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Should Celebrity be worried about about Virgin Cruises?

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Kids sail free is a big attraction.  As a former teacher, I always had requests from parents for homework that their kids could do while on vacation. The biggest request was during January. It really puzzled me. Since the kids had just had a winter vaction in December for holidays, why would a parent want to have their kids miss school.  One kid said it..."my parents are cheap. Cruises are too expensive during school vacations."   Now with kids sail free, expect more kids on every Celebrity cruise. We like sailing on Celebrity with my kids and grandkids. However, if the kids are not sailing with me, I would prefer no kids.  

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14 minutes ago, Redtravel said:

Kids sail free is a big attraction.  As a former teacher, I always had requests from parents for homework that their kids could do while on vacation. The biggest request was during January. It really puzzled me. Since the kids had just had a winter vaction in December for holidays, why would a parent want to have their kids miss school.  One kid said it..."my parents are cheap. Cruises are too expensive during school vacations."   Now with kids sail free, expect more kids on every Celebrity cruise. We like sailing on Celebrity with my kids and grandkids. However, if the kids are not sailing with me, I would prefer no kids.  

 

The promotion is over, believe it was done temporarily to get people onto the Edge because of the poor reviews. As I have stated earlier they have been doing this promotion periodically for 25 years. I just don’t get the panic by some people.

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We like our cruises to run like a well oiled machine. We wouldn’t even consider Virgin Cruises until they had at least two years experience under their belt. I still can’t believe the paranoia some have over the kids sail free promo. It was a short time on select cruises. If you think that promo was a big kid attraction I’d tell you that you’re nuts and a fool to run from X to  Virgin where young people there may act more crazy and drunk than any disruptions a few kids on Celebrity could cause. I have two kids and I’m on the 15 day NCL Bliss Panama Canal cruise with my 9 and 11 year old’s right now. There aren’t even 75 kids on this cruise and it has a waterpark, laser tag, go karts, arcade, etc. I think X cruisers need not worry. Virgin may be a ship full of young cruisers that act worse than kids so you may want to think about that. 

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dkjretired - We've discussed this same topic on another thread. You mentioned that you took advantage of a similar free kids offer back in the mid 90s.  It worked for you because you have kids, and that's fine. We chose to not have kids, so our perspective is completely different. We have cruised many times on Celebrity - but during our recent cruise on Edge (which we enjoyed very much) we had zero desire to book a future cruise, based on their then current "kids sail free" promotion. We are OK with the current mix of adults and kids (exception on Edge when we got on the elevator on 14 and in comes a mother with 3 kids - one pushed every floor button. We were going to deck 3. The mother apologized and laughed. 😠). And we cringe at the pat answer of "isn't she cute" or "kids will be kids". Agressively encouraging kids with "kids sail free" will certainly increase the ratio of kids to adults. No panic, just very disappointed with the direction Celebrity was choosing to go. So that pushed us away. Interesting that many comments by people on this thread suggested not to worry because families won't book. Well, you did and I doubt that Celebrity would waste a month of promotion that wouldn't work. It worked for us - just in reverse. Sorry to say three other lines, including Viking and Virgin are getting our business in 2020. Very glad Celebrity has dropped the kids promotion.

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Posted (edited)

Should Celebrity be worried about Virgin Voyages?  A few years ago I would say no, but since this is the demographic X seems to be pandering to (with questionable success), I would say that Virgin is not only becoming a direct competitor, but one more in touch with attracting non-cruisers.  

 

I wonder if there will be growing pains, such as passenger conduct, food lines, and bedding complaints, but all things that Virgin can mend as time goes along.

 

Also for the more sedate affluent young travelers, there's the upcoming the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection.    Both lines may have crossover rewards and point systems, with Marriott and Virgin Atlantic.

 

Edited by Stateroom_Sailor

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Virgins target market seems to be the upper income under 40 cruisers.   Every wants these but I would say right now Celebrity’s base is a slightly older group.  

 

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Posted (edited)

I too was excited when I learned Virgin was getting into ocean cruising.  I really hoped it would be a good alternative to Celebrity.  However, after learning more about VV I no longer think it will be a good fit for me. 

  • The balcony cabins really do look like dorm rooms.  I can't buy into that "bed" concept.
  • No main dining room.  Instead there are many "free" specialty restaurants.  Wanna bet there will be one or two that become the favorites that everyone wants to go to, but only the lucky get in?  If you don't reserve in advance, I can imagine people wandering from restaurant to restaurant trying to find one that they can get seated in without a long wait.
  • No drink packages. Not a big deal to some, but I like the drink package concept.
  • Not really sure what a "drag brunch" is.  I've been to drag shows and enjoyed them.  Is a drag brunch just a brunch where the servers and patrons dress in drag?  I've stopped packing a diner jacket, I'm not about to start packing a dress😀  Is it  a drag show with food?  If so, is it just the entertainment staff dressed in drag or will they hire professional drag performers?  It could be fun, but it could also be a real disappointment.  Will VV try too hard to come across as edgy and wind up looking phony?
  • Only short itineraries.  I really prefer 10+ day cruises.
  • No kids is great, but we'll have to wait until it launches before we get an idea of the on board culture.  Young and edgy is fine, but party central? not so much.

Who knows.... after the Scarlet Lady starts sailing and we get to read some reviews, it may turn out that these concerns are unfounded.  I hope they are as I'd like another competitor in this market, but I'm no longer so hopeful. 

Edited by mnocket

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Virgin has for years marketed Florida holidays with flights, hotels, car hire and cruise packaged. When Virgin announced they were going to have their own ship we thought initially that they would target the ‘family’ market which their present Florida packages appeal to...

 

I can’t understand any cruise line targeting the 25 to under 40 crowd with no children ...They are the group of people most under pressure for money and time....

 

Work often means only one real vacation a year...

People of this age are cost conscious owing to mortgages and car loans...

They have grown up in a world where  last minute deals are the norm...

Most people do go on and have kids so even guests who like the product won’t be regulars for long...

 

Much better to focus on the 60 plus group....

 

Home loan paid (tick)

Retired and wanting to holiday several times a year (tick) 

No home responsibilities so can take longer cruises (tick)

Feel they have earned a bit of luxury now and willing to pay (tick)

Have a bucket list of things to experience/do (tick)

Reliable return customers once they find a product they like (tick)

 

 

 

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Virgin is just too cool for me...tattoo shop, drag shows, etc. We are a boring married couple and already feel excluded on Celebrity; Virgin is evidently targeting only interesting people. 😉

 

My pet peeve is discrimination, categorization, and targeting. Our last Celebrity cruise had a LGBT session with the Captain, and I'm getting targeted ads featuring the same. I find it ironic that inclusiveness is exclusive.

 

I don't want this to get off topic. This is not about discrimination. Virgin is making it clear they are not targeting my demographic.

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When I first saw the marketing for Virgin, I thought “Wow - that looks like it could be fun”.   Then I thought “I’m not going to fit in in that crowd, no matter how much I enjoy the offerings”.   It looks like they are looking for young, hip, wealthy cruisers.  Then again, so is every cruiseline that worries about sustainability, but if you’re sailing from Florida, that’s probably not what you’re going to get.  As much as all of the lines would love to see a younger group embrace cruising, the majority of cruisers are going to be older folks like me with time and disposable income, not 20 and 30-somethings who generally don’t have the time or money for anything more than a bargain, low-end vacation, at least not in my experience.  To get the atmosphere they are looking for, I feel like they have to have a reverse-seniors discount (charge more for people over 40).   I doubt a cruise company could sustain that for long.   They do have the right idea by having just short itineraries, as many younger American folks just don’t have enough vacation time for more.   I must say, on my two Edge cruises, I saw more power scooters than I have ever seen on a 7 day cruise.

 

I like the idea of such a large number of included restaurants, but I have a feeling many of them will be food-truck type things, fast food, casual grab and go stuff, which is not what I’m looking for, but the youngsters might enjoy.   It is certainly clear to me that most younger cruisers have no interest in a dress code, so that’s one thing Virgin is doing right to attract the demographic they want.   However, a lack of beverage packages might turn them away.   Any young cruisers who have experienced included beverages might be somewhat turned off by having to pay for each drink, unless the prices are really reasonable.   I know when I was younger, drinks were more important than food.  Then again, picture a ship full of 20-30 somethings with free alcohol.  That sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

 

I do love the idea of something different (and loved our 2 weeks on the Edge), but I doubt Virgin is offering what I’m looking for.   I like to pretend I’m into a wild and crazy nightlife, loud music and boisterous parties, but let’ face it, there are lots of nights on a cruise I can’t keep my eyes open past dinner.   At least on Celebrity, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on something really special by packing it in at 10pm.   For next year, we currently have one cruise booked on Celebrity and two on Azamara, all on interesting itineraries.  I am finding that I am bored to death of the Caribbean, even when I just want to get away from the winter, so regardless of what Virgin’s shipboard experience will be, I doubt I will be trying them unless the first reviews blow me away and my curiosity gets the best of me.

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10 hours ago, twodjs said:

dkjretired - We've discussed this same topic on another thread. You mentioned that you took advantage of a similar free kids offer back in the mid 90s.  It worked for you because you have kids, and that's fine. We chose to not have kids, so our perspective is completely different. We have cruised many times on Celebrity - but during our recent cruise on Edge (which we enjoyed very much) we had zero desire to book a future cruise, based on their then current "kids sail free" promotion. We are OK with the current mix of adults and kids (exception on Edge when we got on the elevator on 14 and in comes a mother with 3 kids - one pushed every floor button. We were going to deck 3. The mother apologized and laughed. 😠). And we cringe at the pat answer of "isn't she cute" or "kids will be kids". Agressively encouraging kids with "kids sail free" will certainly increase the ratio of kids to adults. No panic, just very disappointed with the direction Celebrity was choosing to go. So that pushed us away. Interesting that many comments by people on this thread suggested not to worry because families won't book. Well, you did and I doubt that Celebrity would waste a month of promotion that wouldn't work. It worked for us - just in reverse. Sorry to say three other lines, including Viking and Virgin are getting our business in 2020. Very glad Celebrity has dropped the kids promotion.

 

It is your choice to sail with whomever you want if you want to have less children, that was not and never was my point.  Some completely overreacted when this promotion came out  and treated it like it was something new.  I just pointed out that they had been doing this occasionally for 25 years and still the panic, way over the top.  

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11 hours ago, Stateroom_Sailor said:

Should Celebrity be worried about Virgin Voyages?  A few years ago I would say no, but since this is the demographic X seems to be pandering to (with questionable success), I would say that Virgin is not only becoming a direct competitor, but one more in touch with attracting non-cruisers.  

 

I wonder if there will be growing pains, such as passenger conduct, food lines, and bedding complaints, but all things that Virgin can mend as time goes along.

 

Also for the more sedate affluent young travelers, there's the upcoming the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection.    Both lines may have crossover rewards and point systems, with Marriott and Virgin Atlantic.

 

There is a 20% non-refundable deposit that may have an impact of people jumping ship.

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Personally I would be worried by the other "V"...Viking...With 16 ships being built with 6 presently in the water, there draw could be significant.

With no kids, no photographer ,no casino, free drinks, water, lattes, no specialty charge, great spa, only 900 passengers, free wifi , free movies, the price point of paying 150/per deim/pp on Celebrity, whilst Viking is averaging 200 per deim/pp.

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35 minutes ago, Oville said:

There is a 20% non-refundable deposit that may have an impact of people jumping ship.

 

I am not suggesting that significant number of X fans will jump ship to Virgin Voyages, but rather Virgin will be more successful attracting non-cruisers, the young and affluent, partiers, and interesting hip people.  X is spending billions of dollars to attract new clientele, and they're going to need to do better than simply keep current passengers in order for that to be successful. This is where Virgin becomes a direct competitor and concern.

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I don't really think they're too much competition. I'd imagine the average age of a Virgin cruiser will be a fair few years younger than those on Celebrity. I know Celebrity have been targeting a younger market but when onboard they don't see too successful in that respect. 

I don't really like sounding negative but the thought of a convertible bed is even less appealing than the new IV balconies on X. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Mynki said:



I don't really like sounding negative but the thought of a convertible bed is even less appealing than the new IV balconies on X. 

 

 

Now that is pushing it 😆.

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Celebrity and Virgin aren't going after the same demographic at all.

 

Virgin's ads embrace a much younger, party central, group. No kids is really 'leave your kids at home and pretend you don't have them for 5 days'. I'm betting it won't be the 'go to bed by 10 cuz most of the other folks do' vibe at all. I expect late night parties, pool parties, and party vibe shore excursions.

 

We're 60+ and have very little interest in pretending we're 30 somethings. Celebrity no long fits our needs due to the constant downgrades in food and service but we won't move on to Virgin. More likely to go Windstar or Viking.

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17 minutes ago, Stateroom_Sailor said:

 

I am not suggesting that significant number of X fans will jump ship to Virgin Voyages, but rather Virgin will be more successful attracting non-cruisers, the young and affluent, partiers, and interesting hip people.  X is spending billions of dollars to attract new clientele, and they're going to need to do better than simply keep current passengers in order for that to be successful. This is where Virgin becomes a direct competitor and concern.

 

I think Virgin will be far more successful in that market. I’m starting to think, after reading all the recent posts from new X cruisers, that perhaps that market isn’t what X is after but it’s crossovers from Carnival and NCL. The lack of classic furniture, the mature party atmosphere of Eden, more open ‘freestyle’ dining, central gathering areas etc., maybe is a draw to those that are outgrowing the younger swinging/party atmosphere of the other two mass market lines? Their revolution is about pax from those lines evolving (getting older to me and you 🤣) but still wanting to cruise with a slightly less lively ambience. Just a thought 🤷‍♀️.

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13 hours ago, Stateroom_Sailor said:

Should Celebrity be worried about Virgin Voyages?  A few years ago I would say no, but since this is the demographic X seems to be pandering to (with questionable success), I would say that Virgin is not only becoming a direct competitor, but one more in touch with attracting non-cruisers.  

 

I wonder if there will be growing pains, such as passenger conduct, food lines, and bedding complaints, but all things that Virgin can mend as time goes along.

 

Also for the more sedate affluent young travelers, there's the upcoming the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection.    Both lines may have crossover rewards and point systems, with Marriott and Virgin Atlantic.

 

 

Well said 

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1 hour ago, CRZR58 said:

Celebrity and Virgin aren't going after the same demographic at all.

 

Virgin's ads embrace a much younger, party central, group. No kids is really 'leave your kids at home and pretend you don't have them for 5 days'. I'm betting it won't be the 'go to bed by 10 cuz most of the other folks do' vibe at all. I expect late night parties, pool parties, and party vibe shore excursions.

 

We're 60+ and have very little interest in pretending we're 30 somethings. Celebrity no long fits our needs due to the constant downgrades in food and service but we won't move on to Virgin. More likely to go Windstar or Viking.

 

Well a cruise on Viking or Windstar looks mighty boring...

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On 4/6/2019 at 12:03 PM, twodjs said:

We have already "jumped ship" and have booked a back-to-back on the Scarlet Lady. The number one draw for us is no kids! The recent Celebrity marketing push of "Kids Sail Free" was a HUGE turn-off for us! We're up for anything different, so the Drag Queen Brunch on Virgin is near the top of our list as well. We loved our recent cruise on Edge, including our IV in Aqua, but I was disappointed in the elememts they left out of the Spa, as well as a lack of any explanation of the benefits of some of the unusual rooms. Also don't care for the way they are shrinking parts of the gym/spa on the older ships in the redesigns. So, Celebrity is pushing us away as much as other lines are attracting us. 

 

Kids bad, drag queens good?  Don’t let the door hit ya....

 

 

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11 hours ago, mnocket said:

I too was excited when I learned Virgin was getting into ocean cruising.  I really hoped it would be a good alternative to Celebrity.  However, after learning more about VV I no longer think it will be a good fit for me. 

  • The balcony cabins really do look like dorm rooms.  I can't buy into that "bed" concept.
  • No main dining room.  Instead there are many "free" specialty restaurants.  Wanna bet there will be one or two that become the favorites that everyone wants to go to, but only the lucky get in?  If you don't reserve in advance, I can imagine people wandering from restaurant to restaurant trying to find one that they can get seated in without a long wait.
  • No drink packages. Not a big deal to some, but I like the drink package concept.
  • Not really sure what a "drag brunch" is.  I've been to drag shows and enjoyed them.  Is a drag brunch just a brunch where the servers and patrons dress in drag?  I've stopped packing a diner jacket, I'm not about to start packing a dress😀  Is it  a drag show with food?  If so, is it just the entertainment staff dressed in drag or will they hire professional drag performers?  It could be fun, but it could also be a real disappointment.  Will VV try too hard to come across as edgy and wind up looking phony?
  • Only short itineraries.  I really prefer 10+ day cruises.
  • No kids is great, but we'll have to wait until it launches before we get an idea of the on board culture.  Young and edgy is fine, but party central? not so much.

Who knows.... after the Scarlet Lady starts sailing and we get to read some reviews, it may turn out that these concerns are unfounded.  I hope they are as I'd like another competitor in this market, but I'm no longer so hopeful. 

This thread prompted me to look at VV--

The itineraries are short. And having been to Havana-- I don't need to do it for several days every cruise. 

The drag brunch holds no appeal. WTH

The website felt very "Vegas" to me and that's not our style. 

Short cruises and "Vegas" feels like "booze cruise"... no thanks

 

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Static events - Had to laugh when you commented that Viking looks pretty boring compared to VV. We're actually booked on both in 2020. We're doing it all while we can. Interesting how VV's marketing is narrowing their market - but in a good way. I think they will succeed without a problem. It is certainly not for everyone. Neither is Viking or Carnival. Yet all have no problem filling ships. 

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I like an adventure.  Always willing to try something different.  But I am not booking until prices suit me.  I think they are only offering short cruises so as to introduce their product to as many people as possible in a short period of time.  Probably will have longer cruises when their second ship comes online.  We are far from the demographic they seem to be aiming for.  EM

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