Cruise industry newcomer Virgin Voyages is trying to avoid the waves being made in Key West, Florida to restrict cruise ship travel and has decided to forgo calling on the port altogether, at least for now.
In a message sent to travel agents the adults only cruise line said:
We’ve decided to suspend our calls into Key West, and instead will be sailing to the sun-soaked shores of Nassau. We’ve made this decision in light of potential measures to restrict cruise ship travel to Key West — that being said, we remain committed to giving your Sailors a taste of the incredible experiences that Key West has to offer in the future.
All passengers booked on the “Fire and Sunset Soirées” sailings through 2021 and the sailings departing on March 9 and April 6, 2022 will have their itineraries changed to reflect the Scarlet Lady calling on the Bahamian capital. The ship will be docked in port from 8am until 8pm. Virgin Voyages will fully refund all excursions booked in Key West “ASAP.”
On June 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis cancelled the results of voter-approved limits on cruise ship operations enacted by local voters. Now the Safer Cleaner Ships committe says the “Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Great Florida Reef are again threatened by some of the largest and most destructive cruise ships in the world.” The restrictions would see cruise ship reductions at all three cruise ship piers — Mallory Pier, Outer Mole and the privately owned Pier B to aid in preserving the area’s natural resources and aid in overcrowding. However, Pier B is privately owned and recent negotiations have stalled over how to limit someone’s use of their owned and operated property.
Virgin Voyages, however, has decided to set it’s sails further southbound until the situation is resolved.