Virgin Voyages, the much-anticipated brand which has vowed to revolutionize the cruise industry, has postponed the launch of its third cruise ship, Resilient Lady.
The ship was due to debut in August, operating out of Piraeus (for Athens) in Greece in summer, and San Juan, Puerto Rico in winter.
Instead, the company has delayed its launch until May 2023.
Customers who’d booked a sailing have been promised refunds of up to 200% refund for a future cruise, as well as some expenses.
In a Q&A for “sailors,” as cruisers are dubbed on Virgin, the company laid the blame squarely on the current travel chaos which is now spreading to the cruise industry, having crippled the aviation sector.
“There are a number of global challenges that affect travel and particularly the cruise industry, including supply chain issues, crewing challenges and regional uncertainty,” it said.
“Every decision we make is driven by our commitment to creating a safe and inspiring environment for both Crew and Sailors, and we never want to put ourselves in a position where we could negatively impact our Sailor experience or Crew’s well-being.
“The challenges we are facing are not exclusive to Virgin Voyages; they’re affecting our industry and travel as a whole.”
Passengers with bookings have several options. They can get a full refund within seven days, or receive a 200% credit towards a future cruise with Virgin Voyages within the next 12 months.
If they take the credit and rebook for 2022, they will get an additional free voyage on another Virgin Voyages ship.
The company is also offering refunds of up to $500 per passenger to cover any cancelation penalties or canceled flights.
In a statement, Virgin Voyages said that Resilient Lady will remain in the shipyard in Genoa, finalizing its build.
Its two other ships, Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady, remain in service in the Caribbean and Mediterranean respectively. Both were launched during the pandemic.
CEO Tom McAlpin said: “As a new brand that is just getting started, we’ve accomplished so much this past year, and the future for us is exciting. The momentum that we’re seeing with Scarlet and Valiant Lady is incredible.
“That is why we remain focused on delivering brilliant vacations, and this pause will ensure we will be ready to go on Resilient.
“The travel industry is recovering well, and this month, we’ve seen record bookings, a significant increase in on-board spend, and we’re currently seeking to close out our next round of funding, which sets us up for continued growth.”
A fourth ship, Brilliant Lady, is also set to join the company in 2023.
Main image: Scarlet Lady (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)