This Week in Cruise: Virgin Voyages Updates, Upcoming Travel Issues

It was a busy week for Virgin Voyages. The cruise line “closed” on raising $550 million in additional capital to support future growth. In addition, veteran cruise executive Tom McAlpin, the line’s founding CEO, has retired and is transitioning to a new role as chairman of the board. Nirmal Saverimuttu, who has served as Virgin’s president and chief experience officer, was named as the new CEO. Virgin also announced the delay of Brilliant Lady’s launch, many cruise cancelations (due to that situation and other fleet itinerary changes), as well as new voyages through 2025.  

Elsewhere, several travel developments loom for cruise passengers.Those heading to France via air travel this Friday may be impacted by a labor action. French air traffic controllers have announced that they plan to strike on September 15 over pay compensation issues. In addition, Brazil will again require travelers from the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan to complete an entry visa for travel to the country. That renewed requirement was initially set to go into effect this October but has been pushed back to January 10, 2024.   

Royal Caribbean International has communicated to guests booked on Radiance of the Seas' September 15 Alaska voyage that it expects the ship to return to service by that date. The line said that its marine technical team has given the green light for that voyage to operate, as repairs are wrapping up. A technical issue with the ship's propulsion issue resulted in cancelation of the September 1 and September 8 cruises. 

In more ship news, Oceania Cruises has unveiled the inaugural season sailings for Allura, the line's newest ship, which is set to join the fleet in summer 2025. The 26 inaugural season sailings span more than 92 destinations on various seven- to 34-day voyages and will open for sale on September 13, 2023. Separately, Seabourn has released its 2025 itinerariesCarnival Cruise Line, separately, will swap out ships in San Francisco for 2025 seasonal offerings. Carnival Miracle will replace Carnival Legend

Crystal’s revitalized Crystal Symphony has returned to service, so both classic oceangoing vessels are back sailing. Norwegian Cruise Line began sailing with Norwegian Sky from the Port of Baltimore to begin a fall and winter sailing schedule. Norwegian Sun will also sail from the port. NCL’s cruises will head for Canada and New England, Bermuda and the Caribbean. 

Riviera River Cruises is offering free limited-time cabin upgrades.

Cruise Trade News

Seabourn has migrated its luxury travel advisor website to OneSource Travel Advisor Network. Separately, two cruise selling brands of World Travel HoldingsDream Vacations and CruiseOne—announced that the group's 2024 National Conference will set sail from Port Everglades, FL, on November 17, 2024; it will be a seven-night Caribbean cruise aboard the new Celebrity Ascent.

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