Virgin Voyages to name first ship Scarlet Lady

Image result for virgin scarlet lady

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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‘Hurricanes prevented UK cruise numbers reaching two million mark’

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The above Satellite shows three Hurricanes.

The number of cruises sold to British holidaymakers in 2017 may have exceeded two million if hurricanes had not hit the Caribbean, it has been claimed.

Clia last week reported a record year for the British cruise industry, with 1,959,000 Britons taking a cruise holiday in 2017 – an increase of 0.5% against 2016.

Stuart Leven, Clia’s UK and Ireland chairman, said it was a “major factor” that “five or six weeks” after hurricanes Irma and Maria struck ships were sent to help with the humanitarian effort.

He told Travel Weekly: “I would not lay it firmly at the door of hurricanes but several ships were taken out of service in order to help, which means there were fewer holidays to sell and flights were cancelled. It is a major factor.”

He added that the hurricanes had “not had any impact” on future bookings, adding that it could have been “the difference” between hitting the two million mark and not.

When asked about the figures at Abta’s First Time Cruisers Conference in central London, Leven said the UK market has “massive scope for growth”.

He said cruise lines would be encouraged to deploy more ships in the UK due to people cruising for the first time giving higher satisfaction scores after the sailing.

“If you can get more people on ships there is a massive scope for growth,” he said.

Leven cited how the UK cruise industry holds a 4.5% share of the holiday market, but if that figure increased by one percent that would add 500,000 passengers to the annual number of Britons taking cruises.

He also said: “Most of the agents are better at selling a cruise than the cruise lines are. They are the experts. Eight out of 10 bookings come through the trade.”

New Features for Mariner of the Seas in Short Cruise Market

Mariner of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International today announced the details of a $90 million refurbishment on the Mariner of the Seas, as she moves into the Caribbean short cruise market and is redeployed from the Asia and China market.

Service starts from Miami with a three- and four-day cruise program in June, with the ship sailing to Nassau and CocoCay.

“At Royal Caribbean, we believe in the constant pursuit of adventure and that every weekend is an opportunity to experience something new and live life to its fullest,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “With the new Mariner of the Seas, we invite travellers to weekend like they really mean it and make the most of a quick getaway than they even thought was possible.”

Among the highlights is the Sky Pad, a brand new virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience on the Mariner of the Seas.

Guests will strap in and put on a virtual reality headset, which the company said will ” transport them to another time and planet to bounce over moon craters or compete in intergalactic games. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages, and also can be enjoyed without virtual reality headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky.”

Other additions include The Perfect Storm, a duo of racing waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon, and a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience in Studio B, where friends and family can team up to play “Battle for Planet Z.”

Mariner will offer Puzzle Break: The Observatorium, a new escape room experience.

The company is also adding the FlowRide surfing simulator to the ship.

New food and beverage options include Jamie’s Italian, Starbucks and Izumi Hibachi & Sushi.