Virgin Voyages has suspended sailings until August 7 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The new line stressed there were no confirmed cases on ship Scarlet Lady, but admitted that the global health crisis was “understandably making many people rethink upcoming travel plans”.
Scarlet Lady’s first sailing had been scheduled to depart next month. The 2,770-passenger ship arrived in Miami last week after hosting UK agents in Liverpool and Dover.
On Wednesday (March 11), Virgin Voyages cancelled launch events, originally planned for next week, in Miami where Scarlet Lady is based.
In a joint letter, Virgin founder Richard Branson and the line’s president and chief executive Tom McAlpin said: “At this time, much of our attention is focused, rightly, on the current global health crisis.
“We understand that this is affecting us all in different ways and making many people rethink upcoming cruise plans. We have spent time talking to our team, future [passengers] Sailors and travel partners as we navigate this challenging moment.
“As a brand, Virgin has always championed our customers and, most importantly, listened to them.
“With those principles in mind and based on your feedback, our team has made the very difficult decision to postpone the Showcase Tour launch and inaugural sailing season for Scarlet Lady until July 15, 2020, with our maiden voyage taking place August 7, 2020.”
They also added: “We are offering a range of options from a full refund and a voyage credit to extra special bonuses if you book a future sailing. The choice is entirely up to our Sailors, as it should be.”
Rather than a refund, the line is offering 200% in future cruise credit which can be applied to another sailing.
If passengers rebook before June 30, 2020, they can receive up to $500 onboard credit.
Branson and McAlpin also reiterated that there were no health issues onboard Scarlet Lady.
“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 added.
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