Virgin Voyages Postpones Inaugural Cruise Amid Global Coronavirus Outbreak (Video)
"While this isn’t the time for us to meet on the spectacular Scarlet Lady, it will be soon."
The highly-anticipated inaugural Virgin Voyages cruise has been delayed as coronavirus continues to spread.
The Scarlet Lady, the cruise line’s first ship which was scheduled to set sail in April, is now postponed to August 7.
A message to ticket holders — known as "sailors" — from Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin obtained by Travel + Leisure reads, "at this time, much of our attention is focused, rightly, on the current global health crisis. We understand that this is affecting us all in different ways and making many people rethink upcoming cruise plans."
Their Showcase Tour launch is also postponed to July 15.
The news follows the recent travel advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and US State Department against boarding cruise ships while the coronavirus outbreak spreads. Fellow company, Princess Cruises has also paused operations for the next 60 days in light of the virus' spread.
“This is a once in a lifetime launch and a once in a lifetime customer experience, and we will do it together when we can all feel free to enjoy ourselves,” the message read. “To expand on our commitment to fostering the best environment for our Sailors, Virgin Voyages is working with relevant parties to research new technologies that will help to expedite health screenings and make people feel safe.”
The move comes out of a precaution as they've confirmed there are no health incidents regarding the crew on board.
Passengers who already booked tickets for a canceled cruise can opt to receive a 200 percent future voyage credit, good for double what they paid for the original booking. Those who rebook their cruise before June 30 will also receive up to $500 in onboard credit. If a customer opts for a full refund, they will also receive a 25 percent credit good for a future cruise booking.
The Scarlet Lady is just the first ship in Virgin Voyages’ debut, which will expand over the next few years. A second ship, the Valiant Lady, is set to join the fleet in 2021.
"Despite what we are facing, travel will always be a way for us to connect with one another and open ourselves up to new ideas and ways of thinking. So while this isn’t the time for us to meet on the spectacular Scarlet Lady, it will be soon. We can’t wait to see you on board," the letter concluded.
Read the whole letter below:
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