Season Cancelled for Virgin Cruise Ship Due to Red Sea Concerns

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After recently making significant changes to Resilient Lady‘s repositioning cruise from Australia to the Mediterranean, Virgin Voyages has continued to monitor Middle East tensions and now decided to cancel the ship’s return to Australia after her Mediterranean summer.

Instead, the cruise line’s newest vessel will offer new Caribbean itineraries, and options are still being considered for a return to Australia and the Asia Pacific region once repositioning sailings become more tenable.

Resilient Lady Not Returning to Australia

Resilient Lady – currently enjoying a warm welcome with Virgin Voyages’ first ever season in Australia – will unfortunately be unable to return to Australia as planned, due to ongoing tensions in the Middle East that post a significant threat to the safety of planned repositioning cruises.

“Based on the regional and government advice we have received, we remain very concerned about potential escalations in the Red Sea over the next 12 months,” the cruise line said.

“This significant and ongoing conflict puts unacceptable risks for safe passage through the region for our Sailors, crew and vessel. As a result, we have been left with no choice but to cancel our 2024/25 voyage season plans for Resilient Lady, impacting the late 2024 and early 2025 repositioning voyages between Europe and Australia  and a second sailing season in Australian waters.”

This means that all Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific itineraries after the ship completes her current season in March will be cancelled. The ship will leave Sydney, Australia on March 27 on the already-altered repositioning voyage to the Mediterranean, now looping around western Africa rather than sailing through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

Resilient Lady Arrives in Sydney
Resilient Lady Arrives in Sydney (Photo Courtesy: Virgin Voyages)

The ship’s 2024 season in the Mediterranean is not affected, but instead of returning to Australia as originally planned, Resilient Lady will instead undertake a transatlantic cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she will homeport for the winter in the Caribbean. Itineraries are not yet confirmed, but will include amazing destinations like St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Colombia, and Dominica.

“To say that we are disappointed to have come to this tough conclusion is an understatement,” the statement from Virgin Voyages said.

The cruise line is planning a diverse arrangement of Caribbean itineraries for Resilient Lady to enjoy with lengths ranging from 7-11 nights, depending on itinerary route and sailing date.

Why Make Changes Now?

It is clear that the geopolitical situation surrounding the Red Sea is unstable, but changes could happen at any time that would bring greater peace and stability to the region.

Virgin Voyages is opting to make these itinerary cancellations now – months in advance – in order to permit both travel agents and interested guests as much time as possible to adjust their own travel plans, rather than risk last-minute changes.

“These adjustments are happening now in order to minimize potential future disruption to our passengers’ holiday plans knowing there is a high likelihood that changes would need to happen in the future,” the cruise line said.

Resilient Lady Cruise Ship
Resilient Lady Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Alex Anderson / Maritime Filming UK)

Last-minute itinerary changes on such a massive scale often leave travelers scrambling with non-refundable airfare, hotel reservations, or other arrangements, as well as fewer choices for alternative sailings in other regions.

Read Also: The Impact of Red Sea Tensions on Cruising

Guests on the now-cancelled cruises will have the option to rebook on another Virgin Voyages cruise or a full refund for their reservation. Details will be sent to impacted guests and travel agents as soon as options are finalized.

Travelers who had already booked for the 2025 Australian season will also have priority for future Down Under sailings should they become available.

Many different cruise lines have already adjusted itineraries in or near the Red Sea. Most recently, Norwegian Cruise Line cancelled select late 2024 Red Sea regional sailings for Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Sky, joining similar alterations by Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises, and other lines.

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