Virgin Voyages has developed new itineraries after the US government banned cruise lines from operating sailings to Cuba.

Cuban capital Havana featured prominently in the yet-to-launch’s debut programme which contained Havana After Dark itineraries before the Trump administration changed its travel policy for the island earlier this month.

Virgin Voyages will now offer five-night Riviera Maya sailings to Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and four-night Fire and Sunset Soirées sailings which include a call at Key West, Florida, and a midnight departure from Bimini Island, Bahamas.

During the Fire and Sunset Soirées sailing passengers will enjoy an exclusive late-night beach bonfire soiree at Bimini.

In response to demand for longer sailings, Virgin Voyages has developed seven-night sailings for the 2020 festive holiday season. The voyages are called Holidaze and Nights and New Year’s Ahoy, which fall over the Christmas and New Year holidays respectively.

Both voyages feature stops in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and late-night sail aways in both Bimini and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, Virgin Voyages has appointed Wendy Williams (pictured) as captain of Scarlet Lady.

She will become the first Canadian woman to be captain of a ship for a major cruise brand and will take the helm Scarlet Lady when it launches next spring.

Williams has more than 28 years of experience working on ships at sea, including more than a decade as a deckhand in commercial fishing off the western coast of Canada.

Although she has spent more than 15 years working on the bridge of cruise ships, her role with Virgin Voyages will be her first promotion to captain of a cruise ship.

“Captain Wendy’s extensive maritime background makes her an excellent choice to lead the Scarlet Lady, but it is her spirit and drive to approach life at sea differently that make her the perfect fit to join the Virgin Voyages family,” said Tom McAlpin, president and chief executive officer for Virgin Voyages.

Virgin Voyages announced its Scarlet Squad programme last year in a bid to bridge the gender gap in leadership roles across the maritime industry. Women represent less than 3% of the workforce in the maritime industry.

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