Virgin Voyages Launches Month-Long European Cruise Aimed At Remote Workers

Featuring stops in party-hearty destinations like Ibiza, Rome and Cannes.

(Virgin Voyages)

Virgin Voyages, the adults-only cruise line owned by billionaire Richard Branson, is now targeting remote workers among its seafaring clientele.

The Miami-based cruise line recently introduced a month-long cruise called the “Scarlet Summer Season Pass.” The deal spans four week-long cruises packaged together to appeal to remote workers who want to spend a month at sea in southern Europe.

“People have really adopted the flexible working style, and it resonates with travelers,” Virgin Voyages’ CEO Nirmal Saverimuttu told CNBC Travel. “We got a lot of people who said it feels like an incredible value.”  

The Scarlet Summer Season Pass covers two people and costs $9,990. The rate includes a room, meals, group fitness classes and Wi-Fi, plus laundry services, daily coffee and tea and access to workspaces.

The “Season Pass” is 30% cheaper than booking four week-long cruises back to back, according to Virgin’s website. Travelers can also swap out travel companions for different legs of the cruise.

Within 24 hours of announcing the Season Pass, more than 2,000 people registered interest in it, reports CNBC Travel. When bookings opened, spots on the month-long cruise—which stops in party-hearty destinations like Ibiza, Rome and Cannes—sold out in just 48 hours.

That immediate interest spurred Virgin Voyages to open additional spots for remote workers on a second cruise ship this summer. The “Season Pass” cruises will sail on Virgin’s Scarlet Lady and Resilient Lady ships, each of which can accommodate about 2,700 guests. Cruises are scheduled to sail from June to September 2024.

“We are in the midst of a massive transformation in how, what, and where we do our jobs,” KPMG’s chief economist, Diane Swonk, told CNBC Travel. “There is no putting the work-from-home genie back in the bottle. Firms who try too aggressively to do so lose a lot of their access to top talent and the diversity of their workforce.”

Saverimuttu said most of the digital workers who have booked the cruise are in their mid-50s and are employed in full-time remote roles. He said the idea for the program came from Branson himself, after he learned passengers were taking long trips while working remotely on Virgin Voyages ships.

He attributed the program’s quickly growing popularity to Branson’s “magic touch” for understanding today’s consumers.“The response has really been phenomenal. It’s really surprised us,” he said. “But you know, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised because it was one of Richard’s ideas.”

CNBC Travel

While the Scarlet Lady aims to be a stylish upgrade of the typical cruise ship experience, life at sea isn’t for everyone. Novelist Gary Shteyngart’s recent Atlantic feature about “seven agonizing nights” aboard Royal Caribbean’s new Icon of the Seas comically details his nautical nightmare on the world’s biggest cruising vessel.