You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Virgin Voyages to Set Sail with Contactless Food Delivery, Upgraded Air Filtration

Condé Nast Traveler logo Condé Nast Traveler 9/8/2020 Corina Quinn
a close up of a logo © QuickHoney

This story is part of our New Standard series, examining where travel is headed. Read more about how we define the New Standard here.

The pandemic delayed the first sailing of Virgin's hotly anticipated cruise ship Scarlet Lady until this month. But when it does begin exploring the Caribbean, it will feature several innovations that will matter to cruisers in the COVID era, in addition to the ballyhooed tattoo parlor, record store, and drag brunches. “When the pandemic hit, all of us in the hospitality industry had to pause to consider how to change the consumer experience to make guests feel safe and secure,” says Nirmal Saverimuttu, the chief experience officer for Virgin Voyages. “And we found that investments we made in developing a new customer experience had a lot to offer for a healthier, safer environment.” Here, how the liner is making us want to sail again.

Clearing the air

All along, Virgin had planned an HVAC system that would pump fresh rather than recycled air throughout the cabins and public spaces to evoke “an ocean breeze,” Saverimuttu explains. But in the wake of the pandemic, the company upgraded to an air-purification system that uses bipolar ionization technology, which has proven remarkably effective in killing viruses. The system, developed with AtmosAir Solutions, will produce fresh air from bow to stern.

Skip the queue

“We're trying to create a boutique hotel on the ocean, with an intimate space and intimate experiences—and lines don't fit into that,” Saverimuttu says. Virgin Voyages' Sailor App tracks wait times around the ship. Book a table on the app, and it'll tell you when to head to the restaurant. The company conceived the approach as a means of eliminating a common cruise ship annoyance, but it has the added benefit of promoting social distancing.

Only you touch your food

From the get-go, Virgin Voyages emphasized that there'd be no buffets on board. Instead, all meals are made to order—even in the food hall, where stalls hawk everything from sushi to salads—helping reduce waste and handling. To up safety compliance, the company added contactless delivery throughout the ship. Meals arrive in a satchel and can be left outside rooms or at a lounge chair on the deck.

This article appeared in the October 2020 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Condé Nast Traveler

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon