Scarlet Lady will be the first ship in Virgin Voyages' new fleet (Image: Virgin Voyages)
Virgin Voyages is to christen its first-ever cruise ship Scarlet Lady when she debuts in 2020, paying homage to the name of one of the first aeroplanes in sister company Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages president and CEO Tom McAlpin revealed the named during the ship’s float-out ceremony at Fincantieri’s yard in Genoa, Italy on 20 July.
During the ceremony, Branson and McAlpin also revealed that Virgin Voyages has banned single-use plastic items on its ships, including straws, bottled water, other beverage bottles, condiment packets, shopping bags, food packaging, stirrers, and disposable coffee and tea cups. Instead, the company will use recyclable and reusable materials.
“Nothing makes me prouder than seeing companies like Virgin Voyages striving to make a positive impact on the world we live in,” said Branson. “Business is a force for good and can and must be the catalyst for global change.”
Scarlet Lady and her two sister ships will also be powered by engines, hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers), selective catalytic reduction systems and integrated navigation systems from Wärtsilä. Meanwhile, ABB is to provide its Azipod gearless propulsion systems that have an electric drive motor located in a submerged pod outside the hull, to minimise noise, vibrations and cut fuel consumption by 15%. In addition, Virgin Voyages is collaborating with advanced waste management systems provider Scanship to develop technology that could significantly reduce ocean discharge by turning waste into energy.
“We believe that in order to fulfil our purpose of creating an ‘Epic Sea Change for All,’ we must make a commitment that is bigger than just eliminating straws,” said McAlpin. “We must make a commitment to building ships and experiences that do everything possible to look after the well-being of our precious oceans. We are delighted with what we’ve achieved so far and will continue to push ourselves to look for innovative ways to do things that will make a difference.”
McAlpin also told ceremony attendees that Virgin Voyages has created a ‘Scarlet Squad’ programme aimed at recruiting, supporting and mentoring women who want to work on its ships. The initiative will seek to help women assume leadership roles in onboard areas where statistics have shown low numbers of female executives, such as marine, technical and hotel management.
“Across the maritime industry, we can do better in onboard recruiting and leadership representation for women,” said McAlpin. “I want all future crew to know that Virgin Voyages will create an onboard environment that is fair, inclusive and where everyone has an opportunity to reach their full potential.”
Fincantieri also cut the first pieces of steel for Virgin Voyages’ second ship on 18 July. The vessel is due for delivery in 2021.
Read our exclusive interview with Tom McAlpin to discover how Virgin Voyages is creating a new cruising concept
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