Virgin Voyages takes delivery of its first ship

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Virgin Voyages has bought carbon offsets to make Scarlet Lady carbon neutral from day one of commercial operation. (Image: Virgin Voyages)

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages has taken delivery of its first cruise ship from Fincantieri’s Genoa Sestri Ponente shipyard in Italy.

The ship, the Scarlet Lady, is the first in a series of four 278 meter, 110,000 gt vessels on order for the new cruise line at Fincantieri and has over 1,440 guest cabins giving it a passenger capacity of 2,770 passengers. The ship has a 1,100 member crew.

Virgin Voyages second ship, Valiant Lady, currently under construction in the same shipyard, will be delivered in 2021, while the third and the fourth units, still unnamed, will set sail respectively in 2022 and 2023.

CARBON NEUTRAL FROM DAY ONE

In addition to designing its ships to meet the latest energy efficiency standards, Virgin Voyages is offsetting its direct climate change emissions through the purchase of carbon offsets, making the cruise line the first to become carbon-neutral for its direct emissions footprint from its first day of commercial operation. It says that the projects that will be supported by Scarlet Lady will meet internationally-recognized verification standards, including The Gold Standard and the Verified Carbon Standard.

“It’s wonderful to welcome Scarlet Lady today,” says Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson. “I’m so proud that as we start this exciting journey, we also bring to life Virgin Voyages’ commitment to preserving the ocean and the first of many steps towards a net zero carbon future.”

The brand has recognized that climate change is an urgent, global issue for every industry and business. Like others, Virgin Voyages’ long-term ambition is a net-zero carbon future.

“The ocean is our home, and we are on a mission to protect it. The single-biggest threat facing our ocean is climate change, and we want to be part of the solution,” said Tom McAplin, CEO and President of Virgin Voyages. “We are committed to pioneering new technologies onboard, and working with our industry peers to advance research and development for zero-carbon fuels.”

Virgin Voyages is one of first cruise lines to use Climeon, a technology that utilizes heat generated from the ship’s engines to generate electricity, thereby decreasing the demand for fuel.

While the industry continues to improve on the journey for readily available and commercially-viable solutions, the cruise line says that purchasing high-quality carbon offsets allows it to take immediate action, while also supporting a long-term strategy that secures a net-zero future for the cruise industry.

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