Passenger Wins Free Cruise But Can’t Afford To Claim It!

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An Australian woman has complained about her treatment by Virgin Voyages, after winning a free cruise but being unable to claim it.

Resilient Lady Cruise Ship

The woman, who has hidden her identity and is going by the pseudonym ‘Morgan’, was onboard a Virgin Airlines flight on 16th November 2023, when Sir Richard Branson FaceTimed the plane to let them know that everyone onboard had won a free cruise.

The stunt was to promote the arrival of Resilient Lady in Australia for her inaugural season in the region, operating sailings out of Melbourne around Australia and New Zealand.

However, Virgin had to cancel cruises in Australia due to the tensions in the Red Sea.

Morgan was still offered the chance to claim a free cruise, with alternatives offered in the Caribbean or Mediterranean.

But when she researched the price of flights, she found that it would cost $8,000, more than the value of the cruise at $7,000.

Morgan claims that she spoke to the Virgin customer support team, but they stopped responding to her.

When I clarified this with Virgin’s PR team they stopped responding. We were genuinely shocked, we thought Virgin would provide us with an alternative prize like a flight credit … or they would allow us to rebook on a later season.

Morgan, speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

At the time of writing, the cruise line is continuing to offer a free cruise but has not offered any flight credit or alternatives.

While the cruise line hasn’t commented, the Virgin Australia Group has released a statement:

We apologize to our winners who can no longer redeem their prize due to the cancellation of Virgin Voyages’ Australian and New Zealand cruises amid the conflict in the Red Sea. We are grateful that Virgin Voyages have offered all impacted guests the opportunity to take complimentary cruises on its other international sailings, including in Europe and the Caribbean.


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Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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3 thoughts on “Passenger Wins Free Cruise But Can’t Afford To Claim It!”

  1. It sounds to me like a big Con,by someone who is very Greedy,to get themselves some Free publicity.

  2. Surely the lady could afford a flight to a Med port with a local airline such as Jet2, Ryanair, Easy Jet or Wizz for a cruise worth $10,000 Usually the cruise line will offer a future cruise within a time frame which will suit both parties, after all the other passengers will also have to get to their nominated port under their own steam

  3. Free cruise was a gift, asking for free airfare is being a bit nervy. I think she should just say…”thanks for your gift…..I will always appreciate the opportunity to accept, but I cannot at this time.”

    That would suggest she has some class.

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