Virgin Voyages moves cruise line debut to England, canceling sailings in US waters

Virgin Voyages is the latest cruise line moving sailings abroad as the timeline to resume cruising in U.S. waters remains unclear.

“Virgin Voyages has been looking forward to sailing, and we’re so excited to announce our plans to sail from the UK,” said Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, in a statement. 

The cruise line had a slow start due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which squashed Virgin’s plans to launch in April 2020. But after multiple delays, its first ship, Scarlet Lady, will make its debut in August in the United Kingdom with a series of voyages open to residents of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

The Scarlet Lady will be departing from Portsmouth, England, with all passengers and crew required to be fully vaccinated.

“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 said in a statement. “We’re committed to a healthy and safe start at sea and would never set sail without the proper precautions and considerations in place. This includes capacity limitations for this initial phased restart.”

Dubbed “The Summer Soiree Series” there are two kinds of itineraries being offered from Portsmouth: