Cruise

“We’ve got something really special”: Virgin Voyages CCO on line’s point of difference

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Virgin Voyages is officially open for business with travel partners in Australia, and now transacting in Australian currency.

Richard Branson’s adults-only cruise line, Virgin Voyages, has officially opened its doors for Australian travel professionals, with the service now transacting in Australian currency.

But while the event might be seen as momentous by Virgin, what sets Voyages apart from other cruise lines, and why should agents care about it?

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Voyages’ chief commercial officer, Nirmal Saverimuttu, said the cruise line aims to create the glamour of a boutique hotel, which, like it or not, means no buffets and no “chicken nuggets”.

“Richard challenged us to create the world’s most irresistible holiday mode … what that means is we are going to create an adults-only experience that is much more elevated and sophisticated,” Saverimuttu said.

“We’ve worked with designers who have never worked on cruise ships before, and unleashed them on the ship. The result is something that feels like a glamorous boutique hotel.

“I think if we can create that … with the adults-only piece attached to it, and put it out on the ocean for people to go sailing on, I think we’ve got something really special.”

As of Tuesday, Australian travel partners can take advantage of Voyages’ dedicated online home for sellers, FirstMates.com, where they can find support, and learn about and transact and engage with all things Virgin Voyages.

“Onboard a ship, a first mate is the captain’s most trusted confidant and right hand, which is how Virgin Voyages sees travel partners, because their input and guidance has been critical to the development of our sales strategy, policies and onboard experiences,” Saverimuttu said in a separate statement.

With this appreciation in mind, and an “ambition to be brilliant to do business with”, Virgin Voyages says it has thrown non-commissionable fares (NCFs) “overboard”, all while committing to paying travel partners commission on the total invoice – even taxes and fees.

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