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Travel industry news

10 Feb 2019

BY Tom Parry


Virgin Voyages' first UK visit to feature 'a series of events'

Virgin Voyages’ inaugural visit to the UK will feature “a series of events”, chief executive Tom McAlpin has revealed.

VV Scarlet Lady side view2.jpg

McAlpin: “It will be more than you expected - it’ll be a series of events.”

Scarlet Lady, the line’s first ship, will launch next year and sail its maiden voyage on April 1 from its homeport of Miami.


Speaking to TTG, McAlpin reiterated comments made by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson last July that the ship would come to the UK ahead of its transatlantic crossing.


Asked if the call would be simply an overnight stop, McAlpin said the visit would “be more than you expected”.


“Have we published exactly what our plan would be? No we haven’t yet. We are coming to the UK and it’ll be great,” he said.


“It will be more than you expected – it’ll be a series of events.”


Questioned as to whether Scarlet Lady could be christened in the UK, he teased: “No comment”, before clarifying the line had not yet decided where the ship would be named.


The 2,700-passenger, adults-only vessel was floated out at Fincantieri’s Genoa Sestri Ponente shipyard at the weekend.


A group of trade partners – including about 15 from the UK – and international media were the first people not involved with the build project or Virgin Voyages’ staff to tour the ship.


The vessel’s inaugural season will go on general sale on Thursday (February 14).


Asked how many British agents, referred to by the line as First Mates, Virgin Voyages would look to invite onboard during a UK visit, vice-president of sales and business development Stacy Shaw said it was “not about quantity" but which agents "are the right fit for the brand".


“We’ll focus on inviting First Mates who have or have potential to find someone who wants the different cruise experience we are offering, so there is not really an exact number we have in mind,” she said.

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