Virgin Voyages has been criticised for leaving Australian cruise winners with costly itinerary adjustments after Oceania departures have been cancelled following Crimson Sea assaults on ships.

Final November, Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson facetimed over 150 passengers onboard a Virgin Australia flight to Tasmania to reward every of them a free Virgin Voyages cruise.

Three months later, Virgin Voyages introduced that Resilient Girl itineraries through the Suez Canal have been cancelled following assaults on delivery, and sailings in Australia and New Zealand wouldn’t go forward for the 2024–25 cruising season – solely the second departing Virgin’s Pacific ports.

In a press release in February, Virgin Voyages stated: “As the security of our passengers and crew is our primary precedence, Virgin Voyages just lately shared a change after all for our early 2024 repositioning voyage from Australia to the Med. On the heels of those current adjustments and primarily based on the regional and authorities recommendation now we have obtained, we stay very involved about potential escalations within the Crimson Sea over the subsequent 12 months.

“We’re at the moment working by choices to return to Australia and the Asia Pacific area as soon as regional repositioning alternatives turn out to be extra tenable.”

To honour the promotional promise, prize winners have been supplied a complimentary European or Caribbean cruise valued as much as $10,500 (£5,530) with the road – however this has come at a price to some prospects.

One winner instructed ABC Information that the prize will now value her $8,000 (£4,214) in flights on account of itinerary adjustments that require Australian winners to embark at a global port.

The nameless passenger, who initially booked a cruise out of Brisbane, stated: “We have been genuinely shocked, we thought Virgin would supply us with an alternate prize like a flight credit score … or they might enable us to rebook on a later season.

“They type of gave up on us … like ‘you’re a little bit of an issue now’.”

A spokesperson for Virgin Australia Group stated: “We apologise to our winners who can not redeem their prize because of the cancellation of Virgin Voyages’ Australian and New Zealand cruises amid the battle within the Crimson Sea.

“Like Virgin Voyages, security is all the time our primary precedence, and we’re grateful that Virgin Voyages have supplied all impacted company the chance to take complimentary cruises on its different worldwide sailings, together with in Europe and the Caribbean.”

Virgin Australia added: “That is actually not the end result of the giveaway we got down to obtain for our fantastic company, nevertheless, this important and ongoing battle places unacceptable dangers for the protected passage from Europe to Australia for Virgin Voyages’ crew and vessel.”

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