Sometimes it’s easier to explain who is not right for a specific travel experience than it is to describe who the perfect fit is. With this in mind, we’re offering a list of five client types you can immediately disqualify for a Virgin Voyages cruise.
(Next week, we’ll dive deeper into who is the right client.)
1. Clients Who Prefer Structured Vacations
Virgin has created its cruise experience to be highly customizable, with multiple places to get food onboard throughout the day (none of which have set seating), lots of wellness and fitness choices and fewer group activities. For clients who expect a schedule to follow or want to be told where to be and when, the lack of structure on a Virgin sailing could be uncomfortable.
“Those who want a printout under their door every morning with the entire day scheduled out for them,” will be disappointed said Carla Woolstrum, owner of an Atlanta-area Cruise Planners franchise, who calls herself a “Virgin Voyages evangelist.”
“What I like most about Virgin Voyages (besides the amazing food) is that you are in complete control of your experience,” she added. “You can choose to participate or not, and the more you relax and just go with whatever may be happening at any given moment, the more fun you will have.”
2. Anyone Put Off by Visible Tattoos and/or Offended by “Blue” Language
Crew onboard Virgin’s ships are given the freedom to be themselves. While they are always friendly and customer service-oriented, they are not expected to put on a polished front. That means visible tattoos and the occasional (or more than occasional) bit of cursing.
Woolstrum calls it a “we’re all adults here” attitude and said it’s part of the Virgin Voyages appeal – for the right client.
Trapper Martin, owner of a Belle Isle, Fl Dream Vacations agreed. “As far as turn off clients, I would just say that anyone who isn’t comfortable being in a realistic adult environment,” he told TMR. “That the relationships between the ‘sailors’ and crew can be more truly interactive instead of scripted service lines. They are encouraged to share more and it is more of a friendship than a working relationship at times depending on the department.”
To put it simply, if you have a client you know would be upset if you accidentally dropped an F-bomb, they are not the right person for a Virgin cruise.
Not sure how your client would feel in an “adult” environment. Jesse Morris, of We Book Travel, LLC, an independent agency in the Avoya Network said he asks his clients a few key questions.
“I ask ‘What do you think about an ice cream place named Like Me Till Ice Cream?’ and ‘How do you feel about being exposed to a very liberal adult only experience?’ For those a bit more on the prudish side, those two questions will help immediately disqualify people for me.”
3. Picky Eaters
Virgin Voyages is not a meat ‘n potatoes kind of experience. While you can get a steak at The Wake, most of the food onboard is eclectic.
“Clients that are picky/plain eaters or not adventurous eaters,” should be disqualified, Samantha Schultz, owner of Plan Your Perfect Vacation, LLC, told Travel Market Report.
Christine Wolff, an advisor at Brentwood Travel, an Ensemble-member agency echoed Schultz. “I would say an immediate disqualifier would be someone who is a picky eater and doesn’t like trying new and unique food.”
Even the Mexican and Italian eateries onboard offer interpretations rather than traditional dishes. Clients will find a few of the usual cruise suspects at The Galley (which is more like a gathering of food trucks than a buffet), such as burgers and an all-day omelet station, but even here the traditional is outnumbered by things like sushi bento boxes, ramen and upscale tacos.
4. Clients that Oppose LGBTQ+ Rights
We’ve never been on a cruise that’s as LGBTQ+ friendly as Scarlet Lady. A large percentage of passengers on our April 2022 sailing were gay and there was often a flamboyance to the experience that was unmistakable. It’s part of what made the Virgin vibe fun. But it’s not for everyone.
“If your clients feel uncomfortable around the LGBTQ community, this might not be the right cruise for them,” said Richard Tennant, owner of Xanadu Travel, LCC, an independent agency in the Avoya Travel Network.
Sandy Clark, owner of Sandy Clark Travel in Plano, TX, a Nexion-member agency agreed. “I do not think I would recommend the cruise to more reserved, or conservative clients.”
Amy Madson, owner of an Orlando-based Dream Vacations franchise, spoke even more plainly, saying “Anyone easily offended, close-minded, [with] strong opinions about alternative lifestyles…” is not the right fit for Virgin Voyages.
5. Previous Cruisers Who Like Cruising Just the Way It Is
Madson also said that people looking for the typical cruise experience aren’t the right fit for Virgin Voyages, adding that “unadventurous types that don’t like to try anything new” don’t belong on a Virgin ship.