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Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady has to sit in port…again

November 3, 2020 Headline News No Comments

Virgin Voyages’ brand, spanking new and rather revolutionary cruise ship, Scarlet Lady was all set to sail and had just been delivered when COVID-19 struck and her highly anticipated launch was delayed.

Virgin Voyages is headquartered in Florida and a joint venture between the Virgin Group and very interesting for Australians, Bain Capital, the same equity company that has secured the purchase of Virgin Australia.

With only one ship in the fleet, but three more on order and reported to be the brainchild of Richard Branson, Virgin Voyages is said to be set to revolutionise cruising, when she eventually sets sail, cruise out of Miami to the Caribbean, but it is reported that back in 2011, Nirmal Saverimuttu, a Virgin Group executive, and Tom McAlpin, then CEO of The World the famous residential cruise ship, actually conceptualized the idea for a cruise line inspired by the Virgin brand under the Virgin Group umbrella.

It is said that Saverimuttu worked with Bain Capital to research the market and concluded that there was potential for a new cruise line and they also identified a large, young demographic that was yet to experience cruising that could become the brand’s target market.

Over the next three years, Saverimuttu and McAlpin raised US$700 million from Bain Capital, which had become lead investor, and other institutional and private investors and they also borrowed an additional US$1–1.5 billion, with on December 4, 2014, Virgin Group announced the establishment of Virgin Cruises, to be led by Tom McAlpin, who was named president and CEO.

Virgin announced the fleet would be consist of two ships and in July 2015, the Miami-Dade County Commission granted Virgin Voyages approval to berth at Port Miami, with the company’s first contract for three cruise ships finalised on October 18, 2016, the same day that Virgin Cruises rebranded as Virgin Voyages, aimed at its  younger demographic and new cruisers.

In November 2018, Virgin Voyages announced it build a new 100,000 square-foot terminal at Port Miami and that their first two vessels would sail from Miami, with in February 2019, Virgin Voyages announcing it would design a new private destination called The Beach Club, located on the Bahamian island of Bimini and the resort would be developed in partnership with Malaysian Genting Group’s Resorts World Bimini.

In September 2019, Virgin Voyages had been granted a 30-year berthing rights agreement at Port Miami.

With Virgin Voyages’ official debut originally scheduled for April 1, 2020, with the maiden voyage of Scarlet Lady, the COVID-19 pandemic  delayed the cruise line’s launch, initially until August 7, 2020 and then October 16, 2020 and now Scarlet Lady’s launch has been delayed yet again with Virgin Voyages now extending cruise cancellations until early 2021.

The crew of Scarlet Lady was also ready to set sail but many that were not essential were laid off and sent home and are still awaiting their orders to rejoin.

So, for flavour of that experience, check out this very interesting video I found by Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady, UK based crew member Lucy Southerton for her experience onboard Scarlet Lady and the delayed launch and worse of all, being sent home.

Please click on the image below.

A report by John Alwyn-Jones

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