Virgin Voyages is launching mini sailings from England this summer ahead of the cruise line's official debut later this year.
The cruise line, founded by Sir Richard Branson, will spend this summer cruising around the UK, over a year after Virgin Voyages was slated to make its grand debut.
"After more than a year of waiting and a major emphasis on a safe return, we're ecstatic to announce these new sailings and bring Sailors onboard to experience what it's like to set sail the Virgin Way," CEO and President of Virgin Voyages, Tom McAlpin, said in a statement shared with Travel + Leisure on Thursday. "We look at our UK summer voyages as a homecoming to pay homage to our British roots, and what an excellent way to kick-off our sailing season before heading back to PortMiami."
Guests will be able to choose from three- or four-night itineraries aboard the cruise line's first ship, the "Scarlet Lady," setting sail throughout August from Portsmouth. The four-night cruises take place during the week and the three-night cruises are part of the "Long Weekender" package.
The "Summer Soiree Series" will allow guests full access to all the features of "Scarlet Lady," including unlimited fitness classes, live entertainment, spa treatments and a variety of dining options.
Bookings will open for the August cruises on April 13 but only residents of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will be allowed aboard the "Summer Soiree" cruises — and they must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The cruise will also enact capacity limits and testing protocols, per recommendations from the UK government.
Virgin Voyages was expected to make its grand debut in April of last year, but the pandemic forced its postponement. The "Scarlet Lady" was expected to make its grand debut from Miami in July, but that has been delayed due to U.S. cruising guidelines.
The cruise line's second ship, the "Valiant Lady" ship is expected to debut in November, with cruises from Barcelona while the "Resilient Lady" will take to the Greek Isles in 2022.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.
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