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Fincantieri Delivers Virgin Voyages’ First Cruise Ship, Scarlet Lady

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Shipbuilder Fincantieri presented Virgin Voyages’ highly anticipated first ship, Scarlet Lady, in Italy on Thursday.

The ship, which successfully completed its first round of sea trials in Europe late last year, is the first of four ordered by the new cruise line from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

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Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin, the Governor of the Liguria Region Giovanni Toti, the Mayor of Genoa Marco Bucci, the Chairman of Fincantieri Giampiero Massolo and its CEO Giuseppe Bono were among the notable people in attendance for Thursday’s ceremony.

Scarlet Lady is scheduled to set sail on her inaugural maiden voyage on April 1 following a pair of Sneak-a-Peek preview sailings late next month.

The ship weighs approximately 110,000 gross tons and spans 912 feet in length and 125 feet in width. Like each of Virgin Voyages’ four ships, Scarlet Lady will be equipped with 1,400 guest cabins that can accommodate more than 2,770 passengers.

Guests sailing the cutting-edge ship will benefit from smart wearable technology, allowing them to do things like access their cabin and make onboard purchases, as well as minimal levels of noise and vibration. Guests will even be able to control a wide range of cabin functions from an app on their smartphone, including adjusting the air conditioning, lighting, blinds, music and television.

Scarlet Lady will also operate with a reduced overall environmental impact thanks to a number of unique features, including a scrubber system for the waste management of sulfur dioxides; a catalytic converter to reduce nitrogen oxides; LED lights to reduce energy consumption and hydrodynamic hull design that allows for fuel saving.

Virgin Voyages’ second ship, Valiant Lady is already under construction in the same shipyard and is scheduled for delivery next year. Meanwhile, the cruise line’s third and the fourth vessels, which still have yet to named, will set sail in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Bookings for Scarlet Lady’s inaugural season opened last summer while bookings for Valiant Lady have been open since December.

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Cruise Ship Denied by Two Caribbean Ports Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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An MSC Cruises ship was turned away from at least two ports in the Caribbean on Tuesday after a crew member fell ill amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to The New York Times, MSC Meraviglia was denied from docking in both Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Cayman Islands after port authorities learned that a crew member from the Philippines was ill. However, the Associated Press reported that the employee was believed to be sick with the common seasonal flu.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, the government has denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled,” Dwayne Seymour, health minister of the Cayman Islands, said in a statement.

The cruise line expressed frustration over the repeated denial, claiming that the ill crew member and all passengers on the ship had passed a health screening prior to embarking.

“The crew member had traveled to Miami from Manila, via direct connection in Istanbul,” MSC Cruises said in a statement to the Times. “He developed symptoms of common flu and tested positive to Type A influenza after he visited the ship’s 24/7 Medical Center while already on board. He has no other symptoms.”

The ship, which is carrying more than 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew members, is in the midst of a 15-day roundtrip sailing from Miami that had included scheduled stops in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Bahamas, Belize and Honduras.

MSC Meraviglia isn’t the first ship to be turned away from port amid fears of the spreading coronavirus and likely won’t be the last. Tuesday’s unexpected hiccup comes just one week after MSC Cruises updated MSC Bellissima’s Grand Voyage itinerary to Asia.

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