Virgin Voyages has updated Resilient Lady's repositioning voyage taking place on March 27 from Australia to Athens that would have passed through the Red Sea, which has seen several attacks by Yemen's Houthi group on commercial ships. This has prompted several shipping and cruise companies to avoid this route, which typically included a transit of Egypt's Suez Canal in the north en route to the Mediterranean Sea.
In place of its formerly planned repositioning voyages, Resilient Lady will now be departing from Sydney, embarking on a sailing around the coast of Africa with a brand-new route stopping in Eden and Fremantle (Perth), Australia; Port Louis, Mauritius; Durban and Cape Town, South Africa; Walvis Bay, Namibia; Praia, Cape Verde; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain; Casablanca, Morocco; Barcelona, Spain; Valletta, Malta; and Santorini and Piraeus (Athens), Greece—all with extended time at sea.
All passengers on these former three legs of the repositioning voyages will have guaranteed spots on these sailings at no additional cost and a price protection commitment in place. If these dates are not convenient, they can receive a Future Voyage Credit based on their paid balance or a full refund. In addition to this, Virgin Voyages says it is committed to remaining a good partner to travel advisors and will be protecting their commissions.
“The safety of our passengers and crew is our number one priority. Like many other cruise brands, we have been watching the current conflict in the Middle East closely, connecting regularly with global security experts to consider the impacts of the repositioning voyages planned for Resilient Lady in 2024,” a spokesperson for Virgin Voyages told Travel Agent. “We remain concerned about potential escalations in this part of the world over the next 12 months and the risk that this presents for safe passage through the region. As a result, we have been left with no choice but to make changes to Resilient Lady's repositioning voyage taking place on March 27.”
With this in mind, and to minimize further disruptions to passengers’ future vacation plans, Virgin Voyages is conducting a full review of other geographically similar repositioning voyages and linked sailings. It will provide an update in the coming weeks on any further changes it makes.