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Virgin Voyages unveils nine more spaces of the company's first ship

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin today revealed renderings and animations of nine new public spaces of the company’s first ship, as well as innovative programming details about its approach to well-being for sailors, which the brand refers to as ‘Vitamin Sea.’

As part of the “Epic Sea Change for All” brand purpose, Virgin Voyages has committed to delivering transformational and rejuvenating experiences for its sailors. Its ‘Vitamin Sea’ ideology is inspired by the oceans and their importance in the health and well-being for our planet and our daily lives. The approach also places healthy travel at the forefront of the delivery of its ‘Adult by Design’ experience for the 18+ sailor.

“We are all so busy with life, work and family that vacations are critical for us to be able to rebuild our energy, so that we can live our best lives,” said McAlpin. “With well-being at the heart of everything we do at Virgin Voyages, sailors will come back feeling rejuvenated, not like they need a holiday from their holiday.”

A dose of ‘Vitamin Sea’ is naturally intertwined across the entire ship, with well-being activated through a mix of high-energy moments coupled with relaxation and rejuvenation. A wide variety of group fitness classes on board are all provided complimentary within the voyage fare, allowing sailors many opportunities to revel in their favorite fitness activities or even try something new.

The ship has been designed with ample outdoor and outward looking spaces meant for sailors to enjoy any or all activities. The Crow’s Nest with its 360-degree view is a secluded sundeck for sunrise and sunset yoga. Adjacent to this area of Zen is the signature Virgin red running track called The Runway that forms a halo-like vision over the ship and where sailors will sweat, strut or skate.

Designed by Concrete Amsterdam, the rock and roll designers from Virgin’s creative collective, The Crow’s Nest and The Runway link to The Athletic Club. Offering moments of detox and ‘retox,’ the space features an outdoor training zone, including a boxing ring, strength and gymnastics equipment like you’d find in the New York sports clubs of the 1920’s, oversized gaming for outdoor adult play, cabanas for relaxation, and a sporty bar for socializing post- workout.

The B-Complex features the ultimate well-being and fitness experience with strength, spin, yoga and cardio in its Build, Burn, Bike and Balance rooms, all with dramatic ocean views. For on-demand fitness, the Burn and Build gyms will each be equipped with Technogym ARTIS, a line of sustainably crafted cutting-edge fitness technology.

After working up a sweat or finding their moment of reflection, sailors will restore themselves in the serenity zone by hopping in the Well-being Pool and boosting their performance with fresh cold-pressed juices, served at the Gym and Tonic bar. My
On deck 5, well-being will take center stage at Redemption, the ship’s spa. Inspired by an underwater cave, Redemption will serve as a mermaid and merman hideaway complete with hydrotherapy pool, mud room, salt room, cold plunge pools, quartz beds, and rejuvenating spa treatments. By night, sailors can complete their well-being journey by attending one of the voyage’s evening spa parties where a killer DJ will transform the spa’s thermal suite into a mermaid hideaway extravaganza.

Vitamin Sea is also about being pampered and well-groomed. The Scarlet Lady will offer an array of personal treatments in different spaces across the ship to transform sailors. This includes a standalone blow dry bar called the Dry Dock salon, the Stubble & Groom barbershop with a male pedicure spa overlooking a porthole ocean view and to polish it off the gorgeous mani- pedi spa.

Virgin names its first newbuild

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The steel cutting ceremony of the second of three cruise ships that Virgin Voyages (part of Virgin Group) ordered to Fincantieri took place today at the Sestri Ponente (Genoa) yard.

During the event, Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin, welcomed by Giampiero Massolo and Giuseppe Bono, Chairman and CEO of Fincantieri, also revealed the name of the first ship currently under construction at the yard: Scarlet Lady, inspired by the name of one of the first aircrafts to fly for the sister company Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Voyages second ship, as its sister ships, will weigh about 110,000 gross tons, be 278 meters long and 38 wide, with delivery scheduled in 2021, while Scarlet Lady will set sail in 2020 and the third in 2022. They will feature over 1,400 guest cabins that can host more than 2,700 passengers, accompanied by 1,150 crew members on board to deliver the famed Virgin service.

The development of Virgin Voyages ships will stand out for their design as well as for their particular attention to energy recovery, featuring cutting-edge alternative technologies that reduce the ship’s overall environmental impact. For example, their ships will be equipped with an energy production system of approximately 1 MW, which uses the diesel engine’s waste heat. While at the shipyard, Virgin Voyages also announced that they are eliminating single-use plastics for their guests and replacing them with recyclable and reusable materials.

Silversea Expeditions to cross Northeast Passage in 2019

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Silversea Expeditions, the leading authority in expedition cruising, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the introduction of its first crossing of the Northeast Passage – a remote and spectacular cruising route above the Arctic Circle. Few cruise ships have transited the passage, which follows the extreme coastlines of Asia and Europe and has long enjoyed a fabled reputation among seafarers.

The intimate, all-suite Silver Explorer will become the most luxurious cruise ship to sail the route, as it passes 5,019 nautical miles of dramatic seascapes and untamed wilderness on a 25-day voyage. On August 10, 2019, the ice-class expedition ship will sail from Nome, Alaska, to Tromsø, Norway, on a once-in-a-lifetime explorative journey through this challenging region. "

In this special anniversary year, which marks Silversea's decade of ultra-luxury expedition cruising, we're particularly thrilled to announce our inaugural crossing of the Northeast Passage," says Conrad Combrink, Silversea's Senior Vice President of Strategic Development for Expeditions and Experiences. "Continuing our legacy of exploration, this epic Arctic passage will take guests across the top of Asia and Europe to discover extraordinary landscapes, unique cultures and rare animal species, while enjoying the comfort of Silversea's ultra-luxury Silver Explorer."

One of Silversea's most ambitious expeditions to date, the journey will encompass the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wrangel Island, where polar bears and walruses roam and migratory birds nest; Champ Island, known for the large, mysterious stone spheres that dot its otherworldly landscape; Tikhaya Bay's Rubini Rock, with its stunning basalt columns; and the archipelago of Severnaya Zemlya, famous for its impressive fjords and majestic glaciers.

The ship will also spend a day navigating as far north as possible, in the direction of the Ice Edge, in search of seals, walruses and polar bears on ice floes. History buffs will be intrigued by a visit to Murmansk, the last city founded by the Russian Empire. Quaint coastal villages like Chukotka's Uelen, populated by the Chukchi and Yupik people, will offer immersion in rare cultural experiences.

The intimate Silver Explorer accommodates just 144 guests and her fleet of 12 Zodiac crafts will provide the unprecedented opportunity for up-close exploration. Silversea’s dedicated Expedition Team of qualified specialists will be at hand to share expert knowledge and topical insights. They will provide lectures, run workshops, lead Zodiac trips, and guide shore excursions – all of which is complimentary for guests.

Aboard the ship, guests will enjoy ocean-view suites, sumptuous cuisine, and the personalized service of a butler. Enriching the experience are such all-inclusive amenities as complimentary premium wines and spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks served throughout the ship; an in-suite bar stocked with guests' preferences; in-suite 24-hour dining; and unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi. Double-occupancy fares start from $37,260 per person.

Inauguration of Le Lapérouse, the very first vessel in the Ponant Explorers series

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

One of the world leaders in luxury expedition cruises and only French cruise line, Ponant, celebrated the inauguration of Le Lapérouse on July 10, in the presence of Mrs. François Pinault, the godmother of the ship.

Le Lapérouse was christened by the godmother, Mrs. François Pinault, in the presence of prominent political and cultural figures, international media, and key partners.

During a vibrant Breton-inspired ceremony – a nod to the origins of Ponant which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year – the Lann Bihoué Bagad’s bagpipes, Breton oboes, and drums powerfully reverberated. Breton singer Bleuwenn Mevel gave an emotional acapella rendition of the Breton anthem while the poignant sound of Konan Mevel’s (from famous Breton band Tri Yann) bagpipe resonated at the prow of the ship as she was sailing off.

Another highlight of the day involved Le Lapérouse being greeted as she was sailing from Hafnarfjörður by Le Soléal, another Ponant ship, also positioned in Icelandic waters.

Guests on board discovered the Blue Eye, a multi-sensorial underwater lounge located in the hull below sea level, designed in collaboration with Jacques Rougerie, an architect and member of the prestigious Académie Française.

In this exceptional space, through the two portholes made in the shape of a cetacean eye, the passengers watched French free diving champion, Aurore Asso’s aquatic ballet.

With integrated digital screens projecting the live images captured by three underwater cameras, entirely non-intrusive underwater projectors allowing the observation of the sea world without any risk for the ocean life, the Blue Eye also offers a unique sound experience. Captured by hydrophones, the natural symphony of the oceanic world is piped into the lounge and can be felt through the “Body Listening” sofas that vibrates discreetly by corporal resonance.

Crystal Ravel christened in Budapest

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Less than two years ago, Crystal launched its first river ship, Crystal Mozart, marking the company’s grand entrance into Europe’s river cruising industry. Yesterday, Crystal River Cruises welcomed its fifth ship and the newest member of the fleet, Crystal Ravel, during a christening ceremony in Budapest, Hungary. "The World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line" celebrated the occasion with Crystal’s President and CEO Tom Wolber; the ship’s godmother, Hungarian philanthropist and creator of the hit “Virtuosos” classical music talent show, Mariann Peller; and Crystal River Cruises’ Vice President and Managing Director Walter Littlejohn.

“Today is a proud day for the entire Crystal family. In just over two years, we introduced five ships, which is a tremendous accomplishment of growth for this expansion of the Crystal brand,” Wolber said. “But what makes us most proud is that with each new ship and new experience, Crystal’s commitment to superb quality and exceptional luxury and service has remained unwavering.”

Crystal River Cruises now comprises Crystal Ravel and her identical sister ships: Crystal Bach, Crystal Mahler and Crystal Debussy; as well as Crystal Mozart, which at twice the width of any other river cruise ship, is Europe’s most spacious river cruise ship and launched the brand in July 2016.

“Beyond these exquisite ships – which are earning the acclaim of luxury travelers from around the world – the heart of the Crystal River Experience is the people,” Littlejohn said. “Crystal’s crew is simply unmatched in their warm, genuine service and attention to detail. Our guests are savvy travelers who truly value that personal connection and frequently share the sentiment that sailing with Crystal is like coming home to their onboard family.”

“To be named the godmother of a ship that celebrates the classical musical heritage of this country and the lands that surround her – is an honor that speaks to my heart,” Peller said. “Beyond the connection to the musical masters of this region, Crystal River ships represent the stunning grace, elegance and beauty of the rivers that flow here. I am honored to become part of the Crystal Family, as this company embodies a dedication to excellence.”

Tenor Steffan Mullan performed during the ceremony, while Young Virtuosos artists performed aboard the ship following the traditional blessing, including clarinetist Ali Dániel Lugosi, double bassist Tamás Kökény, violinist Amira Abouzahra, violinist Mariam Abuzahra, and Budapest Festival Orchestra harpist Ágnes Polonyi with a special performance onboard the ship.

The ceremony took place during the ship’s overnight stay in Budapest on its weeklong “Danube Serenade” voyage, allowing guests aboard the sailing to participate in the festivities, while Crystal crew members also looked on from the decks of the ship. Travelers from around the world joined the celebration via the Facebook Live broadcast on Crystal’s Facebook page.

Crystal Ravel is currently sailing itineraries of six to 14 days between Vienna and Basel; and in 2019 she will be the only river ship to sail seven-night Danube cruises round-trip from Vienna to ports in Austria, Hungary and Slovakia.

Crystal’s new river vessels are the river cruising industry’s first and only all-balcony, all-suite, all-butler vessels in Europe, with every category of accommodation positioned above the water line. All suites feature Panoramic Balcony-Windows and walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms are featured in most categories. Crystal Mozart is Europe’s most spacious river ship, at twice the width of any other, and offers an unrivalled number of social spaces, restaurants and the largest spa on the rivers. All of Crystal’s river ships feature acclaimed butler service in every room category, king-sized beds, ETRO amenities, robes and slippers, and wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs. Additional enticing features include farm-to-table cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries: the elegant Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro cafés and the exclusive Vintage Room; and the Palm Court for entertainment, enrichment presentations and sweeping views of the countryside.

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