At an event hosted last week, Richard Branson revealed the name of the first ship in the Virgin Voyages fleet.
In an homage to sister company Virgin Atlantic, the official name of the first Virgin Voyages vessel will be Scarlet Lady—the same name that appeared on one of the earliest planes to fly for Virgin Atlantic. Now, as the flagship for the Virgin Voyages fleet, the Scarlet Lady name will adorn the hull of the ship along with the brand’s mermaid image, when it sets sail in 2020. The ship’s namesake has also inspired plans to launch the Scarlet Squad program aimed at recruiting, supporting and mentoring female shipboard talent, and growing opportunities to access leadership roles in onboard areas such as marine, technical and hotel management, that statistically show low numbers of female leadership. Virgin Voyages will release more details on the program in the company’s sustainability and social impact report later this year.
“Across the maritime industry, we can do better in onboard recruiting and leadership representation for women,” said Virgin Voyages president and CEO Tom McAlpin in press materials. “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.”
While at the shipyard, Virgin Voyages also celebrated construction milestones. The day began with the flooding of the ship’s drydock, a celebratory ritual done in preparation for the connection of two hull sections, signifying the first time the hull of the Scarlet Lady touches sea water. A ceremony was also held to cut the first pieces of steel for Virgin Voyages’ second ship, which is due for delivery in 2021.