Going on vacation can often mean a boatload of unanticipated expenses, but Virgin Voyages is looking to mitigate that.
Going on vacation can often mean a boatload of unanticipated expenses, but Virgin Voyages is looking to mitigate that—at least when it comes to tipping.
On Monday, the company announced that its debut ship, Scarlet Lady, will have a gratuity-free policy. That means that when it comes to meals at each of the 20-plus restaurants on board, all of which are included in the price of booking, guests will not have to worry about adding on a service fee (though they can add an additional tip on board if they so choose.) This policy will also apply to all other services and experiences on the ship.
When and how much to tip can be a major question among cruise travelers, particularly when many eateries are already complimentary. Other major cruise lines offer the option for guests to pre-pay for gratuities before sailing or add a gratuity fee at the end, but an explicit no-tipping policy will make the Scarlet Lady an even more unique cruising experience than it already promises to be.
The ship is scheduled to set sail in the Caribbean in 2020, and reservations are only open to travelers who are 18 and up. In addition to some unorthodox on-board amenities like a tattoo parlor and a blow-dry bar, there will be a strong focus on cuisine, with a variety of restaurants across the regional spectrum.
Virgin partnered with AvroKO Hospitality Group, which owns New York City hot spots Saxon + Parole, Genuine Liquorette and Ghost Donkey, to execute the restaurant concepts. On-board eateries include Wake, a steak and seafood restaurant, Pink Agave, a taqueria inspired by the streets of Mexico City, Razzle Dazzle, a vegetable-focused restaurant that will host a drag brunch, as well as a food hall, 24-hour dinner, pizza joint and a test kitchen.
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“When working with the Virgin Voyages team, we were inspired by some of the best dining spots around the world but also had to gaze into what the future of dining would look like to bring the most alluring restaurant concepts to sea,” says AvroKO’s executive chef Brad Farmerie. “Each restaurant will not only serve delicious food, they will also have a unique vibe and energy to them to satiate sailor’s hunger for excitement and restoration while on vacation.”
The Scarlet Lady will cruise out of Miami in its inaugural season and will hold over 2,770 passengers.