Virgin Voyages’ adults-only cruise ship will make its debut this summer with sailings around the UK’s south-coast – but only for Vaccine VIPs. Olivia Palamountain reports
The unstoppable Richard Branson will finally see the launch of Virgin Voyages this summer, yet another innovative twist on travel, this time focused on reinventing cruises for Millennials.
While the cruise sector might have sunk during the pandemic, Virgin Voyages is defying the odds to set sail this summer by taking British people on an adults-only “staycations-at-sea” with its “Summer Soirée Series”.
The trip is only open to UK residents (for now) and everyone on board must be vaccinated against Covid-19. Tickets will cost from £499 per person. Sailing around the south-coast of England, the cruise has been designed to offer a taste of what Virgin Voyages is all about, in the hope that customers will then book a full-length cruise in Europe or the Caribbean once travel restrictions are further relaxed.
“Virgin Voyages has been looking forward to sailing, and we’re so excited to announce our plans to sail from the UK,” says Branson, founder of Virgin Group. “Our team has curated such a fantastic experience for our Sailors and know this is a holiday they will love.”
The upcoming cruise series will encompass three- and four-night itineraries with a total of six sailings this August, aboard adults-only ship, the Scarlet Lady.
Long Weekender (three nights, Friday to Monday)
- Aug 6 – Aug 9
- Aug 13 – Aug 16
- Aug 20 – Aug 23
Summer WeekDaze (four nights, Monday to Friday)
- Aug 9 – Aug 13
- Aug 16 – Aug 20
- Aug 23 – Aug 27
Virgin Voyages’ first ship, the Scarlet Lady, was designed to reflect a boutique hotel at sea, with luxurious finishes, thrilling entertainment and more than 20 on-board restaurants.
As part of the “Summer Soiree Series”, passengers can expect Michelin-inspired dining experiences, luxurious spa treatments, unlimited fitness classes and wifi. (For more about the Virgin Voyages experience, click here.)Additional testing and protocols will be confirmed closer to sailing, all in line with the most up-to-date recommendations from the UK government.
Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady will be the first luxury cruise ship to set sail from Portsmouth, with passenges offered lead-in rates for Sea Terrace cabins starting from £499 for three-night itineraries, and £599 for four-night itineraries.
For the first time, Virgin Red members can use Virgin Points to pay for cabins. What’s more, everyone who books with Virgin Points will have a bottle of bubbly waiting for them.
(A three-night “Long Weekender” costs 180,000 Virgin Points, while a four-night “Summer WeekDaze” voyage costs 215,000 Virgin Points.)
Tom McAlpin, CEO and president of Virgin Voyages, says: “After more than a year of waiting and a major emphasis on a safe return, we’re ecstatic to announce these new sailings and bring ‘sailors’ onboard to experience what it’s like to set sail the Virgin Way.
“We look at our UK summer voyages as a homecoming to pay homage to our British roots, and what an excellent way to kick-off our sailing season before heading back to Port Miami.”