Aye Aye Captain Virgin Voyages announces female captain for Scarlet Lady

CANADIAN CAPTAIN WENDY WILLIAMS TO LEAD FIRST VIRGIN VOYAGES SHIP

●        Sir Richard Branson’s new cruise line appoints first Canadian woman to captain a ship for a major cruise brand

●        Company replaces Cuba sailings with new Riviera Maya voyages and new four-night Fire and Sunset Soirées voyages to Key West with enhanced Beach Club programming in Bimini

●        New seven-night holiday sailings featuring Puerto Rico now available for booking

Sir Richard Branson and Capt Wendy
Richard Branson with Captain Wendy Williams Image: Virgin Voyages 

TORONTO- June 11, 2019 – Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin announced the appointment of Captain Wendy Williams as Master of Scarlet Lady. When Captain Williams takes the helm of Scarlet Lady in spring 2020, she will become the first Canadian woman to be captain of a ship for a major cruise brand. The company also announced a brand-new lineup of itineraries for their premier 2020 season.

“Captain Wendy’s extensive maritime background makes her an excellent choice to lead the Scarlet Lady, but it is her spirit and drive to approach life at sea differently that make her the perfect fit to join the Virgin Voyages family,” said Tom McAlpin, president and chief executive officer for Virgin Voyages.

Originally from the coastal city of Sept-Îles, Quebec on the Northeastern coast of Canada, Captain Williams now resides on her hobby farm on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Captain Williams has more than 28 years of experience working on ships at sea. Her extensive background includes more than a decade as a deckhand in commercial fishing off the western coast of Canada as well as working as a ferryboat captain. Although she has spent more than 15 years working on the bridge of mega cruise ships, her role with Virgin Voyages will be her first promotion to Master of a cruise ship.

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“I have salt water in my veins and nothing brings me more joy than being at sea,” said Captain Wendy Williams. “It’s a dream come true to be working with Virgin Voyages, a company that is focused on creating an incredible experience not only for our Sailors but for our Crew as well; while also taking action to minimize our footprint on our oceans.”

CaptainWendy_Office_Edit8.jpgJust last year, Virgin Voyages announced its Scarlet Squad program, an initiative dedicated to bridging the gender gap in leadership roles across the maritime industry, where women represent less than three percent of the workforce. The program aims to recruit, support and mentor female shipboard talent, and to grow opportunities for leadership roles in marine, technical and hotel management positions on board.

While Virgin Voyages is still in the early stages of the crew for Scarlet Lady, the company has already recruited Captain Williams as well as nearly a dozen other female officers, including Jill Anderson as hotel director, Christin Wenge as safety officer, Lindsay Kerber as environmental officer, among other incredibly talented female engineers as well as second and third officers.

Virgin Voyages’ intention is to create an onboard environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential.

New Voyage Offerings

In response to the U.S. government’s new restrictions on travel to Cuba from the United States, Virgin Voyages has also developed an exciting lineup of new itineraries featuring destinations that its Sailors expressed interest in exploring while on a voyage aboard Scarlet Lady.

960ab1d1-2dc2-49f1-92be-684025a48317.jpgContinuing the company’s mission to provide its Sailors with epic day and nighttime experiences, the all new itineraries will feature multiple late-night sail aways, including a midnight departure on all new sailings.

Virgin Voyages will now offer five-night Riviera Maya sailings to Cozumel/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Cozumel and Playa del Carmen offer opportunities for Sailors to experience some of the world’s best diving, as the area is home to 26 coral species. Sailors will also have the opportunity to explore ecological and archeological treasures, including Mayan ruins, or even opt to explore neighboring Tulum, the elevated Bohemian sanctuary with picturesque beaches and diverse nightlife.

For those who just want a quick getaway, Virgin Voyages’ four-night sailings will now become Fire and Sunset Soirées including a sunset departure from Key West and a midnight departure from Bimini. Sailors will experience the cultural and boating paradise of Key West, paired with a day of rejuvenation in Bimini, Bahamas that’s topped off by an exclusive late-night beach bonfire soiree. This celebration under the stars is exclusive to these sailings, and the artistic fire installations draw inspiration from the fireball sculptures on Branson’s Necker Island and the alluring communal nature of a traditional beachside bonfire.

dd2772f2-09f1-4f30-af23-871512eda256.jpgIn response to Sailor demand for longer voyages aboard Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages has developed special seven-night sailings for the 2020 festive holiday season. Those looking to get a jump start on their holiday planning can opt for the all-new Holidaze and Nights and New Year’s Ahoy voyages, which fall over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays respectively, and feature stops in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and late-night sail aways in both Bimini, Bahamas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

All voyages will feature a stop in Bimini, Bahamas, home to The Beach Club, a private club for Virgin Voyages Sailors while Scarlet Lady is on the island.

For more information on Scarlet Lady, future Sailors and First Mates (travel partners) are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visiting www.virginvoyages.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON: 182 DAYS LEFT UNTIL THE CHRISTENING OF MSC GRANDIOSA IN HAMBURG

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First of the enriched Meraviglia-Plus ships to come into service

Inaugural season to be spent in the stunning Western Mediterranean

New flagship to feature two brand new Cirque du Soleil at Sea Shows

With exactly six months before the christening of MSC Grandiosa on 9th November in the Port of Hamburg, MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America, South Africa and the Gulf, today revealed they would be welcoming back international TV star Michelle Hunziker to host the glamorous official naming ceremony of the Company’s newest and largest ship to date. Hunziker, internationally known as a TV presenter, actress and singer, also hosted the christening of MSC Seaview in Genoa in 2018. Growing up in Italy and of Swiss descent, Hunziker speaks five languages and embodies the international spirit and Mediterranean soul of MSC Cruises.

MSC Grandiosa will become the largest ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and the first of the Meraviglia-Plus class of ships. Enriched with more cabins, more public space and innovative new features, the highlights include:

·         The iconic Mediterranean Promenade will be the heart of the ship. Under the 98.5-metre-long LED sky, guests can enjoy a varied entertainment programme as well as being able to indulge in shopping and world class food and drink. 

·         MSC Grandiosa takes the onboard shopping experience to a new level with the indoor promenade offering mall-style boutiques, where guests will find their favourite brands of clothing, jewellery, technology and more, all at unbeatable prices. 

·         The speciality restaurants located in the promenade include the new restaurant concept L’Atelier Bistrot, a French-inspired bar with lounge area, which also offers a stage and dance floor as well as a seated terrace.

·         The entertainment highlight will be two brand new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea. The shows are created by world-leader in live entertainment, Cirque du Soleil as part of a unique long-term partnership with MSC Cruises. 

·         MSC Grandiosa will feature the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant, ZOE. This artificial intelligence guest service will answer guest questions in the comfort of their cabin alongside a ground-breaking feature of connected cruise experience, MSC for Me.

·         Designed as a ship for all seasonsMSC Grandiosa will spend winter in the MediteranneanWith less visitors and the perfect winter sun weather, this is the ideal time of year to discover some of the top destinations throughout Italy, France and Spain without the crowds.

Michelle Hunziker commented, “I am delighted to be part of the christening ceremony of MSC Grandiosa in Hamburg. Since the christening of MSC Seaview last year, I feel a part of the MSC family. I am particularly pleased that the christening is taking place in Germany. I have met great people here and celebrated many professional successes. For me, Germany means a piece of home and Hamburg has such a wonderful maritime heritage, it will be an honour to become a part of it. I am also looking forward to discovering everything that this new and stunning ship has to offer.”

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A section of MSC Grandiosa’s hull seen at the shipyard © Andrew McAlpine

MSC Grandiosa is the third ship of the innovative Meraviglia generation and the first of the Meraviglia-Plus class. She will become the fifth new next-generation ship MSC Cruises has launched in just two and a half years as part of MSC Cruises’ investment plan of €13.6 billion spanning more than 10 years.  MSC Grandiosa will be followed by a further 12 ships through to 2027 with her sister ship, MSC Virtuosa launching next October 2020.

Meraviglia generation ships have been designed to meet every need of today’s cruise guest. The extraordinary design, wide array of facilities and entertainment make these ships ideal for the whole family. Designed for all seasons, they are able to call at most of the world’s international cruise ports.

Last year I was fortunate to get a glimpse of MSC Grandiosa under construction at in Saint Nazaire when I visited the shipyard to see MSC Bellissima float out.

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MSC Grandiosa seen under construction at Chantiers de l’atlantique in St.Nazaire

 

MSC Cruises have also announced that following her christening in Hamburg MSC Grandiosa will visit Southampton on 13th November, afterwhich she will sail on her maiden cruise to the Mediterranean with calls at Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseille and finally Genoa.

As always thank you for taking the time to read my blog

To find out more booking information www.msccruises.co.uk

Princess Cruises begins 50th Alaska Season

Princess Cruises’ 50th year sailing in Alaska is now under way following the arrival of the 3,080-guest Ruby Princess in America’s northernmost state. A further six ships will head to Alaska, including the 3,560-guest Royal Princess on May 11, marking the cruise line’s largest ever deployment to the region.
 
Princess is offering a variety of cruise and cruise tour options up to September, which will encompass the state’s must-see attractions including Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park. Alaska cruises range in length from seven to 12 days and depart from Vancouver, Anchorage (Whittier), Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

Princess also owns and operates five wilderness lodges in riverside locations near national parks, offering more than 20 cruisetour options for guests. Princess cruisetours combine a seven-day cruise with a multi-night land tour and exclusive ‘direct to the wilderness’ rail service.

Several new initiatives have been introduced to mark the 50th anniversary. They will be offered alongside Princess Cruises’ ‘North to Alaska’ onboard programme, which includes ‘puppies in the piazza’ – when some of Alaska’s newest sled dogs and their handlers come aboard – and the ‘cook my catch’ fishing shore excursion.

The initiatives include:

·         A number of new shore excursions in Juneau, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point such as:

– A luxury whale watch by yacht in Juneau 
– An interactive self-guided jeep adventure in Juneau
– The Ketchikan pub walk 
– A rainforest trail bike and hike adventure in Ketchikan  
– A seafood feast and tribal dance show in Icy Strait Point
– A wilderness hike and kayak adventure in Icy Strait Point

·         The introduction of the ‘Glacier Tea’ cocktail, a take on the Long Island Ice Tea that is topped off with Blue Curacao, which is similar to the brilliant glacier blue colour found in Alaska

·         A special Alaska beer tasting flight, featuring blends from the Juneau-based Alaskan Brewing Company

·         An onboard Northern Lights planetarium in the theatre of every Alaska ship

·         A mini museum exhibit featuring notable images from the 50 years Princess Cruises has sailed to Alaska
  
Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises’ vice president UK and Europe, said: “We take more people than any other cruise line to Alaska and have hosted over 5 million guests during the last 50 years.

“Alaska is a truly stunning destination and there’s no better way to explore it than via a cruise. A wealth of itinerary options are on offer for anyone looking to book a bucket list sailing to the region this year. The Great Land’s glaciers, wildlife, national parks and beautiful port cities are simply not to be missed.”

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Star Princess in Alaska © Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises is offering a 7-night Inside Passage cruise on Star Princess departing September 15, 2019. Sailing roundtrip from Seattle, ports of call include Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord (scenic cruising), Juneau, Skagway and Victoria (British Columbia). Prices from £699 per person.

For more information or to book visit www.princess.com , call 0344 338 8663 or contact your local travel agent.

Thank you for taking the time to ready my blog… be sure to read my next post on why I want to visit Alaska