Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady launched in Dover by Richard Branson

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady launched in Dover by Richard Branson
Scarlet Lady will now call at Liverpool, England, before sailing to Miami, US, for its maiden voyage (Image: Virgin Voyages)

Virgin Voyages’ first ship, Scarlet Lady, has been launched by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson in Dover, England.

Scarlet Lady was recently delivered to Virgin Voyages by Fincantieri at its shipyard in Genoa, Italy. The ship features over 20 dining venues and a range of entertainment options, including onboard gigs, DJ sets and drag artists. She will also host artists such as Mark Ronson, Diplo, MK and Sofi Tukker on its ‘On Deck’ voyages, when they will appear at the cruise line’s Beach Club at Bimini venue in the Bahamas.

“I have dreamed of starting my own cruise line since I was in my 20s and I’m thrilled that moment has arrived,” said Branson. “The Scarlet Lady is truly special, and we’ve worked with some of the world’s most sought-after designers, artists and architects to craft an extraordinary experience. The benefit of our five decades in business in so many industries is that we can offer a voyage like no other.”

Branson joined several other Virgin Voyages executives to speak at a press conference onboard the ship in Dover, which was attended by ICFR and other media representatives, social media influencers and invited guests. Here, Branson discussed his inspiration for the brand, expressed his pride that the ship had launched and shared his gratitude for both the people involved in creating the ship and the crew who will now look after her guests. 

"Every single little detail is incredible," said Branson. "The crew are absolutely delightful and they will look after you really well."

Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin also spoke during the event, highlighting how feedback from future sailors (Virgin's term for guests) had helped to shape many of the design, entertainment and pricing decisions Virgin Voyages made when developing the "adult by design" ship, which is targeted at "eager explorers who like to play hard".  

"Our brand purpose is to create an epic sea change for all," he said. "We want to be the ship that everybody wants to see in port, and our incredible crew will bring that ship to life...We didn't just build a ship, we built a voyage."

Noting that the brand will launch a second ship, Valiant Lady, in May 2021 and two others in the following years, McAlpin highlighted the brand's future growth potential. "Our challenge is that people know Virgin, but not who Virgin Voyages are," he said. "We're building four ships and the world is our playground. There's a tremendous growth opportunity."

After departing Dover, Scarlet Lady will call at Liverpool, England, before sailing to Miami, US for her christening and maiden voyage around the Caribbean.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
21 February 2020

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