Virgin Voyages’ first ship, Scarlet Lady, will feature Cuba as one of her voyage destinations during her inaugural season in 2020.
The decision to sail to Cuba was influenced by customer and travel partner research it conducted in North America and the United Kingdom.
Both groups consistently rank the Caribbean island as one of the most desired and interesting destinations to visit on a voyage.
“Virgin Atlantic has been visiting Cuba for 13 years, and I cannot wait to see our iconic Scarlet Lady gleaming in the Havana Harbour,” said Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.
“Havana is the perfect place for our sailors to go and experience a city that exudes an irresistible energy and passion.”
The adults only brand will offer the newest and most beautifully designed ship sailing to Havana ensuring that their sailors get there in style.
All sailings to Cuba from Miami feature an overnight stay, meaning sailors have time to really explore and experience the capital city’s vibrant nightlife and cultural heritage.
While in port, sailors can visit Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; dance the night away at a salsa club, visit Cuba’s warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges, or simply wander the streets alongside pastel-washed colonial architecture.
OFAC-compliant shore experiences are in development and details will be made available later in 2019.
“We are thrilled to share the news about our partnership with Cuba and can’t wait to take our sailors to Havana, which is without doubt, one of the Caribbean’s most authentic and enriching destinations,” said Virgin Voyages chief executive, Tom McAlpin.
“This fantastic place offers the chance for our sailors to create their own unique stories as they uncover cultural treasures, meet the locals and just soak up the atmosphere.”
Specific sailing dates relating to Virgin Voyages’ visits to Cuba will be released when the company opens up bookings for sale next year.
“We have a long-standing relationship with Richard Branson and the Virgin Group and are pleased to announce this new partnership with Virgin Voyages,” said Manuel Marrero Cruz, minister of tourism for Cuba.
“The Cuban people look forward to welcoming Virgin Voyages’ first ship, its crew and passengers to our shores in 2020.”
Virgin Voyages also confirmed this week it has order a fourth ship.
A short statement read: “We are delighted to confirm that we have entered into a contract with Fincantieri to build the fourth ship in our fleet, and we will be sharing additional details soon.”