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Demographic & Age Shift for Virgin?


gsutiger2
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With VV prices up significantly,  do you see a difference in the passenger profiles and/ activities offered?

 

I observed that earlier CC posts about VV had reviews/feedback from a large number of Carnival passengers.  I can't help but notice that a lot of the most recent feedback/reviews appear to be from Celebrity like lines or premium cruise lines.

 

 

 

 

 

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Too early to tell what difference prices have made, anyone cruising now will have booked 6-18 months ago. Also the holiday period will attract a different crowd anyway.

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We were considering a holiday cruise as it's the best time for our entire party to take vacation.  There are concerns the crowd will skew younger or have more of a young "party" vibe.

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43 minutes ago, gsutiger2 said:

We were considering a holiday cruise as it's the best time for our entire party to take vacation.  There are concerns the crowd will skew younger or have more of a young "party" vibe.

In my experience, that is correct. 

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1 hour ago, gsutiger2 said:

I agree. I noticed the passengers in Virgin YouTube review videos from 3 years ago, skews a bit differently from the most recent videos. Just an observation. 

3 years ago was the end of covid and VV was just getting up to speed....and their ads were all geared to young people and wild times.  I think VV was surprised to see the audience they were attracting,

In 2022, the median age was 43.  This was supposedly for all 2022 sailings.  I saw some numbers posted in mid 2023 claiming the median age was 48, but it didn't say what time period this covered.  We learned that the median on our most recent 2023 cruise  hit exactly in this range, but that was a 14 night cruise.  My observation is that shorter cruises and holiday cruises tend to attract a younger crowd.

For the future...no one knows what the impact of higher prices will be other than initially decreased bookings.  People cruising now booked 30 days to 18 months ago, most at least 6 months ago.  They aren't going to see an effect until summer, most likely.  The "First Mate" I use is currently on the reward sailing for the top 100 agents and reported that at a meeting with the CEO, he apologized for the fare increases and talked at some length about plans, hopes and dreams for the line

 

My guess is that the current fares may not hold.  Some are far above Celebrity, Princess, or NCL with the most "inclusive" package added to those base fares.  For example, Princess Premium is the closest thing to the basic VV fare, but I can often find cruises with similar dates, lengths, and itineraries cost less with Princess Premium.  No, it isn't an "apples to apples" comparison, but it is the best I can do.  VV will try to find their sweet spot in the market.  At this point, some, but not all sailings are cruising full or nearly so.....meaning that they still need to work on occupancy!

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, cantgetin said:

The "First Mate" I use is currently on the reward sailing for the top 100 agents and reported that at a meeting with the CEO, he apologized for the fare increases and talked at some length about plans, hopes and dreams for the line

 

My guess is that the current fares may not hold.  Some are far above Celebrity, Princess, or NCL with the most "inclusive" package added to those base fares.  For example, Princess Premium is the closest thing to the basic VV fare, but I can often find cruises with similar dates, lengths, and itineraries cost less with Princess Premium.  No, it isn't an "apples to apples" comparison, but it is the best I can do.  VV will try to find their sweet spot in the market.  At this point, some, but not all sailings are cruising full or nearly so.....meaning that they still need to work on occupancy!

 

At least he realized they messed up. They were completely out to lunch on these laughable prices.

 

Let's see what happens Feb 1.

 

The other issue, is the older crowd doesn't like or get what Virgin is (from what I heard/read).

Edited by -The-True-North-
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2 hours ago, -The-True-North- said:

 

The other issue, is the older crowd doesn't like or get what Virgin is (from what I heard/read).

Maybe.  I'm 69.  I don't love much of the entertainment, but I find plenty to do around the ship.  We tend to do 14 night cruises or longer, so have active FB groups that tend to make our own entertainment as well as the fact that the ship adds additional activities for longer cruises.  THe shows were fine...once...but unless a particular entertainer is a stand out, they don't change.  If you ever have Carlos as the Diva, go to every show.

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1 minute ago, cantgetin said:

Maybe.  I'm 69.  I don't love much of the entertainment, but I find plenty to do around the ship.  We tend to do 14 night cruises or longer, so have active FB groups that tend to make our own entertainment as well as the fact that the ship adds additional activities for longer cruises.  THe shows were fine...once...but unless a particular entertainer is a stand out, they don't change.  If you ever have Carlos as the Diva, go to every show.

Carlos is great.

 

And my comment might have been a little to broad. But on my last cruise the demographics changed and it was actually those younger than you that were complaining.

 

Agreed that the shows are one and done.

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I was on the Valiant Christmas sailing and thought that there were a lot more 18-25 year old (adult children) with their families. More folks on the older side too, but ultimately probably about the same average age of mid 40s. 

Agree with other posters in the thread that we won't see a really big difference from the norm after the price increases for 6 months or so due to sailings being booked out in advance. I have seen other millennials like me state pretty plainly that they've been priced out. Crossing my fingers that things don't change too much (and that prices come down some)!

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5 hours ago, WhyWeCruise said:

I was on the Valiant Christmas sailing and thought that there were a lot more 18-25 year old (adult children) with their families. More folks on the older side too, but ultimately probably about the same average age of mid 40s. 

 

There are a couple of limiting factors which will also skew the demographic and median age older, and also the community they attract. 

 

Kids - it's adults only, so unless you're happy to leave your kids home alone or have your kids very young, you're going to be mid-30+ minimum. Most people will really be in the 40+ bracket if they had kids.

 

Party adults - no kids means they may be younger, more out going, and of course, more open to having fun as they have less commitments right now. this is why the advertising in the early phases looked like the "insta crowd" and more party focused.

 

LGBT+ - with fewer LGBT+ couples or singles having kids, you will also have a larger-than-expected community on board. Also, generally, because of no kids, you have two adults on a steady career path and will be higher earners, so have more holidays, or fewer, but higher priced ones. 

 

It's all pretty logical, really, but with the price hike, the bell curve on average income will shift, and I can see that being a barrier to entry, which was broken for a lot of newbie sailors, willing to drop the usual holiday budget on something new to them to experience. 

 

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Far too soon to know. Maybe in a year will start to see indications of where Virgin is going to end up demographics wise.

The whole company is really a bet that there are enough young & young at heart people willing to pay a premium for a cruise line that caters to them. If Virgin is right, their age demographics shouldn't change too much as they push their prices up. If they are wrong, Virgin will look very different 3-5 years from now than it does today. They'll have to choose between switching the onboard experience to compete in the already existing premium market, whose current demographics are slanted heavily towards retirement age; or they will have to cut expenses to compete at the mainstream price point the majority of young & young at heart cruisers already frequent.

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1 minute ago, Tolkmit said:

Far too soon to know. Maybe in a year will start to see indications of where Virgin is going to end up demographics wise.

The whole company is really a bet that there are enough young & young at heart people willing to pay a premium for a cruise line that caters to them. If Virgin is right, their age demographics shouldn't change too much as they push their prices up. If they are wrong, Virgin will look very different 3-5 years from now than it does today. They'll have to choose between switching the onboard experience to compete in the already existing premium market, whose current demographics are slanted heavily towards retirement age; or they will have to cut expenses to compete at the mainstream price point the majority of young & young at heart cruisers already frequent.

Yes.  I was surprised to see that they apparently met their target demographic on the Christmas sailing I got off last week.  On Oceania ships, I feel like the youngest passenger at 66, on that sailing I felt like the oldest.

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, cantgetin said:

If you ever have Carlos as the Diva, go to every show.

 

Quoted because it bears repeating. Unfortunately, Carlos was my first Diva and he ruined me for everyone else. Absolute pro. 

(In case anyone isn't quite clear on what this means, Carlos is a resident Diva/Drag Queen who runs different entertainment events. Why is he great? He is a fantastic performer (singing/dancing/stand up comedy) and particularly great at tossing jokes back and forth with the audience. For the most part, the other Divas I've seen aren't quite as experienced at the rapid-fire audience engagement.)

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20 hours ago, gsutiger2 said:

With VV prices up significantly,  do you see a difference in the passenger profiles and/ activities offered?

 

I observed that earlier CC posts about VV had reviews/feedback from a large number of Carnival passengers.  I can't help but notice that a lot of the most recent feedback/reviews appear to be from Celebrity like lines or premium cruise lines.

I don't think the higher prices have attracted Celebrity passengers but rather the changes (price increases / cuts) at Celebrity under their new president has longtime Celebrity passengers looking for other options.  With a big focus on food & adults, VV is a natural transition for Celebrity passengers looking for a new home.

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I just returned from Valiant's NYE sailing. I was also on Valiant 9 months ago. The crowd this time was a lot different - many cruisers from Carnival and Royal Caribbean. I heard a couple go on and on about how much they miss Royal Caribbean and how much better it is. I met another couple who told me they were only there because they got a free casino offer. 

 

On the first day (4 hours into the sailing), the men's bathroom by the Galley was covered in vomit. I also saw a woman vomiting on the pier in St. Croix. I saw multiple people walking through the galley without shoes and/or a shirt. I also saw people smoking all throughout the pool deck. Not to mention people were vaping everywhere. 

 

I still had an enjoyable time, but the overall vibe was a lot different this time around. I am sincerely hoping this was due to it being a NYE sailing. I will avoid NYE sailings in the future! 

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1 hour ago, onechaiguy said:

I just returned from Valiant's NYE sailing. I was also on Valiant 9 months ago. The crowd this time was a lot different - many cruisers from Carnival and Royal Caribbean. I heard a couple go on and on about how much they miss Royal Caribbean and how much better it is. I met another couple who told me they were only there because they got a free casino offer. 

 

On the first day (4 hours into the sailing), the men's bathroom by the Galley was covered in vomit. I also saw a woman vomiting on the pier in St. Croix. I saw multiple people walking through the galley without shoes and/or a shirt. I also saw people smoking all throughout the pool deck. Not to mention people were vaping everywhere. 

 

I still had an enjoyable time, but the overall vibe was a lot different this time around. I am sincerely hoping this was due to it being a NYE sailing. I will avoid NYE sailings in the future! 

I booked a TA for November. Hope the demographic changes. Would rather not deal with a lot of vomit. 

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21 minutes ago, basenji56 said:

I booked a TA for November. Hope the demographic changes. Would rather not deal with a lot of vomit. 

There is a big difference between a party crowd for New Year and a longer trip crowd for a transatlantic.

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3 hours ago, onechaiguy said:

I just returned from Valiant's NYE sailing. I was also on Valiant 9 months ago. The crowd this time was a lot different - many cruisers from Carnival and Royal Caribbean. I heard a couple go on and on about how much they miss Royal Caribbean and how much better it is. I met another couple who told me they were only there because they got a free casino offer. 

 

On the first day (4 hours into the sailing), the men's bathroom by the Galley was covered in vomit. I also saw a woman vomiting on the pier in St. Croix. I saw multiple people walking through the galley without shoes and/or a shirt. I also saw people smoking all throughout the pool deck. Not to mention people were vaping everywhere. 

 

I still had an enjoyable time, but the overall vibe was a lot different this time around. I am sincerely hoping this was due to it being a NYE sailing. I will avoid NYE sailings in the future! 

 

Absolutely not my experience on the NYE Scarlet Lady sailing. Because of the weather I didn't spend a lot of time on the pool deck, so I can't really comment as to what our boat had vs yours on that point. 2 people vomiting out of 2500 would not ruin it for me... bad luck that you experienced that. No shirt? No problem if you have something nice to look at. HA! No shoes - gross, but again, I've definitely seen that on Carnival and RCL. So not sure why you'd think that would be a NYE thing vs some other time of year. Maybe weather related? Our sailing was quite cool and rainy, otherwise maybe we would have had more skin showing? 
I honestly thought the NYE sailing was by far one of the best I've done with VV (this was my 6th) with the exception of the fact that Carlos was not the Diva on our sailing (as others have mentioned, he is hands-down the best). The entertainment on board was top notch and the happenings cast was great even though for a lot of them they had been on the boat for a while (I had seen / met many of them when I sailed in September).

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5 hours ago, onechaiguy said:

I just returned from Valiant's NYE sailing. I was also on Valiant 9 months ago. The crowd this time was a lot different - many cruisers from Carnival and Royal Caribbean. I heard a couple go on and on about how much they miss Royal Caribbean and how much better it is. I met another couple who told me they were only there because they got a free casino offer. 

 

On the first day (4 hours into the sailing), the men's bathroom by the Galley was covered in vomit. I also saw a woman vomiting on the pier in St. Croix. I saw multiple people walking through the galley without shoes and/or a shirt. I also saw people smoking all throughout the pool deck. Not to mention people were vaping everywhere. 

 

I still had an enjoyable time, but the overall vibe was a lot different this time around. I am sincerely hoping this was due to it being a NYE sailing. I will avoid NYE sailings in the future! 

It's always interesting how different people have different experiences on a sailing. We are a late 50s/early 60s couple and also just returned from the NYE Valiant sailing. We didn't spend time by the pool, so we didn't experience the atmosphere there. But everywhere else we were on the ship we didn't see the shirtless/shoeless crowd or anyone getting sick. We met straight/gay/lesbian couples from a variety of age groups and demographic backgrounds and almost everyone was already a loyal VV fan. This was our second VV sailing -- we also sailed Valiant in early December 2022. We didn't notice a difference between that cruise demographic or "vibe" and the NYE one. 

 

We'll be back on VV in May for the short four-night Key West itinerary, and I wouldn't be surprised to find a different atmosphere on that sailing since shorter cruises often have a ramped up party crowd. . 

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14 hours ago, basenji56 said:

Yes.  I was surprised to see that they apparently met their target demographic on the Christmas sailing I got off last week.  On Oceania ships, I feel like the youngest passenger at 66, on that sailing I felt like the oldest.

 

 

 

Do you think this would apply to other holiday sailings such as Thanksgiving?

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8 hours ago, Team Stag said:

I don't think the higher prices have attracted Celebrity passengers but rather the changes (price increases / cuts) at Celebrity under their new president has longtime Celebrity passengers looking for other options.  With a big focus on food & adults, VV is a natural transition for Celebrity passengers looking for a new home.

Oh, I did not realize this. This is good to know. So Celebrity has had some changes causing folks to look elsewhere. Got it. I was wondering why such a large influx of VV reviews/feedback in the past few months appears to be a high number of Celebrity folks. Thank you

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Posted (edited)
On 1/7/2024 at 2:58 PM, gsutiger2 said:

With VV prices up significantly,  do you see a difference in the passenger profiles and/ activities offered?

 

I observed that earlier CC posts about VV had reviews/feedback from a large number of Carnival passengers.  I can't help but notice that a lot of the most recent feedback/reviews appear to be from Celebrity like lines or premium cruise lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We're currently on the 4-Night Fire and Sunset Soiree.  Demographic is much younger, upper 20's - 40's predominately. On our 8-Night Eastern Caribbean Antilles for Thanksgiving it was older, median age was more like 55-60.

 

That's pretty standard for short vs. longer cruises. Shorter cruises attract a younger crowd looking for a quick getaway to either chill or party. Longer cruises draw an older demographic. The VV demographic has always mirrored Celebrity as the experiences are somewhat similar. Good food, adult centric, usually good entertainment. Celebrity has the edge on the pools and VV has the edge with more inclusive nature way of sailing. 

 

We were on one of the early sailings in 2021 and the onboard demographic in terms of age hasn't really changed at all. What's changed is how many people are now willing to explore Virgin Voyages because of the wealth of coverage across the social media spectrum. Our group of nearly 30 at Thanksgiving on Valiant included at least 20 "virgins"  who never would have sailed except they were coming with us. Almost all booked a second VV cruise. VV is not as 'scary and weird' as it was in the beginning, now it's becoming a mainstream adult cruise line. 

Edited by CruisingWalter
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