Virgin Voyages’ inaugural season has come to an end after three months operating its “Summer Soiree” series from Portsmouth, England.
The city bid farewell to the line’s ship Scarlet Lady by lighting the Spinnaker Tower red as the vessel departed the United Kingdom for a transatlantic crossing bound for New York City.
Throughout the summer, over 8,000 passengers enjoyed cruising aboard Scarlet Lady, which is Virgin’s first cruise ship.
A pop-up terminal was created to host passengers, which adhered to strict COVID-19 protocols throughout the season.
Virgin Voyages’ decision to homeport the ship in Portsmouth was a welcome boost to the city after a challenging year. The line sent a letter of thanks to the city for hosting its first ship and first cruising season ever. It read:
For the last month, you’ve welcomed us to your home and you will forever have a place in our heart. We couldn’t be more grateful for your support as we sailed for the first time.
You have an incredible history, Thousands of sailors have seen the world after sailing from this port and come back with tales to tell. We’ve added thousands more to those that had epic experiences and journeys of a lifetime that all started right here from your home.
While Scarlet Lady is saying Bon Voyage after a brilliant Summer Soiree season, we can’t wait to see you next year when our second ship, Valiant Lady, makes her debut, right here. She’s quite the head turner too, and there’s nowhere else we’d rather start her off.
Sea you soon
Portsmouth’s port director Mike Sellers said, “Seeing Scarlet Lady in the port has been the result of years of hard work, from securing investment to extend our cruise berth to accommodate larger ships, to building confidence with the Virgin Voyages’ team that we could look after their world first sailing.
Everyone at the port stepped up, during the most challenging time, to make sure this was a success and I’m so proud of their hard work and professionalism.
It has also been impressive to see the Virgin team in operation too, some spending months in the city to make sure everything went smoothly, becoming very fond of Portsmouth in the process… We’re looking forward to seeing Virgin’s new build Valiant Lady in the city next year, and welcoming back the team.”
Starting in October, Scarlet Lady will spend the fall and winter sailing four and five-night voyages from Miami, Florida.