Fourteen Transat Distribution Canada (TDC) advisors from across the country have become the first to take part in an exclusive “Raise your Sales” FAM trip aboard Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady, that departed from Miami on 05OCT.
Sandra Wesson, Director of Industry Relations for TDC, accompanied the group, and says the difference in Virgin Voyages' cruise experience was immediately obvious. "Cruise lovers will be very excited to discover what Virgin Voyages has to offer: an inclusive and diverse, adults-only experience, with an average "Sailor" age of 45 years of age, where everyone young and young-at-heart can enjoy a safe and enjoyable cruise experience. You won’t be constrained by any dress code," she added, "and the pace of the trip is set by the Sailor themselves via an app that allows everyone to make the most out of their cruise experience".
Wesson says the cruise line's app made a big impression on the group of agents.
"The Virgin Voyages app is very well designed and super easy to use. Sailors can create their own personalized agenda. For example, they can book or modify their attendance to one of the many shows, group fitness classes or dining reservations and invite other Sailors in their party or just met on board. Reminders pop up on your phone when it’s time to head to the next event on your agenda. There is something to do almost 24/7, and everything is listed on the app. There are no announcements throughout the ship, which conveys a calm and relaxing onboard experience, and allows everyone to manage their trip as they wish."
She noted that there is no traditional Cruise Director on board, instead the entertainment is managed by the ship's "Happenings Cast" of 14 crew members, who each individually oversee specific activities on the ship – from shopping to gaming to fitness and much more.
Another big difference the FAM adjusted to was the F&B experience. Traditional buffets are replaced by a food court concept, the Galley, where each traveller chooses what they want to eat from a variety of mini menus via a QR code at the table, and their meal is brought out prepared to order. Instead of a main dining room, 13 specialized restaurants offer travellers interactive dining experiences such as Korean BBQ and a Test Kitchen featuring tasting menus paired with wine or spirits.
Wesson adds that "the stay becomes truly all-inclusive with the Bar Tab option, a package that allows access to premium spirits and cocktails at reasonable prices", because all essential non-alcoholic drinks are already included, as well as tips, dining, group exercise classes and Wi-Fi options.
Life on board the Scarlet Lady
After a quick check-in, the FAM group was issued identification wristbands, which served as their ID card, room key and payment card on board, as well as at the private Bimini Beach Resort. The staff, drawn from around the world, was found to be very warm and welcoming, and the crew trades in their white striped lapels for comfortable t-shirts and pants.
TDC Group's Reaction to the Virgin Voyages' FAM
The 14 travel professionals who took part in the exclusive TDC Network FAM were "thrilled with the atmosphere on the ship," according to TDC.
They were able to attest to the exceptional quality of the food served on board, the attentive service and the wide range of services and activities offered.
Wesson says that, "most of the travel professionals present knew exactly who they were going to be offering this experience to: adults looking for a more sophisticated, adult atmosphere, those who value health and wellness, and those who want to set the pace for their own vacation.”
The two mornings of classroom training, conducted by Adam from the ship’s Future Sales Team, allowed the group to dive deep and to understand the cruise line’s value proposition, Sailor demographics, in addition to enjoying a visit from Captain Giovanni and the senior officers. There were also a few surprises and delights throughout the sailing.
Transat Distribution Canada added Virgin Voyages to their list of preferred partners in SEP 2020.