Richard Branson pushes back Scarlet Lady’s launch because of coronavirus
Richard Branson has announced he will be pushing back the launch of Virgin's new cruise ship Scarlet Lady amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The business mogul was due to launch the new ship, the first for his cruise line Virgin Voyages, in April when she was due to sail an inaugural season from Miami across the Caribbean.
However, Branson has said that it "isn't the time" to launch the new cruise ship, with outbreaks of coronavirus taking place around the globe.
In a joint letter with CEO Tom McAlpin, he explained that he has "made the very difficult decision" to push Scarlet Lady's inaugural season back until July 15th, with her maiden voyage due to take place on August 7th.
In the letter they explained: "When we dreamed up Virgin Voyages, we did so with an ambition to create an entirely new way to sail the seven seas.
"Over the past seven years, our wonderful crew have worked passionately to create a ship and sailor experience for you that is truly spectacular. We know many of you are very excited to sail on Scarlet Lady, and we can tell you after spending time on board, she has captured all of our hearts.
"But 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 Sailors and travel partners as we navigate this challenging moment."
Affected passengers will be given a range of options including the choice to request a full refund, credit for future sailings, an extra bonuses for future sailings.
The company has said that guests who opt for a full refund will be issued one, along with a 25 per cent Future Voyage Credit on the value paid to use for a future booking.
The company added that there have been "no health concerns" on Scarlet Lady, but that it was instead pro-actively making the decision amidst the health crisis.
Passengers already had a sneak peek of what the cruise ship had to offer, when Scarlet Lady made her debut in the UK earlier this year. (One passenger shared his review of the ship with us at the time).
The news of the delayed inaugural season comes just hours after Princess Cruises announced that it was suspending sailings for 60 days , which includes all 18 ships of its fleet being taken out of service.
The cruise line unveiled a series of options for affected passengers including choices to opt for a refund or future cruise credit.
A number of cruise lines have taken extra precautions to protect passengers and crew members, with many also offering new flexible cancellation policies for new and existing customers, to help passengers who don't wish to travel in the coming months.
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