Virgin Voyages announced last week that onboard gratuities will be included in the cruise fare.  This means that guests (called Sailors) won’t be charged the usual daily service fee.  Plus, all of the 20+ specialty restaurants are complimentary.  The cruise fare includes dining in all the restaurants.

The ever-changing daily service fee charged by almost all cruise lines has been source of griping for a lot of cruisers.  By rolling the fees into the cost of the ticket, the discussion about who onboard gets what percentage will end.  Also ending will be the lengthy last night queue at the Front Desk when people demand that the “automatic but optional” gratuities be removed from their account.

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No-tipping policy detailed

In the words of Virgin Voyages, they are “abolishing a major pain point for consumers — gratuities”.  The base ticket fare for all Virgin Voyages cruises will include all restaurants, group fitness classes, basic beverages and now gratuities. They went on to say “this is not tied to a short-term promotion.”  Meaning…it’s how they do business.

Scarlet Lady Test Kitchen - Virgin Voyages Includes Gratuities
The Test Kitchen, inspired by Escoffier’s Ma Cuisine is like the name implies; a hands-on setting with cooking classes, cocktail mixing and more. And with no additional fee. (Rendering: Virgin Voyages)

While the no-tipping policy is the norm, guests can give a crew member, from stateroom attendant to bartender, an added tip to acknowledge good service.

No more having to decide to pre-pay gratuities before your cruise, either.  The no-tipping policy aboard Scarlet Lady takes away the guess work.

READ NEXT:  Virgin Announces Scarlet Lady Itineraries

Relaxed deposits and penalties

Yet another game-changing policy applies to when you book your cruise.  Unlike other cruise lines, Virgin Voyages revealed that for most common issues, there will be no penalties or change fees.

Put your stateroom on hold for 24-hours without a deposit.  If you decide to book, you will pay a 20-percent non-refundable deposit, with a seven-day grace period.  That should help ease any buyer’s remorse.  Unlike mainstream cruise lines, if you need a name change or adjust your sailing date, no problem.  There are no fees or penalties for those changes.

Dining in Scarlet Lady specialty restaurants is included in the cruise fare.
At Scarlet Lady’s elegant Wake Restaurant, there’s no service fee. (Rendering: Virgin Voyages)

With Virgin’s no-tipping policy, no fees for dining at all the restaurants, complimentary basic beverages and so much more, it propels this new cruise line into a world of its own.

Reservations for Scarlet Lady open on Valentine’s Day and you must be 18 years or older.  The ship is scheduled to begin cruising the Caribbean in 2020.

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