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The News hasn’t been great for fans of Virgin Voyages in this part of the world, but for travellers on a recent Delta Air Lines flight the News was all good.

Last week the cruise company announced its ships wouldn’t be returning to Australia next summer.

The change means the ship will now opperate new itiniraries.

Sir Richard Branson surprised travellers on a Delta flight at the weekend with a cruise aboard Resilient Lady.

The direct flight from Atlanta to San Juan was chosen in partnership with Delta Air Lines to celebrate the unveiling of Resilient Lady’s new homeport in San Juan later this year.

Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, boarded the flight to personally gift all SkyMiles Members on the flight  a free voyage to sail during the ship’s inaugural season in San Juan later this year.

“The Caribbean has been my home for many years, and I’m very excited to welcome Resilient Lady as she sails from San Juan to visit the region’s most beautiful destinations,” Sir Richard Branson said.

My excitement clearly couldn’t be contained, so we came up with a way to celebrate with a personal invitation and surprise for some unsuspecting guests on a Delta flight to San Juan.

We’re grateful for our partners at Delta who joined in on the fun and have also been long-time venture partners of our airline, Virgin Atlantic. We look forward to showing everyone what it’s like to Set Sail the Virgin Way!”.

Prior to boarding, Virgin Voyages hosted a full departure gate takeover, bringing to life elements of the ship’s on-board experience to passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Fliers were treated to original choreography from Virgin Voyages’ award-winning entertainment team along with Instagrammable photo moments and vignettes at the gate, specialty drinks and music to bring the vibe.

In addition to the pre-flight entertainment, Sir Richard was joined by Delta’s SVP and Chief Communications Officer, Tim Mapes, for a generous game of roulette. Customers and passersby alike were invited to spin the wheel of prizes, which included Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights, Virgin Hotel stays, a Virgin Voyages cruise, Delta Vacation package, gift cards and high-end swag.

“When two award-winning brands come together, they create magic for their customers.

Delta is thrilled to have partnered with Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages for this special surprise-and-delight for our SkyMiles Members on the flight,” said Delta’s Tim Mapes.

“This is one more way in which we’re adding value to the program and unlocking exclusive experiences for our Members. Stay tuned for more with Virgin Voyages.”

Richard Branson’s newest travel brand has an unstoppable fleet that’s been recognized on both Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List and Hot Lists and was also awarded best dining and best entertainment by Cruise Critic’s readers.

This fall, after Resilient Lady completes her inaugural season abroad, the award-winning vessel will embark on a trans-continental journey to her new homeport in San Juan this fall. With this News, Virgin Voyages is now thrilled to unveil stunning new ports of call across the Caribbean and Latin America. On deck are fresh seven-, eight-, 10- and 11-night voyages visiting St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Colombia and Dominica.

Delta has been serving Puerto Rico for more than 70 years, helping contribute to tourism development and enabling families to connect with their loved ones.

The airline, in the past year, has grown total seats to the island by 11% and currently offers service between Puerto Rico and five Delta hubs, making it easy and convenient to access Virgin Voyages’ new Puerto Rico itineraries.