Virgin Voyages unveils ‘most inclusive wave offer ever’

Virgin Voyages has unveiled its “most inclusive offer” ever following agent feedback ahead of 2023 wave season.

The line is offering a “buy one, get 60% off” the second passenger deal and up to $600 worth of drinks included in the fare depending on the voyage length during the peak cruise sales period.

Speaking during a Travel Weekly webcast, the line’s vice-president of sales, Shane Lewis-Riley, said: “We’re going to be starting the year with a bang, we’re going to be launching our most inclusive offer ever.

More: Virgin Voyages signs up 15,000 UK travel agents

“We know the cost of living is challenging for everybody. Now people can come and plan their holiday budget.

“Any sailing up to six nights will be $300 of included drinks and anything lasting seven nights or more will be $600.”

Lewis-Riley confirmed the second passenger deal ends on January 31 and the drinks offer would continue to the “end of March”.

He said the agent feedback had been “phenomenal”, adding: “It just shows we’re listening. We’re listening to what the UK audience really needs.

“Our UK First Mates (agents) told us having the inclusive proposition was important and this is on top of all the other things that we have included as standard. Over 20 eateries are included.”

Lewis-Riley explained how the UK team had built up “some really strong momentum”, adding the line had surpassed its previous best booking month in October, November and December 2022.

“We had our best month in August 2022, which we were really pleased about,” he said. “We’ve actually already beaten that.

“Our sales are 50% up for October, November and December. We’re so excited about the results we’re seeing.”

He added that around half of bookings were coming from passengers who were rebooking while on board either of the line’s two ships.

Asked which sailings were popular with UK passengers, Lewis-Riley said voyages in the Mediterranean were “number one without a doubt” before pointing out Valiant Lady and yet-to-launch Resilient Lady would be based in Europe next year.

He added Greek island sailings were selling “really well”. “People are coming back to the same itinerary because they want to do something slightly different in the ports that they went to before,” he said.

“We’re definitely seeing a trend of people booking back-to-back voyages. If they do that [next month], then they could get $1,200 worth of drinks because they get drinks included per voyage.”

Lewis-Riley revealed there were now 16 people within the UK sales team. “We’ve got some very strategic roles in the team,” he explained. “Some of those roles are focused on our red-hot accounts head office relationships. They are our biggest accounts.

“If you’re a red hot account you’ll know it because you’ll have a dedicated account manager on our side. We also have a team on the road.

“Often a lot of brands pull back on that, but we’ve invested in that. We want people to be out on the road, visiting stores, arranging time with homeworkers and meeting them in coffee shops.”

Lewis-Riley confirmed the line now had a dedicated marketing person in the UK team.

More: Virgin Voyages plots growth following $550m in new funding

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