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Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages president and ceo Tom McAlpin recently revealed details about the first of the company’s three ships to be completed in 2020. Branson and McAlpin detailed plans for the new adults-only cruise line at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa, Italy, where they also celebrated the laying of the keel for Virgin’s first-ever vessel, marking the commencement of its construction.

Virgin Voyages’ first fleet will be known as the “Lady Ships,” a play on the term “your ladyship.” Project participants say this ships’ experience will be “Adult By Design,” meaning guests must be at least 18 years old to sail.

“The entire ship will be built with an attention to detail, reflecting the craftsmanship and materiality inspired by super yachts,” says McAlpin. “Designed to feel more intimate and connected to the sea, 86 percent of all cabins will feature a sea terrace and 93 percent will have an ocean view. Virgin Voyages is creating a sophisticated ship and a transformational experience that offers our sailors a place where rejuvenating day-life meets exciting nightlife and everything in between.”

Conceptualized by Ben Christie and David Azurdia from London’s Magpie Studio, the first ship’s livery will feature a silver hull with smoked glass and touches of red. RWD of Beaulieu, England, has created a signature red Virgin funnel for the vessel. Inspired by figureheads on historic ships, the bow will showcase a mermaid designed by London-based artist Toby Tinsley, who also created the spaceflight unit Virgin Galactic’s motif.

In addition, the company has signed an agreement with Scanship, providers of waste-management systems, with plans to research technology that could reduce ocean discharge by turning waste into energy.


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