Genova - “Scarlet Lady”, the first Virgin Voyages’ cruise ship under construction at the Fincantier-Sestri Ponente shipyard, has successfully completed sea trials carried out in recent weeks. This is a fundamental step in the construction of a ship, in which its maximum performance must be tested. Trials, carried out in two phases (first the preliminary tests and then the contractual ones) allowed to test engines, systems and equipment and to verify stability, silence and comfort of the ship. The new “Lady” left the Genoese shipyard on November 15th to arrive in Marseille on the 18th.
Here in France, she was docked to carry out the traditional careening of the hull; once completed, the work was carried out on 27 November with the decisive tests before returning to Genoa on 30 November. Since the Fincantieri Palermo basin was occupied, the Italian shipyard opted to use the Marseilles plant, taking advantage of the fact that the company carried by Giuseppe Bono is now a member of Genova Industrie Navali, owner of the Marseille’s basins. The iconic founder of the Virgin empire, Sir Richard Branson, boarded the “Scarlet Lady” during the days spent in Marseille, to visit the ship and ceremoniously painting the Virgin flag on the hull, where the Virgin Voyages logo will appear. Now the Fincantieri workers will concentrate on finishing the interior fittings in view of the ship’s delivery scheduled for February. The maiden voyage is instead scheduled for April 1st from Miami, anticipated by two vernissage mini-cruises on March 26th and 29th. Meanwhile, Virgin expects three other ships of this class, so the workload is guaranteed for the coming years for the Genoese shipbuilding plant. With 1,400 cabins available for guests, they will be able to accommodate about 2,700 passengers (or “sailors” according to the term used by Virgin) on a double base. So, talking about ship size, we are not at the level of the latest generation giants. But the shipowner wants to surprise the tourist with other means.
These ships will be dedicated only to an adult public, they will be the ideal place for concerts and night parties, and the culinary offer on board will be concentrated only on restaurants with table service, in order to eliminate the food waste of the buffets. The innovative external line characterized by a vertical bow is the work of Maurizio Cergol who designed many of the most successful ships made by Fincantieri. Erasmo Mortola from Genova is one of the architects who contributed to the conception of the ship’s interiors. The new prototype has also been designed with particular attention to energy recovery thanks to the use of cutting-edge systems in the sector, capable of reducing the overall environmental impact of ships. These ships are in fact equipped with a system of electricity production of about one megawatt that uses the waste heat of diesel engines.
Finally, we recall that Abb obtained the order to supply each ship with two Azipod Xo (combined electric-rudder-propeller 360-degree propulsion system) of 16 MW each for a total combined power of about 43,000 HP. At the moment, in Sestri is under construction also the second ship of the class, which will bear the name of “Valiant Lady”. The latter will debut in May 2021 and will be located in the Western Mediterranean based in Barcelona.