Virgin Voyages wanted to reconsider every facet of cruising when it launched Scarlet Lady, its take on a cruise ship. In fact, the company has gone out of its way to be different from rivals like Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) - Get Free Report, Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) - Get Free Report, and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) - Get Free Report.
Some of those are a little gimmicky. The company calls its passengers "sailors," uses the term "voyaging" rather than "cruising," and calls its ships "super-yachts." In other areas, though, Virgin Voyages offers a very different experience than its rivals and in many ways, that's an elevated experience.
First, the cruise line does not allow any passengers under the age of 18 and that automatically changes the vibe on its ships. In addition, the company has no main dining room and no buffet. Essentially, all the sit-down, waiter-served restaurants onboard are the equivalent of specialty dining on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, or Carnival ships but they do not cost extra.
In fact, aside from alcohol, spa treatments, and certain high-end coffee drinks, Virgin's ships are basically all-inclusive. And, while there's no buffet, there's a food court that offers everything from a diner menu to tacos, ramen, and a fresh take on popsicles.
Virgin Voyages wants to be very different than its rivals and it's throwing out some major enticement to get loyal passengers from other cruise lines to sample its ships.
Virgin Offers a Generous Loyalty Match
Loyalty status matches are never exactly one-for-one because every cruise line has a different program. Royal Caribbean, for example, gives Diamond members access to a special lounge on each ship and offers them four free drink vouchers each day.
MSC, another cruise line trying to make a mark in the U.S. will match that status, but it does not offer lounge access or free drinks. The match does get you invited to some special onboard events and lets you access special lines in certain areas, but it's most certainly not the same.
Virgin Voyages, being new, has a very different take on loyalty, but it's willing to treat high-level members of its rivals services as if they were regular Virgin "sailors."
"If you're enrolled in other select rewards programs, come aboard our lady ships and we'll match (and give you more) than your current one -- automatically earning you Sea-Rover status and Deep Blue Extras on your first voyage," the company shared on its web page.
What Is Virgin Voyages Sea-Rover Status?
Virgin Voyages awards "Sea-Rover" status to anyone who has sailed twice with the cruise line between January 2021 and March 31, 2023. It might be a silly name, but it actually includes some generous perks.
- $100 Bar Tab bonus
- Expedited boarding
- Premium WiFi (where applicable)
- Dedicated Sailor Services Support on board
- Exclusive cocktail event
- Laundry service
- $10 daily coffee credit
In addition, Sea-Rovers get a additional added $100 bar tab bonus for every $300 they buy.
The fledgling cruise does plan to add a more traditional loyalty program later this year, which will be called Virgin Voyages Sailing Club. No details have been released on the program, but it will likely continue to reward people who sail regularly on the cruise line which will soon have four ships in service.
Deep Blue Extras is essentially another name for the same package of perks.