Virgin Voyages has joined the long list of cruise lines that are moving their sailings outside the United States due to ongoing coronavirus-related restrictions.
According to USA Today, officials from Virgin Voyages announced its first ship, the Scarlet Lady, is scheduled to sail three- and four-night cruises from Portsmouth, England, starting on August 6 and running through August 27.
Originally scheduled to debut in April 2020, the Scarlet Lady’s first voyages will carry residents of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland around the waters surrounding the United Kingdom.
“Virgin Voyages has been looking forward to sailing, and we’re so excited to announce our plans to sail from the UK,” Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said.
All potential passengers and crew members must have received a full COVID-19 vaccination to be eligible for the sailing. The domestic cruises go on sale to qualified travelers on April 13.
Once the Scarlet Lady finishes the inaugural sailings in England, Virgin Voyages is shifting its homeport from Portsmouth to PortMiami in the United States to begin Caribbean cruises on September 22. All sailings in the U.S. before September have been canceled.
Virgin Voyages’ second ship, the Valiant Lady, is scheduled to sail from Miami in November.
The U.S.-based voyages are dependent on future moves by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has yet to approve sailings in American waters following the release of a Conditional Sailing Order in late 2020.
On Wednesday, the CDC signaled that some cruising could restart from the U.S. sometime this summer.
“CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the conditional sailing order,” the statement said. “This goal aligns with the desire to resume passenger operations in the United States expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers; hopefully, by mid-summer with restricted revenue sailings.”
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