Virgin Voyages has announced that its first cruise ship will be called Scarlet Lady.
The name, which appeared on one of the earliest planes to fly for Virgin Atlantic, was revealed by Sir Richard Branson at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, where the ship is being built.
Scarlet Lady, which is due to launch in 2020, will be an adult-only ship.
Virgin will also launch the Scarlet Squad programme, which is aimed at recruiting, supporting and mentoring women in the industry.
Virgin Voyages president and CEO Tom McAlpin said: “Across the maritime industry, we can do better in onboard recruiting and leadership representation for women.
“I want all future crew to know that Virgin Voyages will create an onboard environment that is fair, inclusive and where everyone has an opportunity to reach their full potential.”
The event in Genoa also included the flooding of the ship’s drydock, as well as the steel cutting ceremony for Virgin Voyages’ second ship, which is due for delivery in 2021.
In addition, Virgin announced plans to eliminate the use of single-use plastics on its ships.
The initiative includes banning items such as straws, bottled water, condiment packets, shopping bags, food packaging, stirrers, and take-away coffee and tea cups.
“Nothing makes me prouder than seeing companies like Virgin Voyages striving to make a positive impact on the world we live in,” said Branson. “Business is a force for good and can and must be the catalyst for global change.”
McAlpin added: “We believe that in order to fulfil our purpose of creating an ‘Epic Sea Change for All’, we must make a commitment that is bigger than just eliminating straws.
“We must make a commitment to building ships and experiences that do everything possible to look after the well-being of our precious oceans. We are delighted with what we’ve achieved so far and will continue to push ourselves to look for innovative ways to do things that will make a difference.”