Virgin Voyages postponing inaugural trip as a result of global coronavirus outbreak

Virgin Voyages has announced it will postpone its inaugural season due to the global impact of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Originally scheduled for next month, Scarlet Lady's maiden voyage has now been pushed back to August.

"The current global health crisis is understandably making many people rethink upcoming travel plans. While there have been no health concerns on our ship Scarlet Lady, the Virgin Voyages team has engaged future sailors and travel partners as we all navigate this challenging moment together," the cruise line said in a statement. "Based on feedback from these conversations, we made the proactive decision to postpone the Showcase Tour inaugural season of Scarlet Lady until July 15, 2020, with our Maiden Voyage taking place on August 7, 2020."

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"Virgin Voyages is committed to making this change to your plans as convenient and fair as possible, and are offering a range of options from a full refund and a voyage credit to bonus offerings for future sailings."

Rather than a refund, Virgin Voyages is offering 200 percent in future voyage credit that can be applied to another sailing, which offers passengers double value. Customers can also receive up to $500 in onboard credit if they rebook before June 30, 2020.

If customers still prefer a 100 percent refund, the company will issue one in addition to a 25 percent future voyage credit on the value paid to use for a future booking.

"At this time, much of our attention is focused, rightly, on the current global health crisis," Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin said in a message accompanying Thursday's statement. "We want to make this change as convenient and fair as possible. So we are offering a range of options from a full refund and a voyage credit to extra special bonuses if you book a future sailing."

"Finally, despite what we are facing, travel will always be a way for us to connect with one another and open ourselves up to new ideas and ways of thinking. So while this isn’t the time for us to meet on the spectacular Scarlet Lady, it will be soon. We can’t wait to see you onboard," they concluded.