Virgin Voyages will offer guests the chance to take a VIP tour of the shipyard where its vessels are under construction as part of its Mediterranean land activities.
The adults-only cruise line has three ships in its fleet – Scarlet Lady, which launched in early 2020 but due to the pandemic is yet to sail its maiden paying passenger cruise; Valiant Lady, which recently completed its sea trials ahead of an imminent handover; and Resilient Lady, flagged for service entry in August 2022.
Each vessel was, or is, being constructed at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa, Italy.
Shane Riley, Associate Vice President – International Sales said many people were “really curious” about the construction of ships and were seeking a behind-the-scenes experience.
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“We thought it’s a perfect opportunity whilst we do have ships in construction to go on a VIP experience and see one of the Ladies, [and] learn their story.”
Riley told travel advisors in Australia participating in a Facebook Live training session last week that Virgin Voyages is already forecasting its unique shipyard tour will “prove really, really popular”.
Dubbed “Shore Things”, Virgin Voyages’ shore excursions will be categorised as either; Relaxing, Energetic, Cultured, Daring, Once in a Lifetime and Richard’s Shortlist. Riley described the latter as being a hand-picked experience by Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, such as a private yacht transfer to a private island, or arriving at a beach on a helicopter.
Each Shore Thing promises to be exclusive to Virgin; available for all people (regardless of any disability); surprisingly authentic; empower entrepreneurship and stray the course.
Riley explained that Virgin Voyages was unlocking experiences that were not run-of-the-mill, and gave local entrepreneurs the chance to introduce something new to that market. Shore Things that are focused on sustainability and responsible for tourism, and with partners that adhered to strict requirements and who must agree to a code of conduct and treating employees fairly.
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Small groups will be the name of the game, catering for typically between 15-20 people maximum.
“We don’t want you to be in a group of 60 where you’ve got an earpiece.”
Riley said the majority of Virgin Voyages’ Shore Things are under US$150 per person.
“We’re creating these for limited numbers because the experience is so unique,” he said, adding that the Shore Things will be designed to sell out.
Virgin Voyages’ guests (dubbed “Sailors”) will be able to book Shore Things between 60 and 90 days before their cruise departure.
On top of the generous 16% commission on the cruise, travel advisors will receive 10% commission on Shore Excursions pre-booked online or through the Virgin Voyages app. Shore Things commission is paid on completion of a Sailor’s voyage.
Lead image: Virgin Voyages/Facebook