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Start-up cruise line Virgin Voyages gives up on a summer debut in Miami

April 07, 2021
4 min read
Start-up cruise line Virgin Voyages gives up on a summer debut in Miami
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It hasn't been a good month for new cruise lines hoping to start up operations.

Just days after start-up brand The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection announced another lengthy delay for its first sailings, cruise newcomer Virgin Voyages also has pushed back its official debut in a significant way.

Virgin Voyages on Wednesday said it had canceled all the initial sailings of its first vessel, Scarlet Lady, out of Miami, through Sept. 17. Like The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Virgin Voyages cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic for its latest delay.

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Until Wednesday, the ship had been scheduled to debut in Miami in July.

Virgin Voyages has now delayed its official debut five times. Scarlet Lady initially was scheduled to sail its first “sneak-a-peek” voyages with paying passengers out of Miami in March of 2020.

All of Scarlet Lady's delays have been blamed on COVID-19, which has shut down most cruising around the world for the past 13 months.

In addition to delaying Scarlet Lady's debut five times over the past year, Virgin Voyages has pushed back the unveiling of its second vessel, Valiant Lady, by six months, to Nov. 14.

The new Virgin Voyages ship Scarlet Lady. (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

Currently under construction at a shipyard in Italy, Valiant Lady will be similar in size and layout to Scarlet Lady. It originally had been scheduled to begin sailing in Europe in May before moving to the Caribbean in November. It's now scheduled to skip the European deployment and head straight to the Caribbean after its construction is completed.

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Virgin Voyages has been offering customers with bookings on canceled sailings a choice of a full refund or a credit for a future cruise. Those who choose the credit have been getting 200% of the amount they paid to apply to a future sailing. Those who choose a refund have been getting a 25% credit toward a future cruise in addition to all their money back.

Such refunds and credit terms, notably, are more generous than what we've seen over the past year from other cruise lines.

The latest delay from Virgin Voyages comes as a growing number of cruise lines begin announcing definitive restart plans for summer cruises in North America and Europe -- albeit with very few ships. But many lines including Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line and Oceania Cruises also have canceled a large number of cruises into the summer and beyond.

The debut of Virgin Voyages was one of the most anticipated cruise industry events of 2020. The line had been promising to shake things up in the cruise world with the arrival of Scarlet Lady.

Able to carry 2,770 passengers at double occupancy and 17 decks high, Scarlet Lady was designed to cater to a hipster crowd with everything from a tattoo parlor and drag queen brunches to a colorful karaoke lounge. To ensure a proper party vibe, it also was designed a kid-free travel zone, with no passengers under the age of 18.

Virgin Voyages is going after travelers who might think themselves too cool to cruise. To that end, Scarlet Lady has no buffets, no dress codes and no big Broadway-style theater shows. For entertainment, travelers will instead find interactive dance parties, DJ sets and “microplays,” plus late-night games of dodgeball.

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Featured image by The new Virgin Voyages ship Scarlet Lady. (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023