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08 Apr 2021

A first for the city as Virgin Voyages announces Scarlet Lady’s maiden passenger sailing

Virgin Voyages has announced Scarlet Lady’s first ever commercial passenger sailing will take place from Portsmouth, UK this summer.

At 277m this is the largest ship into Portsmouth International Port and is a vote of confidence as it hosts the newest kid on the cruise block.

Virgin Voyages promises premium luxury, complete with experimental dining options, festival-curated entertainment, complete with styling from renowned designer Tom Dixon, Scarlet Lady will dazzle as she sashays her way into Portsmouth.

Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port’s director said: “This is fantastic news for the city and the wider travel industry, with Virgin Voyages committing to launching a series of domestic cruises exclusively from Portsmouth  for the UK market.

“Recognised for their pioneering spirit we are privileged to support Virgin Voyages as they embark on their first ever commercial sailing. We are in no doubt eyes of the world will be on Scarlet Lady’s debut, but there is no better harbour than this one, famous for its legendary maritime journeys.

“It will be a spectacle like no other as the distinctive Scarlet Lady sails through the spectacular harbour entrance, we can be sure sailors and crew will experience a warm Portsmouth reception.

“It is a huge opportunity for the city to be Scarlet Lady’s home port for the summer and we are thrilled to work with global brand Virgin Voyages on their showcase sailings.

“The future won’t wait, and we are confident that following the government’s announcement domestic cruising can take place there is an appetite to explore once more.

“We have the highest standards for health protocols, which have been vigorously tested as we operated sailings throughout the pandemic. We were the first port to have our protocols independently verified by DNV to their ‘My Care’ standard and took the initiative to implement a range of tools to help against the spread of Covid-19.”

The Spinnaker Tower lit in Virgin Voyages red to tease the announcement of their forthcoming sailings from Portsmouth

“Virgin Voyages has been looking forward to sailing, and we’re so excited to announce our plans to sail from the UK,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group. “Our team has curated such a fantastic experience for our Sailors and know this is a holiday they will love.

Tom McAlpin, CEO and President of Virgin Voyages. “After more than a year of waiting and a major emphasis on a safe return, we’re ecstatic to announce these new sailings and bring Sailors onboard to experience what it’s like to set sail the Virgin Way,

“We look at our UK summer voyages as a homecoming to pay homage to our British roots, and what an excellent way to kick-off our sailing season before heading back to PortMiami.”

Strict measures will be in place for passengers in advance who are travelling to the port, this will be coordinated with public and port health teams.

Along with a thermal imaging scanner to check the temperature of staff and customers, the terminal has also been reconfigured into a one-way flow system with reduced capacity and space for social distancing. Face coverings are mandatory for anyone travelling through the terminal, and cleaning practices have been enhanced through investments in the latest technologies. 

From 6 August there will be a minimum of six sailings, varying between three to four night stays. Operating with reduced capacity, with the limit set by government guidelines, Scarlet Lady will sail around the UK.

Scarlet Lady’s arrival has been made possible by the recent investment to extend the current cruise berth, completed in July last year and has also delivered many opportunities to welcome a range of ships, helping to support the city bounce back after the impact of the pandemic.

Known as 'The Summer Soirée Series' it will officially be up for sale on Tuesday, April 13, visit VirginVoyages.com for additional details.