Virgin Voyages to make delayed debut in UK

Virgin Voyages will make its long delayed debut along the English coast instead of the Caribbean.

The adults-only cruise brand has opted to sail from Portsmouth after cancelling inaugural summer sailings from Miami until September.

Six short UK cruises in August have been confirmed by the new line’s first ship Scarlet Lady – which was originally due to make its debut more than a year ago before the Covid pandemic shut down all global cruises.

Prices start at £499 for three nights and £599 for four nights on the ship with no ports of call.

The itineraries start on August 6 with the first of three long weekend departures, while four-night weekday trips start on August 9.

The final UK cruise runs during the week of August 23-27, prior to the bank holiday weekend.

The sailings along the south coast of England will be restricted to UK residents aged 18 or over who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Additional testing and protocols will be confirmed closer to departure “all in line with the most up to date recommendations from the UK government”.

The 2,770-passenger ship will operate at limited capacity for the phased restart from the UK.

The ‘summer soiree series’ of sailings go on sale on April 13.

Entertainment will feature local British talent as the brand runs a “homecoming tour” before repositioning Scarlet Lady to its Miami base.

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson said: “Virgin Voyages has been looking forward to sailings and we’re so excited to announce our plans to sail from the UK.

“Our team has curated such a fantastic experience for our sailors [passengers] and know tis will be a holiday they will love.”

Virgin Voyages president and Chief executive Tom McAlpin added: “After more than a year of waiting and a major emphasis on a safe return, we’re ecstatic to announced these new sailings and bring sailors on board to experience what it’s like to sail the Virgin way.

“We look at our new UK summer voyages as a homecoming to pay homage to our British roots and what an excellent way to kick-off our sailing season before heading to PortMiami.”

Virgin Voyages becomes the latest cruise company to confirm UK coastal cruising tis summer, joining others such as Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Riviera Travel, Saga and Viking.

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