Julia Buckley, CNN
As summer heats up, the travel industry is struggling to cope – and a company saw the writing on the wall, canceling the launch of a new cruise ship.
Virgin Voyages, the highly anticipated brand committed to revolutionizing the cruise industry, has postponed the launch of its third cruise ship, Resilient Lady.
The ship was scheduled to debut in August, operating from Piraeus (for Athens) in Greece in the summer, and San Juan, Puerto Rico in the winter.
Instead, the company delayed its launch until May 2023.
Customers who had booked a cruise were promised refunds of up to 200% for a future cruise, as well as certain expenses.
In a Q&A for ‘sailors’, as Virgin cruisers are dubbed, the company squarely blamed the current travel chaos now spilling over to the cruise industry, having crippled the aviation sector.
“There are a number of global challenges affecting travel and in particular the cruise industry, including supply chain issues, crew issues and regional uncertainty,” he said.
“Every decision we make is driven by our commitment to creating a safe and inspiring environment for crew and sailors, and we never want to put ourselves in a position where we could negatively impact our sailor experience or the crew well-being.
“The challenges we face are not unique to Virgin Voyages; they affect our industry and travel as a whole.
Passengers with reservations 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’ll get an additional free trip on another Virgin Voyages ship.
The company is also offering refunds of up to $500 per passenger to cover cancellation penalties or canceled flights.
In a statement, Virgin Voyages said Resilient Lady would remain in the Genoa shipyard, finalizing its construction.
Her other two ships, Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady, remain in service in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean respectively. Both were launched during the pandemic.
CEO Tom McAlpin said: “As a new brand just getting started, we have achieved so much over the past year, and the future for us is exciting. The momentum we see with Scarlet and Valiant Lady is incredible.
“That’s why we remain focused on delivering brilliant holidays, and this break will ensure we’re ready to continue on Resilient.
“The travel industry is recovering well, and this month we have seen record bookings, a significant increase in onboard spending, and we are currently looking to close our next round of funding, setting us up for growth. keep on going. .”
A fourth ship, Brilliant Lady, is also expected to join the company in 2023.
Main image: Scarlet Lady (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
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