Travel: Here’s Where Virgin Voyages Will Be Cruising Instead of Cuba - PressFrom - US
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TravelHere’s Where Virgin Voyages Will Be Cruising Instead of Cuba

01:35  13 june  2019
01:35  13 june  2019 Source:   thepointsguy.com

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Virgin Voyages (formerly named Virgin Cruises ) is a new cruise line headquartered in Plantation (Florida USA). Virgin Voyages was created as a joint venture between Virgin Group and Bain Capital, with the latter having a majority shareholding. The establishment of Virgin Cruises was announced

Here’s Where Virgin Voyages Will Be Cruising Instead of Cuba© Provided by Bankrate, LLC

In place of a new and exotic destination, travelers will find something much more predictable.

That’s the bottom line when it comes to the just-announced itineraries on the schedule at Virgin Voyages in the wake of the Trump Administration’s ban on cruises to Cuba.

Exactly a week after the announcement of the ban, the soon-to-debut line backed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group said on Tuesday it would replace five-night sailings to Havana, Cuba, during its inaugural year with five-night trips to Cozumel, Mexico, the most-visited cruise port outside of Florida.

The poster child for megatourism in the cruise world, Cozumel draws more than 4 million cruisers a year, who arrive on more than 1,000 sailings. That’s many times more cruisers than have been visiting Cuba since it opened to US-based ships in 2016.

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Virgin Voyages ' decision to sail to Cuba was influenced by customer and travel partner research it conducted in North America and the United Kingdom. The Galley Modeled on popular food halls where visitors can taste a cornucopia from different restaurants, The Galley, will be the main space

Virgin Voyages also revealed that four-night sailings to Havana that had been on the schedule are morphing into four-night trips to Key West, Florida — another relatively common cruise port with nowhere near the pizzazz of the Cuban capital.

As with all Virgin Voyages itineraries, the trips will begin and end in Miami and feature a stop at The Beach Club, Virgin’s private beach getaway on the island of Bimini in the Bahamas.

Virgin Voyages had bet heavily on Cuba as a focus for its initial round of voyages, which kick off on April 1 with the debut of its first ship, the 2,770-passenger Scarlet Lady. Cuba cruises had accounted for nearly half of all sailings on the line’s schedule. By contrast, most major lines have less than 5% of their capacity devoted to the Cuba cruise market.

Trump administration puts new restrictions on Cuba travel

Trump administration puts new restrictions on Cuba travel The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed major new travel restrictions on visits to Cuba by U.S. citizens, including a ban on many forms of educational and recreational travel. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The Treasury Department said in a statement that the U.S. will no longer allow the group educational and cultural trips known as "people to people" travel to the island. Those trips have been used by thousands of American citizens to visit the island even before the U.S.

Virgin Voyages , formerly Virgin Cruises , is a cruise line with an office in Plantation, Florida, USA. It was formed as a joint venture between the Virgin Group and Bain Capital; the latter have a majority shareholding.

She is named, in part, as an ode to our Virgin heritage (Scarlet was one of our earliest Virgin Atlantic planes), but more importantly, to call attention to our Ships, like everywhere on the planet, are made better when all of us are involved. Scarlet is still being built, so check back here for continued updates.

Here’s Where Virgin Voyages Will Be Cruising Instead of Cuba© The Points Guy A cruise ship leaving Havana (Photo by Sir Francis Canker Photography / Getty Images)

That said, Virgin Voyages isn’t alone in having to search for alternatives to Cuba calls on short notice. Major lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, among others, have found themselves in the same boat, so to speak, in recent days as they scramble to replace Cuba calls with visits to places like Cozumel, too.

Virgin Voyages didn’t make an executive available to The Points Guy to discuss the thinking behind its new port picks. But in a statement, the line suggested its customers (whom it calls “sailors”) were asking for trips to the new ports.

“In response to the US government’s new restrictions on travel to Cuba from the United States, Virgin Voyages has developed an exciting lineup of new itineraries featuring destinations that its sailors expressed interest in exploring,” the line said.

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While Virgin Atlantic has been flying to Cuba for 13 years, this is the first time Virgin will visit Cuba by ship. The Scarlet Lady will be joining the ranks For Cuba newbies, cruising is one of the best ways to see the island and have a cushy room—while the Airbnb selection is impressive, the hotel scene

Virgin Voyages on Tuesday also announced plans for two seven-night holiday voyages in December 2020 that will include stops at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and The Beach Club on the island of Bimini. Dubbed the “Holidaze and Nights” and “New Year’s Ahoy” sailings, the trips fall over Christmas week and New Year’s week, respectively.

Under development for more than five years, Scarlet Lady is the first of four ships on order for Virgin Voyages. It’s currently under construction at a Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy.

The ship’s initial sailings opened for booking in February of this year.

Virgin Voyages said customers already booked on one of the departures where the itinerary has changed can cancel for a full refund if they notify the line within 30 days. Customers also can switch to a different sailing — something that already was allowed under the line’s existing change policy.

The new Cozumel sailings that Virgin announced on Tuesday were unusual in one way: The port call at Cozumel will last late into the night. The line said Scarlet Lady would arrive at the port around 9am and not leave until midnight. The extra time should be enough for passengers to take a ferry to Playa del Carmen on the mainland of Mexico for additional exploration to places such as the Mayan ruins of Tulum.

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Since Virgin has a private beach club experience in Bimini, Bahamas, we'd be crazy not to utilize it. But the only way in is on one of our Lady Ships. Tucked between the Cordillera Mountains and Atlantic coast, Puerto Plata embodies geographical duality at its best. A day here can include vegging out on

Virgin Voyages said the new port call in Key West would last until sunset, and it’ll be followed by a very late-night stay (until midnight) at the line’s private beach destination in Bimini. The Bimini visit will include what the line is calling a late-night beach bonfire soiree. The line promised “artistic fire installations” that would draw inspiration from fireball sculptures on Branson’s personal retreat in the British Virgin Islands, Necker Island.

Virgin Voyages is promising to shake things up in the cruise world with ships that offer a hipper, more-inclusive and distinctly younger vibe than what’s available from existing lines (though not too young; Virgin Voyages ships will be adults-only).

The not-your-father’s-cruise-ship sensibility will include such previously announced features as the first tattoo parlor at sea, drag-queen brunches and — in a nod to the Virgin Group’s origins — an on-board vinyl record store. There also will be plenty of nontraditional entertainment including DJ sets, interactive dance parties, “micro-plays” and games of dodgeball that don’t start until after midnight.

Fares for the newly-announced itineraries start at $700 per person for a four-night voyage, not including taxes and fees.

Gene Sloan has written about cruising for more than 25 years and for many years oversaw USA TODAY’s award-winning cruise site, USA TODAY Cruises. He’s sailed on nearly 150 ships.

Featured photo of Cozumel by agustavop / Getty Images.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Cruise ship once bound for Cuba returns to Port Canaveral following travel ban.
Roughly 2,000 passengers who expected to be exploring Cuba are now back in Port Canaveral and frustrated about how their trip turned out. Right before they arrived in Cuba, President Donald Trump canceled American cruise visits to the country. The Norwegian Sun left on Monday, and at the time no one knew what would happen on the way. Cuba is now off-limits to U.S. cruise passengers, a result of Trump administration's pressure to end the island's support of the Venezuelan government. The ban means the Norwegian Sun never reached its destination. One passenger complained on Twitter that Trump's actions rerouted them from Havana to Nassau.

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