(2:37 p.m. EDT) – Virgin Voyages has announced it is suspending cruises until October 16 as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and is introducing generous measures to ensure booked guests continue to sail with the line once it enters service.
In a statement, Virgin notes that all passengers — which it calls “sailors” — on affected voyages will receive a 200 percent future cruise credit, equivalent to double the amount currently paid by booked guests. It is a sum that is among the most generous in the industry where 125 or even 100 percent are standard.
Passengers booked on affected voyages aboard Scarlet Lady also have the option to request a 100 percent refund, which will also come with a 25 percent future cruise credit to be used on a future booking.
Passengers who choose to use their future cruise credit on a new booking made prior to June 30, 2020 will also receive up to $500 onboard credit.
Virgin is also relaxing final payment deadlines for voyages departing through December 16, 2020. Final payment will now be due 60 days prior to sailing (up from the standard 120 days), and Virgin is allowing passengers to cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a 100 percent future cruise credit as part of the company’s Smooth Sailing program.
Virgin Voyages also revealed that the official naming ceremony and maiden voyage for Scarlet Lady will now take place in early 2021 but did not set an official date.
Virgin’s new, adult-only debut vessel was scheduled to make its maiden voyage just as the coronavirus pandemic swept Europe and North America, resulting in the company’s initial decision to postpone sailings until mid-July. Its Maiden Voyage had, at the time, been rescheduled for August 7.
A call to the company’s reservations center was met with a friendly but firm response that booked passengers would have to wait until tomorrow for rebooking assistance. Cruise Critic has two separate voyages booked onboard Scarlet Lady.
Cruise Critic was among the first to see the ship during a short press stint in the UK prior to the temporary postponement of the vessel’s inaugural season.
This story will be updated with further details as they develop.
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