Virgin Voyages is perhaps one of the most attention-grabbing cruise lines in the industry. From cruise ships that look unique from anything else out there to completely transforming the onboard experience (adults only, no buffets, extras like tips and wi-fi already included in the fare), the line has changed the way that many people cruise.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the cruise line is also doing things differently when it comes to its loyalty program.
Most cruise line loyalty programs are simple. You sail on the cruise line, and the more nights sailed, the higher status you earn. But frankly, the rewards are usually limited until you’ve cruised a considerable number of nights.
Now, Virgin hasn’t rolled out its program — Virgin Voyages Sailing Club — just yet (it’s scheduled to debut in 2023). But they have announced an offer ahead of that debut that’s providing quite a few perks to passengers.
Two Major Perks Offered Through 2022
Not everyone is eligible for the newly announced perks (more details in a moment). But if you are eligible, then they can be a big draw.
The first perk is called “Deep Blue Extras.” If you book and sail by the end of the year, then you’ll receive all the following benefits:
- VIP boarding with dedicated line
- Premium wi-fi
- Invite to a cocktail event
- $10 in coffee credit per day
- A bottle of champagne on the house
- Dedicated support on the ship
- Free laundry service
In addition, Virgin is also offering another set of perks known as “Red Hot Booking Bonus Months.” In this case if you book a new trip through November 15, then you’re eligible for even more freebies. This includes:
- $200 in onboard credit
- 2-4x as many “tokens” per dollar spent*
- Eligibility to win Virgin travel getaways
(*Virgin Voyages new loyalty program will seemingly use tokens as a feature. The cruise line says that tokens “will fast-track you to the highest and most luxurious recognition possible.”)
Who Is Eligible For This Deal
Free champagne, hundreds in onboard credit, VIP boarding? What’s not to like?
Unfortunately, not every passenger will be eligible for these benefits ahead of the new loyalty program. Put simply, you need to either have sailed Virgin Voyages before, or have a high status with another cruise line or airline.
Specifically, Virgin Voyages says three different groups will qualify for the perks:
Sea Blazers: These are passengers who sailed with the cruise line in 2021. These passengers will also have a $125 “Bar Tab Bonus” for life.
Sea-Rovers: Passengers who sailed with Virgin Voyages twice in 2022. Benefits start on the third voyage. In addition, they also receive a $100 “Bar Tab Bonus” through 2024.
Match and Sea More: If you have status with another cruise line then Virgin will match it, making you eligible for the new perks. However, you need relatively high-tier status to qualify. For example, Carnival VIFP members need to be Diamond or higher. Royal Caribbean members also need to be Diamond or higher.
Unfortunately, this means that many cruise passengers won’t be able to take advantage of the new offer. However, for those that can, it’s a strong incentive to book before the end of the year.
Virgin Voyages Also Drops Vaccine Rules
Virgin Voyages also just unveiled one more piece of news — a tweak to their vaccination rules that makes it easier to sail unvaccinated.
Many cruise lines have shifted this month to no longer requiring Covid vaccination to sail. Virgin says it will no longer require the shot on trips beginning September 18 for cruises aboard Valiant Lady and September 21 for trips aboard Scarlet Lady.
If you plan to sail and aren’t vaccinated, then you will need to bring a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of boarding. There is also testing at the terminal available for $30.
Crew members will still be 100% vaccinated. You can read more about the cruise line’s current protocols here.