Virgin Voyages is headed to the Riviera Maya, Mexico, in the wake of the U.S. government’s decision to bar cruise travel to Cuba. The new adults-only cruise brand had initially planned to offer Havana calls during the inaugural 2020 season of its first ship, the Scarlet Lady, but that ship will now sail five-night itineraries to a number of destinations in the Riviera Maya.
The Riviera Maya sailings will call on Cozumel / Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where travelers will have the chance to dive and see up to 26 coral species, as well as explore ecological and archeological attractions, such as Mayan ruins. There will also be an optional excursion to neighboring Tulum, for a chance to sample its hip, bohemian nightlife scene and beaches.
The line’s quick, four-night getaways have been rebranded Fire and Sunset Soirées. These itineraries will now include a sunset departure from Key West and a midnight departure from Bimini. At Key West, guests will have the chance to explore the destination’s cultural attractions, while the visit to Bimini will be capped off by an exclusive late-night beach bonfire soirée. Exclusive to these sailings, these celebrations will also incorporate artistic fire installations that draw inspiration from the fireball sculptures on Necker Island, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson’s private island.
During the 2020 holiday season, the Scarlet Lady will also sail a number of special seven-night sailings. The Holidaze and Nights and New Year’s Ahoy voyages, which fall over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, respectively, will include stops in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and late-night sailaways in both Bimini, Bahamas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
All voyages will stop in Bimini, which is home to The Beach Club, Virgin Voyages’ private club. Virgin Voyages said that it developed the itinerary lineup based on destinations its travelers had expressed interest in.