Virgin Voyages Issues Serious Warning Against Unauthorized Practices

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Virgin Voyages, the adults-only cruise line, has issued a stern warning to its “First Mates,” travel agents and advisors, regarding unauthorized solicitation and rebating activities occurring on its ships.

The cruise line owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group sent an email to First Mates on May 21, emphasizing that such practices are prohibited and could result in the cancellation of First Mate accounts or even a ban from sailing on Virgin Voyages ships.

John Diorio, vice president of North American sales for Virgin Voyages, signed the email outlining several key actions the company is actively working to stop. He highlighted the importance of maintaining fair business practices and preserving the integrity of the partnership between the cruise line and travel agents.

Scarlet Lady Cruise Ship
Scarlet Lady Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

“We are actively monitoring these tactics and reserve the right to cancel your First Mate account and, in extreme cases, limit or cancel your ability to sail,” Diorio stated in the email. “We do not think the [actions] are in the spirit of a good partnership or fair to your industry colleagues and we just can’t allow them to continue.”

The email follows ongoing complaints from guests, travel agents, and crew members made to the cruise line, prompting the need for a reminder of the company’s policies. It stressed that all travel agents and advisors must comply with the Ticket Contract through Virgin Voyages.

Virgin VOyages Cracking Down on Unauthorized Practices

Virgin Voyages’ email to travel agents outlined specific activities that are strictly prohibited. These include First Mates soliciting cruisers in social media groups and asking them to transfer their bookings from another First Mate or Virgin Voyages to them or asking them to purchase My Next Virgin Voyage placeholders for them.

The email reminded travel agents that onboard solicitation is also banned, including leaving business cards, branded items, and flyers around any ships or terminals promoting a travel agency, which is strictly prohibited.

Additionally, casually meeting cruisers in line at the My Next Virgin Voyage desk and offering to “help” them but instead asking them to transfer the sailing to them is also not allowed.

Brilliant Lady Cruise Ship
Brilliant Lady Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: UrAvgPhoto)

Virgin Voyages also addressed the issue of rebating, where agents offer a part of their commission back to clients. This practice is seen as giving guests a higher perceived value than booking directly through the cruise line or another agent. This practice is included in the warning.

The cruise line reiterated its commitment to working with the majority of travel agents who adhere to the rules and taking necessary measures to stop the minority who do not.

Read Also: Virgin Launches All-in-One Packages to Solve Traveler Confusions

Virgin Voyages’ fleet comprises 110,000-gross-ton sister ships, Miami-based Scarlet Lady, Barcelona-based Valiant Lady, and Athens-based Resilient Lady. Each ship can accommodate up to 2,700 passengers and 1,160 crew members.

First offering cruises post-pandemic with Scarlett Lady, which sails in the Caribbean, the cruise line will launch its fourth ship, Brilliant Lady, in 2025. The North American-based ship will operate out of Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle and will be the first Virgin Voyages ship to travel to Alaska.

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