Sir Richard Branson stunned more than 150 passengers yesterday when he announced he was giving everyone on board a free cruise with Virgin Voyages.
The gesture, made to passengers on a Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne to Hobart yesterday, was announced to celebrate the cruise line’s arrival in Australia next month.
Resilient Lady will dock in Australia for the first time on 4 December in Sydney, before heading to Melbourne for the ‘MerMaiden Voyage’ on 11 December 2023.
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard will be in Australia to celebrate the launch.
“We’re counting down to Virgin Voyages’ arrival Down Under – setting sail the Virgin way with adults-only itineraries across Australia and New Zealand. Sorry kids, you’ll have to sit this one out,” Sir Richard 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.”
Richard Branson also extended the free cruise invitation to Virgin Australia cabin crew, ground crew, baggage handlers and pilots working on the flight.
Virgin said the giveaway is worth over $1m AUS (more than £500,000).
Prior to the flight boarding, the departure gate at Melbourne Airport was transformed into Sir Richard’s RockStar Quarters, the luxury cabin on the ship.
Virgin Australia Chief Marketing Officer Libby Minogue said: “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.”