Virgin Voyages: Richard Branson launches the Scarlet Lady
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Scarlet Lady, the first vessel in the Virgin Voyages fleet, has finally left its harbour. A year and a half after the start of the pandemic, the tourism industry is starting to see a silver lining.
For Virgin, this means the delayed launch of Voyages can now be forgotten, with Scarlet Lady having sailed for the first time at the beginning of the month.
Virgin Voyages’ chief executive Tom McAlpin told Breaking Travel News: “There is incredible excitement in the cruise industry; it has been a tough time, but I can tell you right now, we are ready.”
And it looks as if there are a lot of great things to look forward to for the cruise industry.
Tom said: “The mood is one of incredible pent-up demand from consumers.”
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He continued: “We have weathered the past 17-months and the good news is that there is that pent-up demand.
“We see bookings picking up, people are tired of being stuck in their homes; our passengers are sick of being parents, guardians, teachers and coaches – they want to sail again.”
The pandemic has hurt the cruise industry badly, with headlines highlighting the deaths and outbreaks on multiple vessels.
Tom acknowledged that people may be worried, however, he also believed going on a cruise with Virgin Voyages was “the safest” place holidaymakers could be.
He said: “We have taken a lot of action in this area [safety], and we think we have the safest way to travel.”
He also explained how a cruise ship could be the safest place to be: “We have invested in new technology, called AtmosAir, a purification system, as opposed to a filtration system, which uses bi-polar ionisation to clean 100 percent of all bacteria.
He said: “This is the system that is being used in hospitals around the world today.
He continued: “This combination means there is no safer environment; this is safer than going to a theatre, going to a casino or a theme park, restaurant or bar.”
Virgin Voyages launched officially with the maiden voyage of Scarlet Lady, which sailed from Portsmouth on August 6.
The ship is sailing from Portsmouth on Summer Soirees before going to Miami.
Tom said: “Demand has been good for our Summer Soiree series, as we return to the roots of Virgin here in the UK.”
He explained the plans for the ship: “We are here throughout the month of August; we are doing six of the three- and four-night sailings before we take the ship across the Atlantic for some inaugural events in New York and Miami.
“Next are four- and five-night sailings to the Caribbean from Miami in October.”
After a 17-month delay, Virgin Voyages has finally really launched.
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