Virgin Voyages launches new booking platform for travel advisors

We asked Virgin Voyages if they would ever launch a cruise line for families

TORONTO — Kids are calling “bull$#!t” on Virgin Voyages’ latest video campaign, which is exactly what the cruise line set out to do.

Inspired by founder Sir Richard Branson’s grandchildren, the minute-long video is an 80s-style power ballad sung by the very people Virgin Voyages won’t let onboard its cruise ships – kids. Poking fun at its own no-kids-allowed policy, the adults-only cruise line has been making waves within the cruise industry, which is largely known for being family friendly, since its U.S. debut in October 2021. And now, with its third ship, Resilient Lady, set to launch in August following the recent debut of second ship Valiant Lady this past March, Virgin Voyages is leaning even harder into its fun and sexy persona that has already helped make it a household name.

But what about families? Is there any hope on the horizon that children will one day be welcomed onboard?

We asked Justin Terry, Virgin Voyages’ Senior Director of Growth and Brand Marketing, whether Virgin Voyages would ever consider launching a cruise line exclusively for families, similar to its current line for adults. “Never say never,” he tells Travelweek, leaving the door open for any possible scenario. But Terry is also quick to remind us that the company has successfully carved out a niche in the cruising industry, and that it intends to remain in the adults-only segment.

“Our CEO, Tom McAlpin, actually came from Disney Cruises and you can often see the parallels we’ve created for the adults-only segment and how Disney offers a similar and fantastic experience for families,” he says.

Terry fully acknowledges that the adults-only market is certainly more niche in the cruising world than the family cruise market, but that’s no cause for concern for the company. In fact, Virgin Voyages is banking on the fact that it’s different from all other major cruise lines.

“We are confident in our ability to deliver an incredible, exclusively adult experience,” he says. “We sought out to create a differentiated product, and our culinary offerings, cocktail programs, onboard amenities and even our entertainment cater to an adult audience. Sailors seem to be loving that aspect of sailing with Virgin.”

With international travel now on the rebound, and the U.S. cruise industry well on its way to recovery since resuming cruises last summer, Terry believes that the appeal of an adults-only vacation is even greater now, post-pandemic.

“We’re one of the only major ocean cruise lines to offer adults-only experiences, so I think the appeal of that has gained a lot of traction with both new and experienced cruisers. Parents who were used to sending their kids to school found themselves home with their little ones all day. As much as parents adore their children, it’s healthy to have some time spent with only adults,” says Terry.

And once onboard, these parents-sans-kids can expect a truly unique experience complete with exclusive access to the line’s Beach Club at Bimini, Rock Star Suites, resident DJs, a karaoke lounge, a record shop, an arcade and much more.

“There’s a reason the brand is called Virgin Voyages – we offer more than just a cruise,” says Terry. “We hope our Sailors walk away having the best vacation of their lives and we realize that’s a tall task. We’ve worked to curate an epic onboard experience, set against some of the world’s most incredible backdrops, and I think we’re succeeding.”

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