Virgin Voyages announced via social media that the first of several hull sections for its third cruise ship was now in the water, just days after celebrating the float for its second vessel, Valiant Lady.
The as-yet-unnamed third cruise ship in the Virgin Voyages fleet is being built at the Fincantieri shipyard like her sisters and is due for delivery in 2022. A fourth cruise ship of the same design will be delivered in 2023, while Valiant Lady is due to be delivered next year.
Virgin Voyages invited followers to guess the new ship’s name in the post, suggesting an announcement may be forthcoming as they did a similar pre-name announcement hype ahead of the naming of Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady.
The third ‘Lady Ship’ will be 110,000-gross tons like her sister ships and carry 2,700 passengers at double occupancy. Virgin Voyages hasn’t released any details about the onboard features and amenities of either Valiant Lady or ship three, but it’s likely they will have some tweaks compared to Scarlet Lady.
There are a few announcements to look forward to with ship number three. While Scarlet Lady has been confirmed for cruises in the Caribbean from Miami, Valiant Lady will cruise from Barcelona in the Mediterranean.
No itineraries have been announced for ship three, and with the two largest cruise markets covered, there’s some potential for her to be deployed in the fast-growing Asian market. If that does happen, we might see her cruise from Dubai like other brand-new China-bound cruise ships have done recently.
Also this week, Virgin Voyages announced that it had developed a new set of health protocols to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus and other illnesses aboard its ships.
Virgin said it has worked with leading experts to elevate its “existing standard of excellence by creating an environment built to tackle today’s global health crisis.”
A Voyage Well Expert Advisory Group was assembled, composed of partners at AtmosAir Solutions, EcoLab, Dr. Heymann with Vikand, and Global Public Health Services.
Through close collaboration with the CDC in the United States, as well as frequent reviews of WHO best practices and guidelines, they created a Voyage Well plan.
In addition to a uniquely designed HVAC system that pumps fresh air through the ship’s public spaces and cabins to effectively remove recirculated air, Virgin said it will be among the first in the industry to invest in the installation of a 100% fresh air purification system.
Scarlet Lady and her sister ships will be equipped with an air purification system that also disinfects air onboard by leveraging bi-polar ionization technology that has been shown to kill 99.9% of viruses.
Key pillars of the Voyage Well Plan include:
Rapid and effective COVID-19 testing for all crew and guests prior to embarking.
Post-voyage notification process through which guests and crew can report on becoming unwell within 14 days of leaving the ship (through an ethical health tracking app).
Advanced pre-boarding health checks and screenings for both crew and guests.
Thermal Camera technology in terminals and on board to monitor the temperatures of all aboard.
Fair and flexible booking policies — from moving the final payment dates to 60 days (from 120 days) before sailing, ability to cancel up to 48 hours before and receive a 100% Future Voyage Credit for sailings through December 16th, 2020.
Implementing best practices around sanitation, physical distancing, limited occupancy, and health checks for everyone onboard.
Installing the latest technology from AtmosAir Solutions — an air purification system that disinfects air on board using bi-polar Ionization technology that has been shown to kill 99.9% of viruses.
Managing overall ship occupancy so appropriate physical distancing is possible across all public spaces.
Leveraging digital onboard technology to limit contact; The Band (for contactless payment), Service Chat (for assistance digitally) and Virtual Queues (for getting in lines for onboard experiences without actually getting in physical lines).
There will be no communal food sharing, buffets or large dining halls, allowing for hygienic service of fresh food.