Virgin Voyages has adjusted port times for more than 10 different ports of call as well as embarkation timing for sailings from its new terminal at PortMiami in Florida. Impacted guests are being notified of the schedule changes and offered help for adjusting travel plans if necessary.
All changes take effect for sailings from August 14, 2022 and later, and these changes are planned to impact all Virgin Voyages sailings through the rest of 2022.
Embarkation Times Changed
Of greatest concern to guests on upcoming cruises is the change in embarkation times in Miami.
Scarlet Lady and, when she arrives in Florida in October, Valiant Lady will now leave at at 6 p.m. rather than the later departure of 7 p.m. as has been previously scheduled. This means all guests must arrive at the terminal no later than 5 p.m. for an on-time embarkation and departure.
Guests on upcoming sailings who already have air travel booked into Miami with an arrival time after 3 p.m. on embarkation day are advised to contact Virgin Voyages for assistance with making suitable arrangements to arrive on time.
Experienced cruisers know it is always wise to plan flights a day or two before setting sail if possible, in case of unexpected delays, flight cancelations, or lost luggage.
Port Times Shortened
Virgin Voyages has also changed times in a total of 14 ports of call, including both Caribbean and Mediterranean itineraries.
Impacted Caribbean ports include Bimini in The Bahamas; Key West, Florida; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Frederiksted, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Roatan, Honduras.
In the Mediterranean, shortened port times apply to calls on Ibiza, Spain; Olbia and Cagliari, Italy; Gibraltar, UK; and Toulon and Ajaccio, France.
The time changes in different ports of call depend on the exact itinerary booked. For most ports, the change is just an hour, though some ports are being adjusted by two hours. In some cases, arrival times are also being impacted.
Details of the changes according to specific Scarlet Lady Caribbean itineraries are as follows:
- 4-night Fire and Sunset Soireés – Departing from Key West at 5 p.m., not 7 p.m.
- 5-night Mayan Sol – Leaving Costa Maya at 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.
- 5-night Riviera Maya – Departing Cozumel at 8 p.m., not 10 p.m.
- 5-night Dominican Daze – Arriving in Puerto Plata at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., and departing at 7 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.
- 8-night Eastern Caribbean Antilles – Arriving in Puerto Plata at 10 a.m. and leaving at 7 p.m.; arriving in San Juan at 12 p.m. and departing at 10 p.m., departing from Frederiksted at 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.
- 6-night Western Caribbean Charm – Leaving Roatán at 7 p.m., not 8 p.m. and leaving Costa Maya at 6 p.m. instead 7 p.m.
All Caribbean sailings that visit Bimini will also have that port of call shortened by one hour, leaving at 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.
Similarly, changes to Mediterranean itineraries aboard Valiant Lady are:
- 7-night French Daze & Ibiza Nights – Leaving Olbia at 5 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.
- 7-night Spanish Obsession – Departing Gibraltar at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.
- 7-night Irresistible Med – Arriving to Toulon at 9 a.m. instead of 8:30 am, and departing from both Ajaccio and Cagliari at 5 p.m., not 6 p.m.
All Mediterranean sailings with port visits to Ibiza will depart that charming city two hours earlier than initially scheduled, at 4 p.m. rather than 6 p.m.
Why so Many Changes?
Virgin Voyages has not offered details as to why so many ports of call are being shortened, only that the changes are made based on both passenger and travel agent feedback.
Given that the adults-only cruise line is still less than one year old – only having begun operations with the debut of Scarlet Lady in October 2021 – it is understandable that itineraries will continue to be adjusted based on port operations, general feedback, and overall popularity.
On many cruises, the last hour or two in a port of call is generally when most passengers have already returned to the ship, especially if a ship is in port for a long day. Trimming these port times is unlikely to have a dramatic impact on guest satisfaction for port destinations.
In fact, guests may be well pleased with the changes, as the sooner a ship departs the port, the sooner full bar service, casino games, and retail opportunities can be fully open.
At the moment, Virgin Voyages only operates two vessels, Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady. Two additional sister ships, Resilient Lady and Brilliant Lady, are both under construction and scheduled to join the luxury cruise line in 2023.
At this time, no changes have been announced for any of the cruise line’s 2023 itineraries.