In a surprise celebration on the streets of London, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, personally distributed free Virgin Voyages cruise tickets to 200 Londoners. The event also marks the beginning of the cruise line’s summer season in the Mediterranean.

London’s streets witnessed a unique sight on April 18 as Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, took to the streets in a scale model of the Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages’ first vessel, launched in 2021. The promotional stunt, on par with Branson’s celebratory antics, generously gave away 200 free cruises to lucky passersby.

From Oxford Street to Westminster Bridge, Branson’s journey drew crowds and surprised many with a ticket for two aboard any Virgin Voyage cruising the Mediterranean this summer.

Branson expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “It’s been wonderful to go aboard ‘Scarlet Lady’ this morning, sailing around and surprising lucky Londoners with free voyages.”

Added Virgin Voyages CEO Nirmal Saverimuttu, “We’re thrilled to kick-start our summer Med season with this fun surprise in London and to give unsuspecting travelers a chance to come aboard and experience the standout destinations all over the Mediterranean.”  

Other prizes awarded during the surprise celebration included Virgin Points from the loyalty club, Virgin Red, which can be redeemed for flights, train travel, and Virgin Experiences.

Branson’s pop-up “voyage” coincides with Virgin Voyage’s soon-to-launch summer season in the Mediterranean. The two ships will set sail first, with Resilient Lady departing from Barcelona on May 4 and Scarlet Lady launching from Barcelona on May 5. The two ships will both remain in Europe for the summer, with Resilient Lady managing cruises from its Piraeus (Athens), Greece, homeport beginning on May 9.

Richard Branson Gifts Free Cruises in London (Photo Credit: Virgin Voyages)

The two ships will spend the summer sailing more than 45 different itineraries, including destinations like Greece, Croatia, France, and Spain. Scarlet Lady, which can accommodate 2,770 passengers and an international crew of 1,160, will embark on longer roundtrip Med adventures from Barcelona, calling in Toulon, Marseille, and Cannes, France; Marina di Carrara, Italy; Ajaccio, Corsica; and Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on varying itineraries.

During the season, sister ship Resilient Lady, with the same capacity and weighing 110,000 gross tons, will enjoy 5-night jaunts between Barcelona and Athens, with stops in La Valletta, Malta, and Santorini, Greece, as well as 10-night roundtrip voyages from Athens, visiting ports in Santorini, Mykonos, and Corfu, Greece; Bodrum, Turkey; Chania, Crete; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Kotor, Montenegro.

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“I’m a big believer in it not just being about where you go, but how you get there,” said Branson. “Summer is a time for exploration, relaxation, and creating unforgettable memories, and sailing the Med in style is the vitamin-sea everybody needs.”

In addition to the Mediterranean cruises, Virgin Voyages will introduce a new cruise from Portsmouth, U.K., on August 23, marking a return to its launching point. The new routes aboard Resilient Lady feature 3- to 6-night voyages, visiting historic European cities such as Amsterdam, Holland, and Zeebrugge, Belgium.

Scarlet Lady in Italy (Photo Credit: maudanros)

Resilient Lady will stay in Portsmouth through September, departing on September 29 on a return to Barcelona for two additional Med cruises before crossing the Atlantic on an October 27 voyage to Miami. 

Scarlet Lady will stay in the Med through the fall, concluding the season with a 16-night transition cruise on November 28 that also arrives in Miami. The two ships will then begin a winter season in the Caribbean.

Valiant Lady, Virgin Voyages’ third ship, will spend its summer and the remainder of the year in the Caribbean.

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