Virgin Voyages to name first ship Scarlet Lady

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Virgin Voyages will name its first ship Scarlet Lady as it plans to launch a programme to recruit more female crew members in male-dominated roles.

Sir Richard Branson revealed the name today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa where it is being built.

The name, which also appeared on one of the earliest Virgin Atlantic planes, “reflects the brand’s iconic mermaid image”, according to the line, which will appear on the hull of the adult-only ship due to launch in 2020.

Virgin Voyages will launch a “Scarlet Squad” initiative aimed at recruiting and mentoring female crew in onboard areas such as marine, technical and hotel management, which statistically show low numbers of female staff and senior management.

Travel Weekly joined Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard and Virgin Voyages president and chief executive Tom McAlpin in Italy where the line was celebrating construction milestones, including the flooding of the ship’s drydock and a ceremony to cut the first pieces of steel for its second ship, due for delivery in 2021. Virgin Voyages will launch the third ship in 2022.

More details of the ship’s onboard features were also revealed.

“Across the maritime industry, we can do better in onboard recruiting and leadership representation for women,” McAlpin said. “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.”

Sir Richard and McAlpin also announced the company will eliminate the use of passenger-facing single-use plastics, including straws, bottled water, other beverage bottles, condiment packets, shopping bags, food packaging, stirrers, and take-away coffee and tea cups.

The company will emphasize the use of recyclable and reusable materials across the ship.

Complimentary filtered still and sparkling water will be available at all bars and restaurants, as well as at Natura filtered water stations on the ship.

“Nothing makes me prouder than seeing companies like Virgin Voyages striving to make a positive impact on the world we live in,” Sir Richard said. “Business is a force for good and can and must be the catalyst for global change.”

“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,” added 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.”

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P&O Cruises’ Iona: Welcome to the Pleasure Dome

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P&O Iona Impression.
Guests onboard P&O Cruises new ship Iona will head to a new glass ‘pleasure’ dome on the top deck for all the onboard entertainment.
The SkyDome on decks 16 and 17 will have a ‘hidden’ nightclub, the 710 Club, boutique four-screen cinema, and pool with a retractable stage. There will also be nightly aerial performances, immersive shows and deck parties.
The glass dome, which has been designed by award-winning British engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, the team behind London’s Embassy Gardens Sky Pool and Bulgari’s flagship New York boutique, means the show can always go on whatever the weather.
P&O Cruises senior vice president, Paul Ludlow said: ‘The SkyDome will be a magical venue with views of the ocean by day and starry skies at night. It will be an exciting home to aerial performers who will make the most of the amazing space as well as guest DJs and current performers setting the tone for memorable evenings of music and dancing under the sparkling glass dome.’
There will also be a foodie market, gastropub and cocktail lounge. They are among the 30 venues to eat or drink on Iona, the ship being built exclusively for the British cruise market.
Iona, new ship, the glass house
Iona, new ship, the glass houseP&O favourites The Glass House, Sindhu and Brodie’s are onboard too.
Iona is being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg and will be launched in May 2020. Holidays on Iona will go on sale in September 2018.

New Technology: Carnival LNG Bunkering

Cardissa (Photo credit: Kees Helder, Helderline)

With the AIDAnova slated to start regular service in the Canary Islands in December, Carnival Corporation has been working on the LNG bunkering processes and procedures not only for the new AIDA ship but also for the Costa and Carnival ships that will follow.

Carnival has contracted Shell to supply AIDA and Costa with LNG in Northern and Southern Europe and Carnival in Southern Florida. A bunkering solution for P&O’s new ships, which will also be LNG-fueled, was in the discussion stage, according to Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs.

“Because of the volume we are going to consume, LNG will be supplied by a bunker vessel,” he continued. “Shell already has a bunker vessel, the Cardissa based out of Rotterdam, and has another vessel under contract that is currently being adapted to bunkering.

“There are only six bunkering vessels for LNG in the world of which two will be dedicated to our trade going forward.”

A barge is under construction for bunkering in South Florida that will be ready by the first quarter of 2021.

The LNG capacity of the new cruise ships will be 3,620 cubic meters in three tanks, Strang said. “The typical maximum bunkering load we can take will be just over 3,000 cubic meters which should take from six to 10 hours, a little bit longer than traditional bunkering, but not significantly so.”

The ships will be dual fuel, meaning that will also carry MGO onboard as a pilot fuel and also to satisfy the safe return to port requirements.

In order to bunker, Shell needs approval permits in every port, Strang explained. He described it as a complex process where Shell has to run risk and hazard assessments together with the ports and authorities, unlike bunkering HFO or MGO that do not require a similar approval process.

“As part of the process we have gone through with Shell we have developed a very specific bunkering protocol,” Strang said.

The cruise line’s class society must also approve the procedures as must the class society for the bunkering vessel along with the port and local authorities before permits are granted.

Strang added: “If we had waited until the infrastructure was there before placing orders we would only now be thinking about possible orders. We took the view that this is the best fuel available for environmental performance and a number of other reasons, and then we entered into partnerships to build the infrastructure when and where we need it.”