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Any NEWS on VV? Please post it here...

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Just got the email:

Hello there, 

Today the U.S. Government implemented new travel restrictions that effectively eliminate the ability for cruise ships to travel to Cuba. That means we are no longer able to sail our Scarlet Lady there.

Given our feelings for Havana, and the friendliness and warmth of the Cuban people, it goes without saying that we are as disappointed as you by the Administration’s decision to restrict travel there.

However, our priority now is to continue to deliver to you an irresistible holiday at sea, when you sail with us next year. Our Crew is currently working on another exciting port to replace this one. We plan to share an update with you by early next week.

And remember, your sailing still includes a visit to our exclusive Beach Club at Bimini with its gorgeous crystal-clear waters and stunning white sandy beaches, all wrapped up by a unique Virgin Voyages experience.

If you have any questions before we get in touch next week, call our Sailor Services team at 954-488-2955 (US/Canada) or +44 (20) 30034919 (UK) or speak to the First Mate (Travel Advisor) who arranged your booking.

Thank you for choosing to sail with Virgin Voyages. We are grateful for your belief in the change we will bring to sea travel, and we can’t wait to see you on board.

Sincerely,
Tom McAlpin
CEO & President

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Posted (edited)

Patty, that's too bad! Cuba was the best of the itineraries that VV was offering for 2020. Any word on whether folks will get their deposits back, if they decide to cancel their ill-fated Cuba bookings?

Edited by wwcruisers

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24 minutes ago, wwcruisers said:

Patty, that's too bad! Cuba was the best of the itineraries that VV was offering for 2020. Any word on whether folks will get their deposits back, if they decide to cancel their ill-fated Cuba bookings?

Suzanne, we have a non refundable deposit of $800 and right now we are sick about it.  No way are we going to the private island and Nassau.  It will be interesting to see how Virgin handles this.  K

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4 hours ago, Oville said:

Suzanne, we have a non refundable deposit of $800 and right now we are sick about it.  No way are we going to the private island and Nassau.  It will be interesting to see how Virgin handles this.  K

 

Other cruise lines (like RC) who sail to Cuba have already announced comp & refund packages for folks who's cruises have been affected by yesterday's news. Let's hope that Sir Richard steps up and does the right thing, for all of his understandably disappointed 'Sailors'!

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The right thing for VV to do from a PR standpoint is offer a full refund or full credit toward a future cruise regardless of the "non-refundable" deposit. All cruiselines are in the same boat. Let's see which ones handle this very unfortunate situation properly.  

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We're waiting to see what they offer as an alternative. Cuba was the main draw and I don't know what they could offer that would be comparable, but we'll see. 

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Both Carnival and RCCl have made very generous offers to those affected by this Cuba policy. Just waiting to see what Virgin offers. Crossing my fingers and would be happy if we can get our $900 non-refundable deposit back. Definitely do not want to spend $5,000 to visit Key West or Nassau.

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I'm definitely interested in seeing where this goes. However, since I wanted to cruise with Virgin because they're different, the end of Cuba cruises is not a deal breaker. It's just very disappointing.

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3 hours ago, TBBucman said:

Both Carnival and RCCl have made very generous offers to those affected by this Cuba policy. Just waiting to see what Virgin offers. Crossing my fingers and would be happy if we can get our $900 non-refundable deposit back. Definitely do not want to spend $5,000 to visit Key West or Nassau.

 

We actually would keep the booking if Key West was subbed in, as we love that island and would enjoy revisiting some of our favorite non-tourist spots. Nassau -- no way. Not worth it to us.

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2 hours ago, crazycatlady11 said:

 

We actually would keep the booking if Key West was subbed in, as we love that island and would enjoy revisiting some of our favorite non-tourist spots. Nassau -- no way. Not worth it to us.

For us Key West is no go.  We have been there so many times by land and sea have no interest in spending $4,000 for a 4 day cruise to Key West.

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VV hasn't given any indication yet what sort of compensation or cancellation policy they will offer for the Cuba sailings.  I agree that the fares are too high for a simple 4 day cruise that can practically only go to Nassau or Key West unless they cancel the Bimini stop, which they've indicated will remain.  It's not worth the expense to travel to Florida for a 4 day cruise anyway, as Cuba was the only reason I begrudgingly accepted the short itinerary.  I'd consider switching to the Dominican Daze cruise, but the Sweet Aft Suites are sold out on every sailing and the next cheapest suite is $1000 more than my current booking.  They really need to release the schedule for November and on.

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42 minutes ago, timf2001 said:

VV hasn't given any indication yet what sort of compensation or cancellation policy they will offer for the Cuba sailings.  I agree that the fares are too high for a simple 4 day cruise that can practically only go to Nassau or Key West unless they cancel the Bimini stop, which they've indicated will remain.  It's not worth the expense to travel to Florida for a 4 day cruise anyway, as Cuba was the only reason I begrudgingly accepted the short itinerary.  I'd consider switching to the Dominican Daze cruise, but the Sweet Aft Suites are sold out on every sailing and the next cheapest suite is $1000 more than my current booking.  They really need to release the schedule for November and on.

It is shameful that we have not received a single email or text from Virgin.  At $1,000 a day for a Cheeky Corner Suite for a 4 day cruise to Havana one would think there would be some communication about this situation.  Not a good start for Virgin in the cruise industry.

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9 hours ago, Oville said:

 At $1,000 a day for a Cheeky Corner Suite for a 4 day cruise to Havana one would think there would be some communication about this situation.  Not a good start for Virgin in the cruise industry.

RCI has been in business for 50 years and still has many communication screw ups - expecting that from a company whose first sailing is still almost a year away is asking a bit too much IMO. Also, expecting something different because you are in a higher class cabin is also setting you up for disappointment.

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2 hours ago, Biker19 said:

RCI has been in business for 50 years and still has many communication screw ups - expecting that from a company whose first sailing is still almost a year away is asking a bit too much IMO. Also, expecting something different because you are in a higher class cabin is also setting you up for disappointment.

 

 

Agree with Biker. I mean, yes it would be great but remember they're reacting to essentially a tweet from the president, confirmed the policy and only then when they were 100% sure this was what it appeared to be, could they start planning. We contacted them on the chat the morning of the policy and they advised they were working on getting the details of the new policy first and foremost.

 

We're book on Oct 4 night to Havana. It's for our 6th anniversary and my wife's 30th birthday. Cuba was the reason we booked this one. We're actually sailing to Caribbean this July and would have been going to Cuba but didn't since we had Cuba on deck with Virgin next year. Oh well. Hopefully it's not Key West they replace Havana with, we'd have to switch. 

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On 6/6/2019 at 12:39 AM, twodjs said:

The right thing for VV to do from a PR standpoint is offer a full refund or full credit toward a future cruise regardless of the "non-refundable" deposit. All cruiselines are in the same boat. Let's see which ones handle this very unfortunate situation properly.  

 

Agree.  Most of the other mainstream cruise lines are allowing cancellations.  One exception is MSC and people on that board are fuming about it.  It will be interesting (and telling) to see which path VV takes.

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Just curious and I am just guessing as I don't know the regulations but would it not work to re-port the ship to another country's Caribbean or Bahamas port?  Seems as though there would be time for VV to make those arrangements and salvage at least some of the Cuba voyages.  I mean, isn't it only US based ships, not Americans, that can't go to Cuba?  We could be chartered by VV on Virgin Atlantic and depart from the new port.  Maybe Miami would feel the loss and go to bat to remove the new restriction... surely there is already some sort of movement in that direction with the pending loss of tourist dollars?

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So I just noticed that all remaining October cruises for VV went up $300-$400 since Friday.

 

We are booked on the Havana 4 night and should hear this week what the replacement port is but now if we do switch itineraries, it’s going to be $300-$400 more than Havana was. Seems a little shady but we’ll see 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Tuasdad said:

So I just noticed that all remaining October cruises for VV went up $300-$400 since Friday.

 

We are booked on the Havana 4 night and should hear this week what the replacement port is but now if we do switch itineraries, it’s going to be $300-$400 more than Havana was. Seems a little shady but we’ll see 

 

 

Looks like they reversed course this morning. The prices are back to what they were pre-Cuba ban 

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Just checked out the website and there are some changes!    I am hoping and waiting for Nov 2020 cruises to be announced.   Well, November is not, but there are two cruises for Dec 2020.   And yes, they are 7 days cruises!   Dom Rep, Bemini, and San Juan Puerto Rico.    I am all for the 7 day options, but will still wait for something in Nov 2020.

 

dave

 

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54 minutes ago, SC_GAY_Cruiser said:

Just checked out the website and there are some changes!    I am hoping and waiting for Nov 2020 cruises to be announced.   Well, November is not, but there are two cruises for Dec 2020.   And yes, they are 7 days cruises!   Dom Rep, Bemini, and San Juan Puerto Rico.    I am all for the 7 day options, but will still wait for something in Nov 2020.

 

dave

 

Thanks for posting that, Dave! Not wild about that particular itinerary, but any 7-nighters would be a step in the right direction. I'd still love to sail on Scarlet Lady -- but with Cuba out of the picture, the remaining itineraries leave a lot to be desired. Not to mention that those of us (Pacific NW), who are as far across the 'lower 48' as you can get, are NOT tempted by 5-night cruises (no matter where the destination is.)

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New itinerary for "previously Cuba" April 1-5 voyage is out via email:   Miami (7p departure), Key West (8a-7p), Beach Club at Bimini (10a-11:59p), day at sea, Miami (6:30a arrival).

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Posted (edited)

Cabins under construction.

Photos from deriva srl

 

 

Virgin Voyages Cabin 1.jpg

 

deriva srl  4.jpg

 

deriva srl 1.jpg

deriva srl 5.jpg

 

deriva srl 6.jpg

 

deriva srl 3.jpg

 

deriva srl 2.jpg

Edited by Lloyd555

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A Captain's Calling

11 Jun 2019

CaptainWendy_Office_Edit8-1600x1000.jpg

 

The only thing that is going to limit you is your own imagination. A piece of advice Captain Wendy Williams’ parents gave her when she was a child, that she’s always held close. “Their message was that you can do and be anything you imagine,” she adds, “and I've always believed in that. You don't have to be limited by anything.”

As it turns out, they were right. Her imagination was vast, focused and driven, guiding her through a successful dream career at sea, where only under three percent of the world's mariners are female. That journey has led her to this moment, as she takes on the first captain role for Virgin Voyages’ premier vessel, Scarlet Lady, making her the first Canadian woman in history to captain a ship for a major cruise brand.

“If you're the heart of the ship and your heart’s in the wrong place, then you're not going to have a good ship. I’ve always been known as the captain with a heart.” she says about her approach to her new role, “I intend to be the best captain I can be and love every moment of it.”  

Born in Sept-Iles Quebec, on the Northeastern Coast of Canada, Captain Wendy is certainly no newcomer to the sea. She has spent the larger part of the last three decades on the water, in different capacities. “I’m pretty sure I have sea water in my veins,” she says about her upbringing.

Commercial fishing was her first career at sea, starting out as a deckhand, then an observer and eventually working in all capacities, for her own vessels. During that time she became enamored with the sailing of the ships themselves and began to move in that direction. 

She credits that background with giving her the confidence she has today. “Fishing brings you very close to the weather and how it changes,” she said, “I’ve learned a lot about reading the weather from being on a fishing vessel.”

After battling that very grueling industry for about a decade, during which time she met her husband, they decided to go to school together at The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Pacific Marine Training Institute, located in North Vancouver. Soon after Captain Wendy began her cruise ship career, still only one of very few women in the industry at the time. Though she has captained many vessels in her career and was a Staff Captain for 6 of her 15 years in this industry, this Virgin Voyages role will be her first time mastering her own cruise ship.

“I think we're making amazing strides now,” says Captain Wendy about women in mariner roles. “When you walk onto the bridge you don’t have a gender. You’re a Mariner. You’re an officer, this is what you do. This is what we do together. There should be no bearing on what our gender is. And that's the kind of bridge that we are going to have. There's no space in our day to have gender bias.”  

Captain Wendy says her primary focus at Virgin Voyages will be on Crew. “While structure is of utmost importance for safety and order on a ship,” she adds. “I'm driven to embrace inclusivity and set an example that all people should be treated with respect and integrity.”

A deep love for the sea drives all she does, and she’s described a life at sea as her calling, “For me, the sea is my religion. It’s where I think. It’s where I have clarity. I’m not afraid of it and I’m respectful of it.” When this position with Virgin Voyages arose, she had been looking for a fresh perspective on the sea travel industry, which is why this partnership feels so destined, both for Captain Wendy and for the team at Virgin Voyages.

“The whole thing for me is that [at Virgin Voyages] we’re going to do it differently,” said Captain Wendy, noting that she was drawn to the brand because of a shared drive for treating the sea with care and respect.

“I’ve encountered people in my career who feel being kind and smiling is a sign of weakness, but I believe it’s my greatest strength,” she says about her thoughtful approach to all she does. “I have to care about everyone and everything. I’m the Captain.”

To that, we can only say: Aye aye! Welcome aboard, Captain Wendy! 

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