Virgin Voyages has opened its portal for travel agents for
registration and is promoting it with a sweepstakes offer of private tea with
founder Richard Branson.
In keeping with its disdain for traditional cruise
nomenclature, Virgin will refer to travel sellers as "First Mates"
rather than travel agents.
"Onboard a ship, a First Mate is the Captain's most
trusted confidant and right hand, which is how we see our travel partners,"
said Stacy Shaw, vice president of sales and business development for Virgin
Voyages. "We are calling all travel sellers looking for a fresh option for
their customers and a simple approach to business to join us on our journey as
a First Mate."
The portal will be reachable online at Firstmates.com
starting Feb. 5. Virgin will conduct an immersive learning "Cabin Fever"
day on Feb. 6. Bookings through
Firstmates.com will open Feb. 14, although agents with clients holding presale
deposits can contact the Sailor Services team starting Feb. 5.
First Mates who are registered with Virgin by the opening
of bookings on Feb. 14 are eligible to win a date for tea with Branson, the
charismatic founder of all things Virgin.
The line's first ship, the Scarlet Lady, will sail the Caribbean during its inaugural season.
By mid-February, Virgin said it will reveal more information
about essential elements of its onboard experience, as well as details about
how it will be working with First Mates.