In a life-changing marketing stunt, Sir Richard Branson has gifted more than 150 passengers onboard a Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne to Hobart a free Virgin Voyages sailing to celebrate the cruise line’s arrival in Australia next month.
A Facetime call from the founder of Virgin over the plane’s PA system left passengers stunned when they were told they would each receive a free holiday worth up to $7,000.
“We’re counting down to Virgin Voyages’ arrival Downunder – setting sail the Virgin way with adults-only itineraries across Australia and New Zealand. Sorry kids, you’ll have to sit this one out,” Branson announced over the plane’s PA system.
“Well, today, you happen to be travelling on the same route as our Aussie MerMaiden Voyage! To celebrate this milestone, I’m pleased to gift each adult onboard a FREE Virgin Voyages cruise,” he said.
The flight was selected as it is representative of the same route Resilient Lady (Virgin Voyages’ Australian ship) will sail on her maiden voyage, leaving her homeport, Melbourne’s Station Pier, on 11 December 2023.
Guests on board the flight were delighted with one couple, seen in the video release by Virgin Voyages, joking about organising the surprise as part of their anniversary.
Prior to the flight boarding, the departure gate at Melbourne Airport was transformed into Sir Richard Branson’s RockStar Quarters – a luxury cabin onboard the ship featuring a hot tub, hammock and a sea view.
In an unexpected twist, just before the door was closed on the plane, Branson also surprised the cabin crew, ground crew, baggage handlers and pilots on the flight by gifting them a free cruise for their efforts in bringing joy to the loyal Virgin Australia passengers.
Resilient Lady is the third of four new vessels in the latest offering from the Branson-founded cruise line, that aims to appeal to people who would never have dreamed of setting foot on a cruise ship, throwing out traditional cruising in favour of adults-only ships inspired by “super yacht glamour”. This means more than 20 elite restaurants, Edinburgh Fringe-quality entertainment, poolside dance parties, ‘wellness’ pools and fancy fitness classes.
“The foundations of Virgin Australia were about keeping the air fair, and we’re proud to be taking that same mantra to the sea with Virgin Voyages,” Branson said. “We want to give Aussies the opportunity to have an affordable, stress-free holiday where they can take a well-earned break, have fun and get a dose of vitamin sea”.
Virgin Australia Chief Marketing Officer, Libby Minogue said the airline was delighted to create a wonderful experience for guests to celebrate Virgin Voyages’ arrival. “We are laser-focused on creating wonderful experiences for our guests, and today is a great example of the Virgin brands joining forces to deliver Australians new experiences in the air or at sea,” she said.
“The feeling in the gate lounge and onboard the flight was electric, and we look forward to welcoming Virgin Voyages down under”.
For those who were not lucky enough to score a free holiday, Virgin Voyages has given the entire country a reason to celebrate by announcing exclusive new rates to mark the inaugural sailing season.
Cabins are on sale now starting from $149 per person / per night and a bonus $1000 of inclusions, including entertainment, fitness classes, wifi, tips and essential drinks – making it cheaper than ever to hit the high seas on Resilient Lady.
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