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Not again! Startup line Virgin Voyages pushes back debut by 2 more months

March 03, 2021
4 min read
Not again! Startup line Virgin Voyages pushes back debut by 2 more months
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You'll now have to wait until at least July for a getaway on what was supposed to be the hottest new cruise ship of 2020.

Start-up cruise line Virgin Voyages on Tuesday pushed back the official debut of its first vessel, Scarlet Lady, by two more months, to July 1, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Richard Branson-backed cruise company already had delayed the vessel's maiden voyage four times, and its official arrival is now 16 months behind schedule. Scarlet Lady initially was scheduled to sail its first “sneak-a-peek” voyages with paying passengers out of Miami in March of 2020.

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All of Scarlet Lady's delays have been blamed on the new coronavirus, which has shut down most cruising around the world for the past 12 months.

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

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

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.

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.

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

Related: Why you shouldn't take a voucher for a canceled cruise

Virgin Voyages is among a growing number of cruise lines canceling all or most sailings until June or July. Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises have canceled all sailings until early June. Windstar Cruises plans to restart operations on four of its ships in mid- to late-June, with two ships returning to operations in July. Crystal Cruises has canceled all ocean ship departures into July.

The debut of Virgin Voyages was one of the most anticipated cruise industry events of 2020. The line has 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, the vessel is 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’s also a kid-free travel zone, with a minimum age to sail of 18.

Related: The key number that will tell us when cruising will resume

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, expect interactive dance parties, DJ sets and “microplays” instead, plus late-night games of dodgeball. Oh, and the suites have a rock-star theme, of course.

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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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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
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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 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    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.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more