The first ship in Sir Richard Branson’s new Virgin Voyages cruise line will skip its launch ceremony in New York City amid health concerns over the novel coronavirus.
Scarlet Lady was scheduled to debut in New York this month before heading to PortMiami for its inaugural sailings scheduled to kick off April 1.
However, Virgin said it is now delaying the launch celebration “given public sentiment and focus at this time.”
The indefinite postponement comes as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a second confirmed case of novel coronavirus – COVID-19 – in New York – a 50-year male living Westchester County, located just north of New York City.
The cruise line said there are currently no health concerns or issues on board Scarlett Lady at this time among the 850 passengers, comprised of friends and family of crew members who were invited on a test sailing from Europe.
“With no other events scheduled in New York at this time, we will instead sail the ship to her new home in Miami,” the cruise line said in a statement.
Delivered in February by Fincantieri in Italy, Scarlett Lady is the first of four new cruise ships being constructed for Virgin Voyages, the new adults-only cruise line backed by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.
The Scarlett Lady comes in at about 110,000 gross tonnes and is 278 meters long by 38 meters wide, with 1,400 guest cabins for a capacity of 2,770 passengers and another 1,160 crew members.
Delivery of the remaining three vessels is anticipated in 2021, 2022, and 2023, respectively.
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