Virgin Voyages delays next cruise ship launch by nearly a year

Jun 8, 2022

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Virgin Voyages will be a two-ship cruise line for nearly a year longer than expected.

The start-up cruise brand backed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group said on Wednesday it was pushing back the debut of its next ship, Resilient Lady, from mid-August of this year to May 2023.

The Florida-based line cited a mix of challenges affecting its business for the decision, including supply chain and staffing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also hinted at demand issues related to the war in Ukraine.

For more cruise news, guides and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.

“Despite making tremendous strides alongside the cruise industry as a whole, the brand is not immune to the global challenges the world is facing,” the line said in a statement sent to TPG. “This includes supply chain obstacles, a level of regional uncertainty for international travelers in countries in East Europe, crewing challenges based on government regulations and restrictive [COVID-19] entry requirements back into the U.S.”

Virgin Voyages debuted in late 2021 with a single ship, Scarlet Lady, and added a second ship, Valient Lady, in March of this year. The two vessels currently sail in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, respectively.

Resilient Lady was scheduled to join Valiant Lady in the Mediterranean in August with sailings out of Athens.

All three ships are sister vessels that can carry 2,770 passengers at double occupancy.

Scarlet Lady began sailing out of Miami in October. (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

The debut of Virgin Voyages in 2021 was one of the most anticipated cruise industry events of the past decade. Since plans for Virgin Voyages (initially called Virgin Cruises) were first announced in 2014, the brand had promised to shake things up in the cruise world with a lively, adult-focused onboard experience it said would be unlike anything else in cruising.

Related: Why you’ve got it wrong if you think Virgin Voyages is just for millennials

But the line’s arrival came at a tough time for cruising and the travel businesses in general. Originally scheduled for early 2020, the initial debut of the line was pushed back by more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced all major cruise lines to shut down operations for months. Like many lines, Virgin Voyages has struggled to build demand over the past year as cruise lines and cruisers have only slowly returned to the high seas.

Still, in a statement accompanying Wednesday’s announcement, Virgin Voyages president Tom McAlpin suggested things were looking up for the new line.

“We’ve accomplished so much this past year, and the future for us is exciting,” he said. “The momentum that we’re seeing with Scarlet and Valiant Lady is incredible.”

McAlpin suggested bookings had been strong of late, a good sign for the line and the cruise industry in general.

“The travel industry is recovering well, and this month, we’ve seen record bookings, a significant increase in onboard spend, and we’re currently seeking to close out our next round of funding, which sets us up for continued growth,” he said.

Virgin Voyages was just one of two cruise lines to push back the debut of a new ship on Wednesday. Luxury line Seabourn on Wednesday also announced that it had delayed the unveiling of a new ship, the 264-passenger Seabourn Venture — albeit by just a few days. Seabourn said Seabourn Venture will now debut on July 27 — 13 days later than planned. It’s the third delay for Seabourn Venture, which originally was scheduled to begin sailing in 2021.

Several other lines have also postponed the debuts of new ships in recent months. Startup luxury cruise operator The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection recently delayed the unveiling of its much-awaited first vessel, the 298-passenger Evrima, from May to August (the sixth delay for the ship over the past two years). Another relative newcomer to cruising, “luxe adventure” brand Atlas Ocean Voyages, recently pushed back the debut of a new vessel from July to October.

This summer’s unveiling of the first new Disney Cruise Line vessel in a decade, Disney Wish, has also been delayed slightly.

The brands cited a mix of issues including shipyard delays.

Virgin Voyages on Wednesday said Resilient Lady would remain at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy, where it had been under construction over the past year.

A fourth ship for Virgin Voyages on order from Fincantieri, Brilliant Lady, still is scheduled to debut soon after the arrival of Resilient Lady, the line said.

As a result of the delay, all Resilient Lady voyages scheduled between mid-August and early May 2023 have been canceled.

Virgin Voyages said passengers booked on the canceled sailings could choose between a full refund plus a future cruise credit in the amount of 25% of what they had paid, or a bigger future cruise credit in the amount of 200% of what they had paid.

Passengers who choose the 200% credit option and rebook in 2022 will also be offered a second, complimentary voyage (excluding taxes and fees).

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured photo of courtesy of Virgin Voyages. 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.