorful karaoke lounge. To ensure a proper party vibe, they’re also kid-free travel zones, with a minimum age to sail of 18.

In short, Virgin is going after travelers who might think themselves too cool to cruise. To that end, the line’s vessels have no buffets, no dress codes and no big Broadway-style theater shows.

For entertainment, expect interactive dance parties, DJ sets and “micro plays,” plus late-night games of dodgeball. Suites have a rock-star theme.

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