Virgin Voyages en route to Habana
The first vessel of Branson’s fleet Scarlet Lady will feature Cuba in its inaugural season cruises
Virgin Voyages announced at the Havana International Fair (FIHAV) that its first cruise ship, set to delivery by 2020, will feature Cuba as one of the destinations during its inaugural season, beyond its plans to offer weekly cruises from PortMiami with Sunday departures.
The 110,000 GT Scarlet Lady will be able to dock at the Sierra Maestra pier in Havana Harbor after having received approval from the Cuban maritime authorities to be able to go alongside, showing that there are no issues with the LOA or draft.
“Virgin Atlantic has been visiting Cuba for 13 years and I cannot wait to see our iconic Scarlet Lady gleaming in the Havana Harbor” the British tycoon Richard Branson said to Seatrade Review. The Virgin Group founder indicated that Cuba was under consideration as from 2015; such a decision was influenced by customer and travel partner research conducted in North America and the U.K.
All sailings from PortMiami feature an overnight stay in Havana where experiences will be offered in compliance with US regulations on travel to Cuba; excursion details will become available in 2019.
“Virgin Voyages will service a new demographic of travelers to Cuba to greatly benefit the Cuban economy and people; this brand is a perfect match for the incredible music, art and dance that Cuba offers” Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, commented, adding that the brand’s focus on higher-end travelers will differentiate it from cruise lines currently offering Cuba and mean higher earnings for Cuban companies and more money in the pockets of Cuban people.
Currently premium and luxury lines Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea, Ponant, SeaDream, Azamara Club Cruises, Holland America, Pearl Seas, Victory Cruise Lines go Cuba regularly.