Will Virgin Voyages make crew life better than the rest of the Cruise Lines?

Apr 07, 2017

Sir Richard Branson once said “Clients don’t come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Now his philosophy towards the employees he will try to incorporate on his start-up cruise line Virgin Voyages.

On the Linkedin profile, Virgin Voyages posted “Attention Ship Crew...tell us what you really think!!!! Virgin Voyages is on a mission to change cruising for good and this begins with our Crew Members. We’d like to invite ship crew members to click the link and complete a brief survey. Tell us how to deliver the best crew experience possible. As Richard Branson says it best “What makes Virgin different? The simple answer is our people.” Help us make your time on board brilliant!”

The new cruise line promises to make huge waves in the cruise industry and with this survey they mean business.

Virgin wants to know what the future and seasoned crew thinks about the contract lengths, life aboard, room arrangements, internet access, food, pay and more.

I had an opportunity to work for several cruise lines before I retire, and like most crew members I know the positive and negative sides of working on a cruise ship. As most of you know, at the end of each contract crew is given comment cards where we rate each aspect of life onboard. However, there is not much effort by the major cruise lines to change something about our crew life. As if these comment cards are thrown in the garbage.

What is the first thing you will change about the crew member’s life on board? I know many of you will say the crew mess food. You might be right because the food for crew sucks. However, you can’t satisfied the taste of people coming from 60 different countries.

In my opinion one thing that needs to be changed, and I think it will be considered by Virgin Voyages is the relationship between the supervisors and the crew. As many of you know some supervisors are big TROSO and are bullying the crew members to a point where they quit. These supervisors are incompetent people who can’t take out the best of their team. Unfortunately, there are a lot of supervisors on the cruise ships matching this description. 

Fair pay is another topic that needs to be addressed. Some of the crew that works the toughest jobs, like cooks, utility, and dishwashers have ridiculously low salaries, and this needs to change. In the past 5 years, cruise lines have also changed the payment system for the tipping positions. Before, as a waiter you knew how much from the guest gratuities goes to your account, Now there is payment system by levels and sales and comment… leaving crew to wonder if they are paid their fair share.

Three years ago I read Richard Branson’s inspiring book “Screw it, Let’s do it” where he talks about the lessons that helped him through his business and one thing is certain this man can change everything for better, even the cruise industry.

What is the first thing you will change about the life on board?