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

Dec. 13, 2022
5 min read
Virgin Voyages' latest ship, Valiant Lady
Cruise deal alert: Virgin Voyages just unveiled its 'most inclusive offer' ever
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It's deal time at Virgin Voyages, the startup cruise line backed by Richard Branson.

The 1-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 1st vessel

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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 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 to 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 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 lineup of restorative and Zen-inducing events such as sound bath meditations and healthy happy hours.

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.

More information on the new Virgin Voyages promotion can be found at the line's website.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by VIRGIN VOYAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees