New Cruise Line Launched For Remote ‘Workers,’ Months Long

Virgin Voyages, a Miami-based cruise line owned by Sir Richard Branson, has launched a new initiative targeting remote workers with the introduction of the “Scarlet Summer Season Pass.” This innovative offering comprises four week-long cruises bundled together, allowing remote workers the opportunity to spend an entire month at sea exploring southern Europe. The move comes in response to the growing trend of flexible work arrangements and aims to cater to travelers seeking a unique blend of work and vacation.

According to Nirmal Saverimuttu, CEO of Virgin Voyages, the flexible working model has gained significant traction, particularly among travelers who view the Season Pass as an exceptional value.

The package, priced at $9,990, includes accommodations for two, encompassing meals, group fitness classes, Wi-Fi, laundry services, daily coffee and tea credits, and access to dedicated workspaces. This bundled approach offers a 30% cost saving compared to booking the cruises individually, as detailed on Virgin’s website.

An appealing aspect of the Season Pass is its flexibility in allowing passengers to change travel companions for different segments of the journey, adhering to Virgin Voyages’ adults-only policy. This flexibility adds to the attractiveness of the offer for remote workers looking for a unique way to integrate work and leisure.

The Season Pass announcement saw a remarkable response, with over 2,000 people registering their interest within the first 24 hours. This overwhelming demand led to the sell-out of available spots for the month-long cruise in just 48 hours after bookings opened. The cruise itinerary includes popular destinations like Cannes, Rome, and Ibiza, showcasing the diverse appeal of the program.

Virgin Voyages decided to expand the offering by including a second ship for the summer, allowing more remote workers to experience this unique opportunity. The cruises will take place aboard the Scarlet Lady and Resilient Lady ships, each capable of accommodating approximately 2,700 guests, and are scheduled from June to September.

The concept for the Season Pass was directly inspired by Sir Richard Branson, who noticed a trend of passengers taking extended trips while working remotely on Virgin’s ships.

The program’s success is attributed to Branson’s insight into consumer desires, reinforcing his reputation for innovation in the travel and leisure industry.

KPMG’s chief economist, Diane Swonk, highlighted the broader shift towards remote work since the COVID-19 pandemic as a significant factor in the popularity of such programs. She emphasized that the work-from-home trend is irreversible, with companies that attempt to revert to traditional work models risking losing access to top talent and workforce diversity.

Most of the digital workers who have booked the cruise are reported to be in their mid-50s, employed in full-time remote roles. This demographic reflects the wide appeal of combining work with the leisure and exploration opportunities offered by cruise travel.

CNBC Travel


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