Huge change to Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady cruise ship leaving Australia

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Richard Branson’s Resilient Lady cruise ship, which has spent the summer in Australia for the first time, will head back to Europe on a different route due to safety concerns.

Virgin Voyages said it had been “watching the current conflict in the Middle East closely” along with global security experts and were “left with no choice” but to make changes to the repositioning voyage beginning on March 27.

“We remain concerned about potential escalations in this part of the world over the next 12 months and the risk that this presents for safe passage through the region,” a company spokesperson said.

The ship will now sail around the coast of Africa and has removed three Australian stops from its itinerary.

It will leave Sydney and make stops in Eden and Fremantle in Australia, Port Louis in Mauritius, Durban and Cape Town in South Africa, Walvis Bay in Namibia, Praia in Cape Verde, Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain, Casablanca in Morocco, Barcelona in Spain, Valletta in Malta, and Santorini and Piraeus/Athens in Greece.

The original voyage was Sydney, Airlie Beach, Cairns and Darwin in Australia, Bali in Indonesia, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Phuket in Thailand, Colombo in Sri Lanka, Mumbai in India, Dubai in the UAE, Safaga and Alexandria in Egypt, Rhodes, Santorini and Athens in Greece.

“All passengers on these former three legs of the repositioning voyages will have guaranteed spots on these sailings at no additional cost and a price protection commitment in place,” the spokesperson said.

If the new dates are not convenient, passengers can get a future voyage credit or full refund.

The cruise line also promised to protect travel agents’ commissions.

“We know that based on our conversations with passengers and travel partners, they understand the complex geopolitical challenges that have arisen making this change necessary,” the spokesperson said.

They continued: “With the very likely continuation of this escalated regional conflict top-of-mind, and in an effort to minimise further disruptions to our passengers’ future holiday plans, Virgin Voyages is now conducting a full review of other geographically similar repositioning voyages and linked sailings.

“We will provide an update in the coming weeks on any further changes we will need to make.”

Virgin Voyages’ newest ship Resilient Lady arrived in Australia for its first season Down Under in December.

The company’s British billionaire founder, Sir Richard Branson, also made an appearance for the launch.

Virgin Voyages has already announced it will return to Australia next season and will add 10 ports.

This summer, Resilient Lady had itineraries stopping at Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart and Burnie – as well as New Zealand ports.

But in the 2024-25 summer, Broome, Albany, Adelaide, Newcastle, Mooloolaba, Port Douglas, Willis Island, Brisbane, Eden and Kangaroo Island will join the list.

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