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‘Scarlet Lady’ Is First Cruise Ship to Be Constructed Carbon-Neutral



On the heels of Scarlet Lady’s delivery ceremony yesterday, Virgin Voyages today announced that the impressive new vessel has officially reached completion.

The first to be delivered out of a fleet of four ‘Lady Ships,’ and flagship to the new cruise line by Virgin Group, Scarlet Lady will now make her way into open waters from the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Then, sailing away from her new homeport in Miami on April 1, 2020, she’ll officially embark on her maiden voyage.

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Virgin Voyages regards climate change as an urgent, global issue, and believes that the responsibility for combatting this threat falls to every business operation and industry in the world. In keeping, Scarlet Lady, along with her three future sister ships, has been designed from the first to help alleviate climate change.

It’s this commitment that has led Virgin Voyages to become the first cruise line to achieve carbon neutrality in its direct emissions footprint, starting from its very first day in commercial operation.

“It’s wonderful to welcome Scarlet Lady today,” said 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.”

Built to uphold the latest internationally-recognized energy-efficiency standards, she’ll operate with a reduced environmental impact, thanks to such features as an onboard scrubber system for sulfur-dioxide waste management; a catalytic converter to reduce nitrogen oxides; LED lights to lessen energy consumption and a hydro-dynamic hull design, which reduces fuel consumption.

Virgin Voyages is also among the first cruise lines to incorporate a technology called ‘Climeon,’ which collects heat generated by the ship’s engines and converts it into usable onboard electricity.

The nascent cruise line’s long-term ambition for the future is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, although advancements in technology and infrastructure are yet needed in order to supply commercially-viable solutions to support such a goal.

In the meantime, Virgin Voyages is taking action by purchasing high-quality carbon offsets, and supporting research and development efforts to ensure a net-zero future for the cruise industry.

“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 McAlpin, 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.”

Next in line for delivery in 2021 is Virgin Voyages’ second ship, also being built to similar specifications in the Fincantieri shipyard, named ‘Valiant Lady.’ Its third and fourth vessels, which have yet to be named, are planned to sail in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

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Cruise Ship Denied by Two Caribbean Ports Amid Coronavirus Outbreak



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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