Virgin Voyages has postponed its debut until the northern spring of 2021 while temporarily abandoning plans to begin Mediterranean sailings next year.
Richard Branson’s first cruise ship, Scarlet Lady, is now slated to enter service ex PortMiami on 9 May 2021.
The new cruise company had already postponed its debut from mid-2020 to early-2021 due to the pandemic.
Virgin Voyages’ second vessel, Valiant Lady, will buddy up with Scarlet Lady in the Caribbean in November 2021. Valiant Lady was initially intended to commence service from Barcelona, Spain in May next year.
After her first season based in Florida, Valiant Lady will reposition to Europe for the 2022 Mediterranean cruise season.
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“The decision to reschedule the upcoming sail dates serves as a testament to the brand’s commitment of prioritising the health and well-being of its Sailors and Crew, whose safety is always first and foremost,” Virgin Voyages said.
“Virgin Voyages is strongly encouraged by the positive developments surrounding vaccines in the US and abroad, but also recognises the current significant challenges in combating the spread of the virus on land.”
The cruise line is offering passengers impacted by the delayed start “generous and flexible options” for rebooking.
‘First Mates’ (travel advisors) are also being taken care of with commissions protected.
An update on Virgin Voyages’ third ship – that is under construction in Italy and earmarked to enter service in 2022 – including her name and itineraries, is expected in early 2021.