Virgin Voyages extends cruise pause into 2021, joining several other lines

Scarlet Lady, the first cruise ship from Virgin Voyages, will not resume cruises until January, 2021, according to a letter sent from the cruise line to travel agents.

In a letter to travel agents, Virgin Voyages said that due to the epidemiological situation regarding COVID-19, it could foresee being able to resume cruises from the US before the end of the year.

Scarlet Lady will not begin cruising from US until January, 2021.

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On its website, the cruise line has now updated its itineraries to reflect a first departure from Miami for Scarlet Lady on January 3, 2021.

The 5-day cruise will sail roundtrip from Miami, visiting Puerto Plata and Bimini, where Virgin Voyages private beach club is located.

Scarlet Lady is the first of a planned four ‘Lady ships’ for Virgin Voyages. She was delivered in early 2020, and was due to debut in Miami in March just before the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic.

Although was sailed to Miami following a series of preview voyages from the UK, she has since been returned to Europe.

Unlike Celebrity Cruises, which repositioned its new ship Celebrity Apex in the Caribbean ahead of an anticipated return to service, Scarlet Lady has shown no signs of preparing to resume service.

Scarlet Lady was delivered to Virgin Voyages just before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The move by Virgin Voyages makes it the latest of a growing list of big ship cruise lines to cancel voyages into 2021, despite some optimism earlier this month that a resumption of US cruises might be imminent.

Those hopes were tempered this week by the CDC’s announcement that it was encouraging all US travelers to defer cruise travel indefinitely due to the risk of COVID-19 being spread aboard ship – a risk that the safe resumption of cruises in Europe has called into question.

The luxury cruise lines Viking and Crystal, the Greek cruise line Celestyal Cruises, and the US luxury small ship line Victory, were the first to cancel all cruises for the remainder of 2020.

They were followed by Holland America Line, which recently cancelled all cruises through December 15th, while Princess Cruises has cancelled most sailings into December as well.

In the UK, Fred Olsen has cancelled most of its 2020 cruises, with only two December departures aboard Balmoral available for booking. Its other ships, such as Braemar, aren’t scheduled to re-enter service until March, 2021.

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