In a brochure sent to its crew members before its public announcement today, Virgin Voyages stated that it delayed the launch of its third ship Resilient Lady to an unknown date next year. The cruise line informed its crew that:
“Due to current global challenges, the debut of Resillient Lady will be delayed from July this year until 2023.”
In attempting to explain the delay, Virgin Voyages stated:
“There are a number of global challenges that affect travel and particularly the cruise industry, including supply chain issues, crewing challenges and regional uncertainty.”
It further stated that there is not currently a date for Resilient Lady’s “MerMaiden Voyage:”
“While Resilient Lady’s first commercial sailing is now May 14, 2023, we have not yet set a date for our showcase events and celebrations.”
For those customers (which Virgin Voyages calls “sailors”) who have already purchased airline tickets, the company will reimburse up to $500 per person for any incremental air/travel costs. For those guests who have incurred airfare over $500, the company says that it “will take a closer look to determine if we can assist further.”
This sounds like it is inadequate to compensate its customers who have planned in advance to book flights and hotels and incur other travel and accomodation expenses, as people have complained on Twitter.
Cool. I don't think the $500 per person is going to cover our $1700 per person flights. Very disappointed in #VirginVoyages
— Unsung_Spartan (@Unsung_Spartan) June 8, 2022
For crew members about to end their current contracts and due to join the Resilient Lady, the company promises to provide an update “in the next few weeks.”
For those ship employees wanting to return to either the Scarlet Lady or Valiant Lady, the company promises “not to worry – you will return as planned. While there may be a slight adjustment to your start date, we can assure you that we have a spot for you on board.” The company further states that it is “working through the process” of permitting the crew to access a web-based “personal coaching service” called “BetterUp Care” which is “available in 49 different languages in every time zone around the worl – at no costs to our crew.”
A crew member, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent me the brochure which states: “Please do not share this information until after Wednesday, June 8, at 10 a.m. E.T.” The crew member stated:
“Looks like VV is out of money. Ship #3 will be put in cold layout untill 2023. Just days ago they were still trying to fill up the crew and go operational. Now this sudden decision. Looks like something is happening behind the scenes.”
The Miami Herald covered the story, writing:
“Regarding refunds and credits for people who bought trips expecting to sail on Resilient Lady in August or the ensuing months, the cruise line will be contacting them in the coming days. They will get a full refund, plus a 25% future voyage credit to use within a year from original cruising dates, and “assistance” with travel changes and penalties for hotels and flights booked related to canceled cruises.”
Virgin Voyages was last in the news last week when the cruise line sent the Scarlet Lady through the shallow waters in the Keys into the tiny port of Key West. This environemntally destructive act was contrary to the flase promises by Virgin Voyages’ owner and psuedo-enviromental Richard Branson that the company would operate in a sustainable and respectable manner respecting the local will of voters in Key West.
"Set Sail the Virgin Way … " claims Virgin Voyages.
— James (Jim) Walker (@CruiseLaw) June 3, 2022
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Image credit: Resilient Lady – Virgin Voyages artist drawing.