Virgin Voyages’ cruise ship Scarlet Lady is finally set to make her debut over a year later than planned, on a series of UK sailings this summer.
Sir Richard Branson’s cruise line was due to launch last year with the ship even making a UK appearance, but weeks later the pandemic hit and global restrictions saw the cruise industry brought to a halt.
Over a year later, cruise enthusiasts can finally get a taste of what the adults-only ship will offer with six ‘Summer Soiree Series’ planned throughout August, all sailing from Portsmouth.
There will be a choice of two itineraries – Long Weekender and Summer WeekDaze – sailing along the southern coast of England with no ports of call.
The sailings will open for UK residents only from April 13 on virginvoyages.com. The cruise line has said that passengers will need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to be allowed on board.
Scarlet Lady had originally made an appearance at Southampton back in February when we got a sneak peek on board with everything from the lavish rockstar-inspired suites to the tattoo parlour (yep, really!).
Other highlights will include a 220 square foot of triple netting where guests can bask in the sunshine, and over 20 bars and restaurants serving everything from burgers to drag-themed brunches.
“After more than a year of waiting and a major emphasis on a safe return, we’re ecstatic to announce these new sailings and bring Sailors onboard to experience what it’s like to set sail the Virgin Way,” said Tom McAlpin, CEO and President of Virgin Voyages.
“We look at our 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 back to PortMiami.”
Scarlet Lady will usually homeport in Miami and was originally planned to sail on a host of Caribbean itineraries.
However, ongoing travel restrictions because of the pandemic mean that there is currently a ‘no sail order’ in the USA, not to mention that global restrictions continue to wreak havoc on the cruise industry.
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There is hope that domestic cruises in the UK could resume from May as part of England’s lockdown roadmap, with May 17 expected to be the earliest date that they could return.
As a result, heaps of cruise lines are offering UK sailings for the summer including the likes of Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI’s Marella Cruises.
Like Virgin Voyages, a number of companies including P&O Cruises, Saga and Princess Cruises have said they will only open the sailings to UK residents who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.