What would you like to see on Virgin Voyages

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#41
UK
1,622 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Originally posted by Flatbush Flyer
Mynki: see post 37


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I read it. Though I would imagine VV will have a significantly younger crowd sailing onboard than Oceania. I'd also suggest that it's aimed at a very different target market.

Take a look at the passenger to staff ratios and tonnage per passenger ratios and you'll see that Oceania will be a more upscale experience in a different price bracket too I would expect.
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#42
Point Richmond CA
6,950 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by Mynki
I read it. Though I would imagine VV will have a significantly younger crowd sailing onboard than Oceania. I'd also suggest that it's aimed at a very different target market.



Take a look at the passenger to staff ratios and tonnage per passenger ratios and you'll see that Oceania will be a more upscale experience in a different price bracket too I would expect.


When you look at "net daily rate" cost for all "door to door" cruise expenses (I.e., including airfare/air credit et al. inclusive items vs just cabin cost), you should find O priced in the same arena as Celebrity.

As for age, note that O has become an often preferred cruise line of college alumni travel programs, which (in recent years) has lowered its overall age range (particularly on popular 10+\- day tourist itineraries like The Med and Alaska). In addition, many well-traveled, young professionals are increasingly figuring out that O fits their travel preferences better than any other cruise line - especially if quality of food and accommodations is important to them.


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#43
UK
1,622 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Originally posted by Flatbush Flyer
When you look at "net daily rate" cost for all "door to door" cruise expenses (I.e., including airfare/air credit et al. inclusive items vs just cabin cost), you should find O priced in the same arena as Celebrity.
I have undertaken apples to apples comparison. But when you look for a comparable stateroom (We always travel in either Aquaclass or more usually sky suites) the prices on O are significantly higher. On a 14 might sailing this could easily be $2,000 plus per person.

Originally posted by Flatbush Flyer
As for age, note that O has become an often preferred cruise line of college alumni travel programs, which (in recent years) has lowered its overall age range (particularly on popular 10+\- day tourist itineraries like The Med and Alaska). In addition, many well-traveled, young professionals are increasingly figuring out that O fits their travel preferences better than any other cruise line - especially if quality of food and accommodations is important to them.
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Whilst I don't doubt the line has experienced changes in recent times I still believe that the average age of an O passenger will be significantly higher than that of VV. We were moored next to Riviera last year and it was quite obvious that O attracts a more seasoned crowd. I have no doubt at all that O will provide a very good experience, I just think the target markets will differ significantly from VV.
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#44
Piz Gloria
1,761 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Some thoughts...
- Less emphasis on banquet dining
- Less predictable menus - the first night on Celebrity is always the same
- More local cuisine
- Ethical food chain
- Pop up restaurants
- No tipping
- No Art auctions
- Decent toiletries in the bathrooms
- Decent in cabin entertainment
- A hideaway drinking den
- A tie in to the Virgin Atlantic Frequent Flyer programme
- Option to use the Virgin Atlantic clubhouse at Heathrow if booking early on fly / cruise package
- Make the drinks packages simpler (Celebrity's example of moving inclusions between different drinks packages is silly - you can have a beer and wine up to $9 but can't have a can of soda or a bottle of reasonable water)
- Smart casual dress code
#45
Point Richmond CA
6,950 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by Mynki
I have undertaken apples to apples comparison. But when you look for a comparable stateroom (We always travel in either Aquaclass or more usually sky suites) the prices on O are significantly higher. On a 14 might sailing this could easily be $2,000 plus per person.







Whilst I don't doubt the line has experienced changes in recent times I still believe that the average age of an O passenger will be significantly higher than that of VV. We were moored next to Riviera last year and it was quite obvious that O attracts a more seasoned crowd. I have no doubt at all that O will provide a very good experience, I just think the target markets will differ significantly from VV.


So, that "apples to apples" includes the airfare cost? If you're headed to Asia from the US, the O air credit (for DIY) would drop the cabin price by $1500-$2000. And don't forget TA added OBC. Members of the Oceania Connoisseurs Club TA group are top booking producers who are paid commissions on a sliding scale. Their better compensation should translate to higher commission sharing for you (averaging 5-10% of the commissionable fare). Finally, those same TAs have occasional private "partner" sales with O, which lower fares on select cruises as much as 15% (close to sailing) and about 5% on all others (the same deal as "book onboard."

Even if your comparison considers all of the above (and the internet plus choice of booze [value of $80/day for the cabin] or excursions or even more OBC) and O ends up costing more, there are many of us who just couldn't step down to the mediocre food on other cruise lines (perhaps with exception of Regent and Crystal).


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#46
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
7,524 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Mynki
.







Whilst I don't doubt the line has experienced changes in recent times I still believe that the average age of an O passenger will be significantly higher than that of VV. We were moored next to Riviera last year and it was quite obvious that O attracts a more seasoned crowd. I have no doubt at all that O will provide a very good experience, I just think the target markets will differ significantly from VV.


This is absolutely true based on my experience. I sailed on Oceania’s Riviera to the Caribbean, which arguably could be considered the youngest demographic for Oceania. The food was fantastic. The rest left me a bit cold. I didn’t think the ship had much atmosphere (besides the restaurants) and it was a dead zone at 10pm. The clientele was definitely older, and at 50 I felt like one of the youngsters. Entertainment was amateur at best. Celebrity has a much more vibrant atmosphere, eclectic ships, and a more diverse demographic. Oceania was more like an upscale version of Holland America.

I don’t expect Virgin Voyages to be anything like Oceania and I doubt I would recommend Oceania to those considering Virgin. Virgin is going to be vibrant, eclectic, full of energy and activity on a very forward thinking ship. Expect to see dining and entertainment reinvented. Virgin is a young minded company that tends to appeal to a younger clientele or at least those that want a younger feeling experience. Oceania is very traditional, from the decor of the ships to the passengers. Very quiet. I don’t even remember music by the pool. Also I expect the price point to be far lower than Oceania. It will be more of a mass-market experience but with the twist of being adult-only and more out of the box thinking.

Much more than Oceania, I think Viking Ocean would be my pick for an upscale adult experience without getting into the luxury arena.
#47
Point Richmond CA
6,950 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by eroller
This is absolutely true based on my experience. I sailed on Oceania’s Riviera to the Caribbean, which arguably could be considered the youngest demographic for Oceania. The food was fantastic. The rest left me a bit cold. I didn’t think the ship had much atmosphere (besides the restaurants) and it was a dead zone at 10pm. The clientele was definitely older, and at 50 I felt like one of the youngsters. Entertainment was amateur at best. Celebrity has a much more vibrant atmosphere, eclectic ships, and a more diverse demographic. Oceania was more like an upscale version of Holland America.

I don’t expect Virgin Voyages to be anything like Oceania and I doubt I would recommend Oceania to those considering Virgin. Virgin is going to be vibrant, eclectic, full of energy and activity on a very forward thinking ship. Expect to see dining and entertainment reinvented. Virgin is a young minded company that tends to appeal to a younger clientele or at least those that want a younger feeling experience. Oceania is very traditional, from the decor of the ships to the passengers. Very quiet. I don’t even remember music by the pool. Also I expect the price point to be far lower than Oceania. It will be more of a mass-market experience but with the twist of being adult-only and more out of the box thinking.

Much more than Oceania, I think Viking Ocean would be my pick for an upscale adult experience without getting into the luxury arena.


I am convinced that most O loyalists pretty much avoid Caribbean sailings (unless perhaps the ship is on its way to the Amazon or some other unboring place). That said, I agree that O is not a party ship and the string quartet is not a poolside hip hop wannabe band.
As for Virgin, let's hope for the best. If their airline is any indication, the hype will be plenty and the goods delivered will be few.



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#48
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
7,524 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Flatbush Flyer
I am convinced that most O loyalists pretty much avoid Caribbean sailings (unless perhaps the ship is on its way to the Amazon or some other unboring place). That said, I agree that O is not a party ship and the string quartet is not a poolside hip hop wannabe band.
As for Virgin, let's hope for the best. If their airline is any indication, the hype will be plenty and the goods delivered will be few.



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I’m guessing that O regulars are an even older demographic than what I experienced. The longer and more exotic the cruise, the older demographic it tends to be. Most younger people either don’t have the time or money for the longer exotic cruises.

In the same category of cruising I actually preferred Azamara over Oceania. More eclectic decor, friendlier crew (perhaps the nicest I’ve ever experienced), and a more vibrant atmosphere onboard. I give the best cuisine to Oceania though. It was unbeatable. Definitely a cruise line for foodies if that is your number one priority. Another thing that turned me off to Oceania was the drink prices. Perhaps the highest I’ve seen on any cruise line except NCL (same family). I felt like I was being gouged.

Back to VV, I do hope they can be a product that all adults find appealing. Something for everyone.
#49
Point Richmond CA
6,950 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by eroller
....I give the best cuisine to Oceania though. It was unbeatable. Definitely a cruise line for foodies if that is your number one priority. Another thing that turned me off to Oceania was the drink prices. Perhaps the highest I’ve seen on any cruise line except NCL (same family). I felt like I was being gouged....

The best advice I can give you regarding booze on O is to get the $60/day/pp "prestige package" or upgrade to it from the O Life mealtime wine/beer perk for $20/day/pp extra.

That total $60/day per person value, which BTW includes the 18% tip is a great deal, particularly if you only drink better spirits. For example, if you like a "sidecar" (or two) as your pre-dinner cocktail, have the classic: a double shot of Hennessy VSOP with Cointreau and fresh lemon juice (O bartenders will use real juice vs citrus mixer on request). By itself, that is a $30+ drink with tip on O. Do the math.

As for friendly officers: beyond my sharing "sea stories" with them on occasion, I just don't understand why it is so important for some cruise passengers to feel like they've made a new best friend with a ship's officer.


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#50
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
7,524 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Flatbush Flyer
The best advice I can give you regarding booze on O is to get the $60/day/pp "prestige package" or upgrade to it from the O Life mealtime wine/beer perk for $20/day/pp extra.

As for friendly officers: beyond my sharing "sea stories" with them on occasion, I just don't understand why it is so important for some cruise passengers to feel like they've made a new best friend with a ship's officer.


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I’ll keep that in mind if I sail Oceania again.

I’m certainly not looking to be best buddies with the crew or officers, but a friendly crew that you can tell is well motivated and enjoy their job and even take pride in it is certainly welcome. That is how it was on Azamara. On Oceania it was more going through the motions. I didn’t detect a lot of pride or enthusiasm, certainly nothing that stood out. It was all fine but certainly nothing exceptional or above and beyond.
#51
UK
1,622 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Originally posted by eroller
I’m guessing that O regulars are an even older demographic than what I experienced. The longer and more exotic the cruise, the older demographic it tends to be. Most younger people either don’t have the time or money for the longer exotic cruises.

In the same category of cruising I actually preferred Azamara over Oceania. More eclectic decor, friendlier crew (perhaps the nicest I’ve ever experienced), and a more vibrant atmosphere onboard. I give the best cuisine to Oceania though. It was unbeatable. Definitely a cruise line for foodies if that is your number one priority. Another thing that turned me off to Oceania was the drink prices. Perhaps the highest I’ve seen on any cruise line except NCL (same family). I felt like I was being gouged.

Back to VV, I do hope they can be a product that all adults find appealing. Something for everyone.

I concur. You only need to read the O boards, roll calls and watch the many videos on Youtube to get a true and accurate look at the O demographics. They're simply a world apart from VV's target market!
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#52
Toronto, Ontario
435 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
I have also posted in the thread- what I do not want on Virgin.

Basically, take Oceania and make the experience less traditional so the product appeals to a wider consumer base.

Virgin should take Oceania as the base line; Oceania does many things very well and their food and service are simply outstanding.

* Maintain a class free product, no separate lounges and restaurants for specific guests
* Forward observation lounge - emphasize the ships relationship with the ocean - have viewing areas enclosed and open (think the forward open wings above the bridge on the QM2 - beyond outstanding and unique anywhere)
* Have live music outside - like the back seating area on pool deck - 5 pm, have a wide range of music
* Real innovation in food and very high quality of food - with the smaller ships, they should be able to source local product at ports - like we enjoyed on Oceania
* Retain optionality - let guests decide if they want a beverage package or purchase shore excursions
* Automation - order stuff and services from a device IF you want to - a necessity to attract the younger guest
* Avoid downloading the doing of services (see above item) to the guest like RCL just announced this week - thus allowing them to fire staff and reap $ savings - by passing on the doing to the guest. I will not support this approach
* Have a very high level of staff service - on Oceania when I finished a plate and set it to the side of the table, it was whisked away in under 30 seconds every time - this level of service must be made available to every guest
* Ensure excellent information sessions on the various ports - make sure they are not "selling" lectures like on the mass lines
* Ensure a very wide range of entertainment

Virgin needs to be different from Oceania, Azamara in order to create a niche in the "above the mass lines" level where O&A occupy - Oceania and Azamara are in the "premium" category, a bit below luxury where Crystal, Regent, Seaborne live. No Celebrity, you are not a premium line, get over yourself.

There are many cruise guests who are fed up with the mass lines - my September cruise on Oceania Marina had so many 1st time guests who were moving from Celebrity (me included), it was wild.

Virgin can simply be a "bit more hip" than Oceania and Azamara and do very well in this increasingly popular market segment.

Wishing every success to Virgin
#53
Citrus Springs, Fl.
4,539 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Service, food and a close to the sea environment. Too many ships hide the fact that you are on a ship and not a shopping mall.
Less nickel and diming....doesn't have to be all inclusive but no paying for food.
Hope there are single cabins....I hate paying double.
No ship within a ship class structure as mentioned above.
And a good piano bar that opens out onto a deck like on the Paul Gauguin ....heaven!
One last thing...have the tech for those that need it but not rely on it. I'd rather place my order with a bar staff member than doing it on a tablet. I go to sea to disconnect��
#55
Piz Gloria
1,761 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by ABoatNerd
I have also posted in the thread- what I do not want on Virgin.

Basically, take Oceania and make the experience less traditional so the product appeals to a wider consumer base.

Virgin should take Oceania as the base line; Oceania does many things very well and their food and service are simply outstanding.

* Maintain a class free product, no separate lounges and restaurants for specific guests
* Forward observation lounge - emphasize the ships relationship with the ocean - have viewing areas enclosed and open (think the forward open wings above the bridge on the QM2 - beyond outstanding and unique anywhere)
* Have live music outside - like the back seating area on pool deck - 5 pm, have a wide range of music
* Real innovation in food and very high quality of food - with the smaller ships, they should be able to source local product at ports - like we enjoyed on Oceania
* Retain optionality - let guests decide if they want a beverage package or purchase shore excursions
* Automation - order stuff and services from a device IF you want to - a necessity to attract the younger guest
* Avoid downloading the doing of services (see above item) to the guest like RCL just announced this week - thus allowing them to fire staff and reap $ savings - by passing on the doing to the guest. I will not support this approach
* Have a very high level of staff service - on Oceania when I finished a plate and set it to the side of the table, it was whisked away in under 30 seconds every time - this level of service must be made available to every guest
* Ensure excellent information sessions on the various ports - make sure they are not "selling" lectures like on the mass lines
* Ensure a very wide range of entertainment

Virgin needs to be different from Oceania, Azamara in order to create a niche in the "above the mass lines" level where O&A occupy - Oceania and Azamara are in the "premium" category, a bit below luxury where Crystal, Regent, Seaborne live. No Celebrity, you are not a premium line, get over yourself.

There are many cruise guests who are fed up with the mass lines - my September cruise on Oceania Marina had so many 1st time guests who were moving from Celebrity (me included), it was wild.

Virgin can simply be a "bit more hip" than Oceania and Azamara and do very well in this increasingly popular market segment.

Wishing every success to Virgin
Everything I've seen about other Virgin products to date is mass market (often hyped as not mass market but still mass market) Virgin Atlantic is not a Premium Airline, Upper Class is nice but Economy is very ordinary. Virgin trains in the U.K. Are fine but again not Premium. Virgin Holidays pitch very much at the 3 star / 4 star / disappointingly average standard 5 star market (you won't find a holiday to the Four Seasons / Aman / Mandarin Oriental in their brochures).

My guess is they see their clients coming from Royal Carribbean / Celebrity / MSC / P and O
#56
Toronto, Ontario
435 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
DYKWIA:

Thank you for your analysis about the quality level of current Virgin products - hummm.

Based on your description of their products, they are not currently operating at a sufficient quality level to really compete with even Celebrity, let alone the Azamara, Oceania.

Will be interesting to see if they corporately "reach" upwards in developing this product
#57
Jacksonville, FL
78 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Originally posted by ABoatNerd
DYKWIA:



Thank you for your analysis about the quality level of current Virgin products - hummm.



Based on your description of their products, they are not currently operating at a sufficient quality level to really compete with even Celebrity, let alone the Azamara, Oceania.



Will be interesting to see if they corporately "reach" upwards in developing this product


I don’t disagree with these critiques of Virgin’s already existing business ventures however I do think that given Branson’s passion for Necker Island and the Caribbean, also all sorts of maritime related activities... if he’s really hands-on with VV and it’s focused on being the ultimate getaway for young to middle aged adults where you can TRULY have an all inclusive experience, as in get on board, do whatever is offered/available without having to consider cost, then this venture will be successful.


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- John M.
Jacksonville, FL
#58
UK
1,622 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Originally posted by ABoatNerd

Virgin should take Oceania as the base line; Oceania does many things very well and their food and service are simply outstanding.
Have you read any of the interviews with Branson about his proposed line?

It won't be anything like O or AZ. These two are not quite the floating nursing homes that are Regent, Crystal or Cunard, but they do attract an older crowd.

Branson is aiming at a very different demographic.

I don't really see the point of comparing VV to these other lines it's a bit like comparing Mercedes Benz and BMW to Ford and GM.
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#59
USA
4,422 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Have you been on these lines?
Originally posted by Mynki
Have you read any of the interviews with Branson about his proposed line?

It won't be anything like O or AZ. These two are not quite the floating nursing homes that are Regent, Crystal or Cunard, but they do attract an older crowd.

Branson is aiming at a very different demographic.

I don't really see the point of comparing VV to these other lines it's a bit like comparing Mercedes Benz and BMW to Ford and GM.
#60
Illinois
256 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Just dreaming here:

More interesting, off the beaten path tours

Laundry rooms

Better lectures on board, art and cooking classes

Nightlife including music from 80s, 90s

Lots of live music of every type

Included specialty coffee several places on board




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