Innovative Health & Hygiene Technology: Virgin Voyages' Bipolar Ionisation

Innovative Health & Hygiene Technology – Virgin Voyages and bipolar ionisation

Like most major operators in the cruise industry, Virgin Voyages spent the second quarter of 2020 working on and promoting a comprehensive health plan for their ships, aiming to promote peace-of-mind for their passengers upon their return to sailing. Half a year later, and with the hopeful return to the seas still out of reach – in a major way at least – for another 6 months, cruise lines are continuing to promote materials and projects that shine a light on the high standards of hygiene on board their ships. One of these projects is Virgin Voyages’ foray into bipolar ionisation.

Health & Hygiene Technology

In the initial announcement of their ‘Voyage Well’ health plan, Virgin Voyages outlined a partnership with AtmosAir, a leader in indoor air quality technology:

“In partnership with AtmosAir Solutions, Scarlet Lady and her sister ships will be equipped with an air purification system that […] disinfects air on board by leveraging bipolar ionisation technology that has been shown to kill 99.9% of viruses.”

Bipolar ionisation technology has been used in healthcare for a number of years, with its original invention for use in the food manufacture industry dating back as far as 1970. Put simply, bipolar ionisation technology emits charged particles that bond to, neutralize, and deactivate harmful substances in the air, such as mould, bacteria, viruses, and allergens. The technology can be integrated into a building or ship’s HVAC system, meaning charged particles will be circulated around areas along with the fresh air provided by the HVAC. These particles are then present in the air at all times, meaning they can attach to breath droplets, dust, and other particles that may transport viruses, providing continuous disinfection.


Want to see inside Virgin Voyages’ first cruise ship? The Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo team were granted VIP access back in February 2020 – take a look at the article below


Facilitating the Healthy Return to Cruising

Experiencing a surge in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, cruisers will find bipolar ionisation technology on a large number of cruise ships come the return to sailing. As well as the Virgin Voyages retrofit, AtmosAir has answered calls from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to install the air purification technology across their fleet of 28 ships, covering the Norwegian (NCL), Regent Seven Seas, and Oceania brands.

On board Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages’ inaugural ship, the bipolar ionisation technology also uses passenger tracking to monitor the amount of people in a room at any one time, adjusting the output of the system dependent on the capacity. Andy Schwalb, Chief Marine and Technology at Virgin Voyages, told Cruise Industry News:

“Our system is smart and adjusts according to how many people are in the room. So, the air may be exchanged every couple of minutes, or every five to seven minutes. It can go faster or slower.”

Andy Schwalb, Chief Marine and Technology, Virgin Voyages

Facilitating a safe return to the seas is a top of the list priority for cruise lines, and technologies such as bipolar ionisation can help operators achieve this. The Health & Hygiene Zone at Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo brings together these cutting-edge, effective solutions for passenger and crew health and safety on board.


If you have a product that can aid the cruise lines in their aims, make sure you’re exhibiting at Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo, 8 – 9 June 2021, Miami Beach Convention Center.



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