Virgin Voyages Is Swapping Key Cards for Bands Made From Recycled Ocean Plastic

Photo: Courtesy of Virgin Voyages

Richard Branson’s cruise line, Virgin Voyages, is taking their sustainability ethos one step further by having guests use bracelets made from recycled ocean plastic in place of key cards.

The bands, made in partnership with engineering company BIONIC Yarn, can be used to open cabins, board the ship, and even ensure that servers can find you for Champagne on demand when the Scarlet Lady sets sail on April 1.

“The Band will be our seamless and worry-free way for Sailors to not only unlock their cabin with ease, but to explore all of the thrills and great experiences that Scarlet Lady and the rest of our fleet will have to offer,” Tom McAlpin, the CEO of Virgin Voyages, said in a statement, adding that the band “marries sustainability with smarts and style, which is quintessentially Virgin.”

Courtesy of Virgin Voyages

The rope for the band is made from material that includes six grams of marine and coastal plastic — or equal to half of a plastic water bottle.

The band will also be used to make any onboard purchases or pay for games at the casino. Passengers — or “Sailors,” as Virgin calls them — will receive the band in the mail before their trip. The company will also introduce a “Sailor App,” which passengers can use to check in or book shore excursions.

In addition to getting rid of plastic keycards, Virgin Voyages has banned all single-use plastics (like straws, water bottles, and shopping bags), won’t have buffets to eliminate food waste and is using things like LED lights and room sensors to minimize energy use.

The Scarlet Lady will sail from Miami to the Caribbean this spring. Its second ship, the Valiant Lady, will set sail in 2021 on a seven-night Mediterranean itinerary out of Barcelona, Spain.

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