Furious passengers on board Virgin's first ever cruise ship have lashed out after being told the vessel will skip its planned stop in New York and divert to Miami amid coronavirus fears.
After setting sail from Liverpool the Scarlet Lady was due to dock in the Big Apple this weekend to give media and travel experts a chance to look at the luxurious cruise liner.
But Virgin said Monday it had cancelled the promotional events, citing branding concerns rather than any health risks. In addition, Virgin was keen to say it had absolutely no health issues on board and had made the decision itself.
It comes as New York recorded its first case of coronavirus on Sunday, adding to a nationwide total of 77, including two deaths in Washington state.
Virgin claimed the decision had nothing to do with coronavirus, while alluding to 'global health concerns.' Its decision comes after a string of high profile cruise liner quarantines with high infection rates, including the Diamond Princess and the Westerdam, which were evacuated after weeks at sea in southeast Asia.
he Virgin Voyages cruise ship Scarlet Lady is seen on the River Mersey in Liverpool last week before setting sail for New York
Live tracking data captured this morning showing the current position of the vessel after it set sail from Liverpool
In light of the current news headlines, we want to ensure everyone feels it is the right time to celebrate with us.
We understand people may want to focus on other things at the moment, so we have made the decision to reschedule our upcoming Showcase Tour stop and events in New York City.
We plan to sail back to New York soon for you to visit her. We have absolutely no health concerns or issues on board and elevated our health protocol and processes when we took delivery of Scarlet Lady to keep our crew and visitors well and happy.
With no other events scheduled in New York at this time, we will instead sail Scarlet to her new home in Miami, where we will continue our plans for launch and welcome our Sailors for the first time.
Our Crew are so excited to host you, and we know that when you meet them and experience all we have to offer, you will see what we're doing to change vacations at sea forever.
We will be in touch soon with new dates for your visit. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to seeing you very soon.
In a statement to passengers obtained by The Sun, Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin said today: 'In light of growing media focus on global health concerns, we do not feel that it is the right time to showcase our brand in New York.
'We have absolutely no health concerns or issues on board, but the elevated health protocols and processes we put in place when we took the delivery of Scarlet Lady have kept our crew and their family