London (CNN Business) Richard Branson is sailing into new waters with the launch of his first cruise liner, making a bold pitch to younger travelers at an undeniably awkward time for the industry. The Virgin founder launched the Scarlet Lady on Friday, hoping its modern design and adults-only rule will prompt younger vacationers to take a fresh look at cruises.
The ship has docked at the Port of Dover in England and will enter operation in April, mainly offering trips around the Caribbean from a base in Miami.
The Scarlet Lady is truly special and we've worked with some of the world's most sought-after designers, artists and architects to craft an extraordinary experience," Branson said as he presented the ship to the media on Friday. But the launch comes as another liner — the Diamond Princess — reaches the end of a 14-day quarantine amid the coronavirus outbreak. A total of 624 confirmed cases of the virus have been linked to the ship during its isolation in Tokyo Bay, with 79 new cases confirmed on Wednesday.