International cruising back on the cards as Portsmouth’s biggest ever cruise ship Scarlet Lady gets ready to welcome first passengers
New rules from the government, announced on Thursday, will see international cruises start again from England from August 2 after a 16-month break.
From Monday, fully vaccinated US and EU travellers arriving from amber countries will not need take a test on day eight of their arrival or quarantine.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘This is progress we can all enjoy.’
Picture: Marcin Jedrysiak Instagram: @MarcinJ_photography
Celebration held as Portsmouth International Port holds its first cruise ship na…
The news has been welcomed by Virgin Voyages, which is also preparing to welcome passengers on board Scarlet Lady, its first Lady Ship, for her first official sailing on August 6.
However, despite the relaxation on rules, Scarlet Lady will be setting off on her six scheduled UK sailings around the English Channel, called the Summer Soirée Series, before heading for sunnier climes.
She will be berthed in Portsmouth for the six sailings. At 277 meters, and with space for 3,000 passengers, Scarlet Lady is the largest vessel ever handled by Portsmouth International Port and its berthing was only made possible thanks to a £18m investment from Portsmouth City Council, which owns the port, to upgrade the port facilities.
There are more than 20 eateries on board, with basic drinks and tips included in the price, as well as a spa, complimentary group workout classes, a nightclub, running track and a tattoo parlour.
Tom McAlpin, president and CEO of Virgin Voyages, said: ‘With our expansive food and beverage options, beautiful spa, amazing crew and festival-style line-up of on-board entertainment, Scarlet Lady challenges the status quo in every way.
‘Not only are we committed to helping our sailors create the most memorable vacation, but we want to provide the safest travel experience possible without compromising on the fun we all deserve.’
The first of four ships for Virgin Voyages, Scarlet Lady has 1,330 cabins and 78 suites called RockStar Quarters on board – with 86 per cent of cabins featuring a balcony and 93 per cent overlooking ocean views.
Only residents of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be able to sail on the Summer Soirée Series – and they must be aged 18+ and fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
After her limited UK season, Scarlet Lady will head to her home port in Miami with itineraries to the Caribbean.
Virgin Voyages will also welcome its second Lady Ship, Valiant Lady, to Portsmouth in 2022 on three new itineraries, including late-night and overnight stays in Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, the Canary Islands, Lisbon and Belgium.