Image: V2V Empress returning to the Steamship Terminal (Lise Luk Robinson / Facebook)

V2V Vacations has confirmed they are delaying the May 1 launch of its new Victoria-to-Vancouver passenger ferry service, citing crew training as the reason for the delay.

The ferry operator sent out a media release stating the launch will be delayed to provide further training for their on-board team.

“Safety is always our paramount priority, and we will never compromise on that, even if it means pushing our launch date. When we launch, V2V will offer guests a premium cruise experience between two of Canada’s most beautiful cities and along one of the most eye-catching coastlines in the world,” says Nick Cheong, VP, operations for V2V.

The company has cancelled early bookings, and V2V Vacations confirmed it would provide travellers with the option of a full refund or an opportunity to switch their sailing date and receive a complimentary ticket upgrade.

Following the April 29 christening of the ship in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, the V2V Empress will enter her final preparations with Ship’s Master Bryden Smith and his team. On

The onboard staff is continuing safety and customer experience training, the company said.

The V2V Empress is now expected to set sail on her inaugural voyage within the next few weeks.