Scarlet Lady, the debut ship from Virgin Voyages, is launching in the UK on Friday (21 February), in a star-studded event in the Port of Dover.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain ahead of the launch, Branson discussed the new luxury cruise liner, along with discussing the elephant in the room – coronavirus.

The Virgin Group founder and media mogul joked with GMB presenters Kate Garraway and Adil Ray, revealing he was celebrating his birthday on the ship later this year.

“I’m having my birthday on the ship later this year and I’ve actually decided to get my first tattoo, just because we’ve got our own tattoo parlour,” Branson said.

Joking with the presenters, he added: “It won’t be the Virgin logo”.

Talking about the cruise liner, which Kate described as ‘rock n roll’, Branson added: “We’ve created a cruise ship that is lots of fun, very special, very Virgin.

virgin voyages scarlet lady
Scarlet Lady has launched in Dover

 

“I think it’ll attract a lot of people who had never dreamt of going on cruise ships and I came on the finished cruise ship yesterday in Dover and was absolutely wowed by every single aspect of it and I think other people will be too.”

The launch comes at a difficult time for the cruise industry, with Princess Cruises’ ship Diamond Princess recently being struck with coronavirus.

When asked by Garraway if he felt worried about the timing of Scarlet Lady ‘s launch, Branson replied: “We’ll be operating out of America, where this is not a major issue.

Scarlet Lady: lobby
The ship’s contemporary lobby with an impressive spiral staircase

 

“We’re not worried at the moment and I think the authorities seem to be do everything they can to get it under control. Obviously feel enormously for the people in Japan…

“Virgin Atlantic, our airline, offered to send an airline to pick them up. I’m not sure whether the government are going to use that plane or use somebody else’s plane, but I think out of the States, it’s not an issue at the moment and hopefully it’ll never become an issue.”

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.