24 FEBRUARY 2020
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Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS) and its Virgin Holidays offspring appear to be the big winners after Virgin Voyages introduced Scarlet Lady, its first cruise liner, at a stormy Dover last weekend. VS flies daily Heathrow – Miami this summer.
Scarlett Lady, at 110,000 grt, maximum 2,700 adult passengers (18 plus) and 1,160 crew, can be considered a medium-size holiday ship.
For summer 2020, she will be based at Miami offering a series of five-night cruises (not including Havana sadly). The Beach Club on the Bahamas island of Bimini, where there will be a tender operation, is on all schedules .
With the 2021 arrival of sister ship Valiant Lady and its initial Mediterranean programme, the stopover is replicated with an overnight call at Ibiza, the ship's boats again being used, part of the “fun experience” as company president Tom McAlpin put it, pointing out that 80% of his team have been recruited from other cruise lines. “They were attracted to our ground-breaking offering.”
For 2021, Valiant Lady will offer seven-night cruises from Barcelona, and Virgin Voyages has stolen a march on its competitors with the use of the World Trade Centre terminal, a short walk to the city centre. By next year, will Barcelona be on the Virgin Connect route map?
Initially aimed at the 30-60 age market, Virgin Voyages is an innovative addition to the expanding cruise market. Two further ships are planned.
A full review of Scarlet Lady is planned for next Monday, which just happens to be our March cruise review.
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