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Published on Thursday, March 12, 2020

Virgin Voyages delays inaugural season

Virgin Voyages has delayed its inaugural sailing season but insists it has 'absolutely no health issues' on board its ships.

It said it has taken 'the very difficult decision' to postpone the Showcase Tour launch and inaugural sailing season for Scarlet Lady until July 15, 2020, with its Maiden Voyage taking place August 7, 2020.

It comes as Princess Cruises and Viking Cruises both suspended cruises until May and the UK Government tells Brits over 70 to avoid cruise holidays.

Virgin Voyages, which has been in development for seven years, said it realised many people were rethinking upcoming cruise plans in light of the global health crisis.

It is offering customers a range of options from a full refund and a voyage credit to 'extra special bonuses' if they book a future sailing.

"For those who would have sailed regardless of the global headlines, we appreciate this will be disappointing news," said Sir Richard Branson and Tom McAlpin in a joint statement.

"We are so grateful for your belief in us, and we hope you will join us when the time is right. We want to assure you that we have absolutely no health issues aboard our ship and have elevated protocols in place as we continue to put your well-being first.

"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."

They said the cruise line was already working with relevant parties to research new technologies that will help to expedite health screenings and make people feel safe.

"Developments are ongoing and the hope is to identify this opportunity over the course of the next month," said the statement.

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