Sir Richard Branson says he will bring Virgin Voyages’ first cruise ship to the UK to “show her off”.

Speaking to press at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, where the first of the line’s three planned ships is being built, the Virgin founder admitted he had not been on a cruise before but said he was taking a “close personal interest” in the ships.

The adult-only ship, named Scarlet Lady, will launch in 2020 and be based in the Caribbean.

“On our way to the Caribbean we might pop up the Thames,” Sir Richard said. “I want to show her off.  We’re all rather proud of this ship so and obviously UK is where we are born..maybe Southampton but we’d definitely love to come and show her off to everybody.”

He said he was 27 when he had the idea for a cruise line but “never got the money together”.

Sir Richard said there was no age group it was targeting, rather it was for those who are “young at heart”.

“Our ships will be cool, fun and every detail will be thought through,” he said.

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