Addressing growing tensions in the Middle East, Virgin Voyages has unveiled a new, safer route for its Resilient Lady, replacing a three-segment cruise through potentially volatile regions with an all-encompassing African coastal journey.
Virgin Voyages Responds to Geopolitical Tensions
Virgin Voyages has officially announced alterations to Resilient Lady’s 2024 repositioning voyage, initially set to navigate through the Middle East.
Citing the safety of passengers and crew as their paramount concern, the cruise line has been in constant dialogue with global security experts, assessing the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
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“We remain concerned about potential escalations in [the Middle East] over the next 12 months and the risk that this presents for safe passage through the region,” said the cruise line through a statement. “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.”
Itinerary Adjustments for Resilient Lady
Originally, Resilient Lady was set to embark on an extensive voyage starting from Sydney, Australia, on March 27, 2024.
The first leg of the voyage was to include stops in Airlie Beach on March 31, Cairns, Australia on April 2, Darwin on April 5, all in Australia, and an overnight stay in Bali, Indonesia, on April 7, before arriving in Singapore on April 11, 2024.
Following this, Resilient Lady was to continue from Singapore on April 11; heading towards Klang (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia, on April 12; Phuket, Thailand, on April 14; Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 17; Mormugao (Goa), India, on April 19; Mumbai, India, for an overnight stay starting on April 20, and concluding in Dubai, U.A.E., on April 24.
The final leg was scheduled to depart from Duabi on April 25, making its way to Safaga on May 2 and Alexandria on May 5, both in Egypt; then to Greece with stops in Rhodes on May 7, Santorini on May 8, and ending in Piraeus (Athens) on May 9.
In a significant shift, Resilient Lady will now sail from Sydney on a new course around Africa, bypassing the initially planned Middle Eastern ports.
The revised itinerary begins in Sydney with stops in Eden and Fremantle (Perch), 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; culminating in Santorini and Piraeus (Athens), Greece. Dates for the port visits have yet to be released.
Virgin Voyages has assured all passengers booked on the original voyage legs that they will have guaranteed spots on the new sailing without any additional charge.
Furthermore, the cruise line is offering a future voyage credit based on the paid balance or a full refund for those who find the new dates on the route inconvenient.
The Geopolitical Landscape’s Impact on Cruising
The decision by Virgin Voyages to alter Resilient Lady’s route reflects a broader trend in the cruise industry, where escalating regional conflicts have prompted cruise lines to reassess and modify their itineraries away from potential conflict zones.
Moreover, Virgin Voyages is now conducting a full review of other geographically similar repositioning voyages and linked sailings, and will provide an update in the coming weeks on any further changes we will need to make.