Virgin Voyages Names Scarlet Lady – Other Cruise News: Norwegian Joy To Join Norwegian Bliss To Alaska – Second New Polar Expedition Ship For Lindblad
by Kevin Griffin
Last week saw the floating out at Genoa of Virgin Voyages’ first ship, and the announcement of Scarlet Lady as her name. The name was used before by one of Virgin Atlantic’s original 747 jumbo jets, an aircraft that has only recently been retired from a long career with Virgin. Also last week it was announced that Norwegian Cruise Line would move its Norwegian Joy, a “Breakaway Plus” class vessel initially tasked for the year-round China market, to work with sister ship Norwegian Bliss between Seattle and Alaska. Meanwhile, in news from New York, Lindblad Expeditions has announced an order for a second newbuilding polar expedition ship to join the National Geographic Enudurance.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Virgin Voyages Names First Ship Scarlet Lady
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson last week announced that Virgin Voyages’ first vessel will be named Scarlet Lady.
Scarlet Lady was the second 747 aircraft to join Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways in January 1986. The first was called Maiden Voyager.
Others have included Boston Belle, California Girl and Lady Penelope. Meanwhile, Scarlet O’Hara is an aircraft name from one of this year”s new Airbus A330’s, but as unlikely a cruise ship name as Scarlet Pimpernel.
With operations planned for the US, UK and Europe, Virgin Voyages has three ships on order with Fincantieri. The 2,700-berth Scarlet Lady is scheduled to arrive in Miami in 2020 for the company’s inaugural season, sailing to the Caribbean.
Each ship will measure 912 feet by 125 feet wide and all three will be built in Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente shipyard near Genoa. The 110,000-ton vessels will be Azipod propelled.
While at the shipyard, Branson celebrated the float out of the first ship and the steel-cutting ceremony for the line’s second ship, due for delivery in 2021.
It’s possible the second ship will be deployed seasonally somewhere other than the Caribbean, possibly the Mediterranean, and return to Miami by winter.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Norwegian Joy To Join Norwegian Bliss To Alaska
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced changes to its 2019 and 2020 itineraries. Among these, the Norwegian Joy will leave China in 2019 to join the Norwegian Bliss, sailing seasonally in Alaska in the summer, and will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages during the winter 2019-2020.
The Norwegian Spirit will replace the Joy in China in 2020, leaving Norwegian out of the Chinese market for one year, and she will sail only on a seasonal basis.
The Norwegian Joy moves to Seattle in April 2019 to offer 7-night voyages to Alaska. She will replace the Pearl as Norwegian’s third ship in the region and join Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Jewel. Prior to her arrival in Seattle, the Joy will undergo an approximately $50 million refit to bring her into line with her sister ship, Norwegian Bliss.
With the Norwegian Joy on the West Coast, the Norwegian Jewel will go to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, sailing from Honolulu, Papeete, Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Yokohama.
The Norwegian Jade, meanwhile, will offer sailings throughout Southeast Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong for the 2019-2020 season.
Second New Polar Expedition Ship For Lindblad
Lindblad Expeditions has revealed that it plans to order a second purpose-built polar expedition cruise ship, for delivery in 2021. Prompted by growing customer demand for “high quality and authentic expedition travel”, the ship will be the latest in a line of newbuilds for Lindblad.
They include coastal vessels National Geographic Quest (June 2017), National Geographic Venture (December 2018) and Lindblad’s first new purpose-bult polar expedition ship, the 126-guest National Geographic Endurance.
The latter, which was designed by Norway’s Ulstein Design, is being built to Polar Class 5 at Crist Shipyard in Poland and will be delivered in early 2020.
Once she enters service, the yet-to-be-named newbuilding will join National Geographic Endurance to become the fourth polar vessel in the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet. They will join the National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion in the present fleet.
Sven-Olof Lindblad, president and ceo of Lindblad Expeditions, said “this is the next step of our long-term growth strategy to capitalise on the expanding demand for high quality adventure travel. By marrying additional capacity with a dedicated and growing loyal customer base and fifty years of experience, we will be able to build upon our proven track record.”
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)