Website teases Virgin Voyages' style as sales launch nears

Check out—with the volume up Check out—with the volume up

For a taste of what the Virgin Voyages experience promises (hint: one big party of lively, attractive people in fun surroundings), the line's website is fully built out ahead of bookings opening on Valentine's Day.

Talk about eye candy.

Sultry hunks, fabulous soundtrack

Champagne bottle service by a shirtless, tattooed beefcake on deck? Check. Kissing at sunset, dancing, confetti? Check. Buffed types boxing and roller blading, sultry hunks in water floats, a mermaid? Fabulous soundtrack throughout? Check, check and check.

And has clicking on the 'cabins' tab of any cruise line website ever produced anything like this? Or 'destinations?'

Scarlet Lady's deck plans are basic and clean, with a bunch of 'to be revealed' spots on Decks 6 and 7.

'Cheeky and fun'

The website—'a fantastic team effort' led by Virgin's marketing group with some outside developers—is 'pretty cheeky and fun. It's geared for a different cruiser,' Virgin Voyages president and CEO Tom McAlpin told Seatrade Cruise News.

Since Virgin expects many of its customers to be new to cruising, the site had to be very simple and intuitive to use.

Sales open Feb. 14

And, as far as the booking engine goes, 'We took a much simpler approach,' McAlpin said. That won't be possible to tell until Feb. 14, when bookings open to the public. (Priority sales opened recently to those who put down a $500 deposit in late 2017.)

The five-night 'Havana After Dark' itinerary is priced starting at $2,400, or a four-night version from $1,450; 'Dominican Daze,' five nights, starts at $1,600; and 'Mayan Sol,' also five nights, from $1,550. The top-of-the line Mega RockStar Suites start at $6,900. Taxes and fees are extra.

Sailor services team

One of those priority sales 'sailors' is Lin Humphrey of Miami, a cruise aficionado and Virgin fan. As per instructions, he dialed in to Virgin Voyages' 'sailor services team' (reservations) in the line's Plantation, Florida, headquarters, to book a five-night Cuba cruise in a Sea Terrace cabin.

'It’s been a long time since I called a reservations department, but there was tangible excitement when I got ahold of sailor services,' Humphrey said. 'When the agent had a question, Tom McAlpin was actually on the floor and helped with my booking.'

The first group of about 36 agents completed their five-week training, graduated on Monday and began working with the pre-sales clients on Tuesday. A second class has already started training.

The entire call was 'on brand,' starting with the sailor services' 'Ahoy!' greeting, Humphrey said. 'From the welcome recording to the follow-up emails, it was clear that wasn’t just marketing language. And there was clear enthusiasm behind it on the phone,' he said.

'My excitement level is high'

Humphrey added that the new website does a nice job of explaining the value received with Virgin's premium pricing—including tips, Wi-Fi and basic drinks—'so my excitement level is high.'

Scarlet Lady will be floated out at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente on Saturday.

Posted 08 February 2019

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review