The unveiling of Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, originally set to take place in 2020, was postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19. She finally start sailing this fall, offering Caribbean itineraries from PortMiami, and truly brings a new dimension to cruising!
The line made good use of the 18-month delay by investing in its first ship with several different measures, one being an onboard air purification system that kills 99.9 percent of all bacteria and viruses in the air. Called Atmosphere, it’s similar to systems that are used in hospitals.
Virgin Voyages’ Fleet of Ships
Virgin Voyages has four ships on order. Known as the “Lady Ships,” they are “Adult-by-Design.” Using the term “sailor,” not “guest,” Virgin requires that its sailors be 18 years and older to sail.
Virgin Voyages promotes “Relaxed Luxe” in providing premium services and endless options. They’ve ditched the buffets and pre-set dining times. Instead, sailors enjoy made-to-order food from 20 + different eateries onboard.
In addition, Virgin Voyages’ “Ordinary to Extraordinary” entails longer stays and overnights in ports, plus diverse entertainment and dining.
All dining is included in the cruise fare, as are tips, Wi-Fi, fitness classes and basic beverages, or “Basic Bevvies” (coffee, tea, water and soft drinks). As for alcoholic drinks, Virgin Voyages offers its sailors a prepaid “bar tab” instead of a drinks package.
Virgin has undertaken several environmental initiatives. One is the elimination of single-use plastics onboard. This includes banning straws, bottled water, shopping bags, stirrers, condiment packages, take-away coffee and tea cups as well as food packaging. Complimentary filtered still and sparkling waters are available at all bars and restaurants, and there are Natura filtered water stations throughout the ship.
The Scarlet Lady
The Scarlet Lady has been operating at only 50 to 65 percent capacity. She can accommodate 2,770 sailors, and there are 1,330 cabins along with 78 RockStar Quarters. Eighty-six percent of the cabins feature a balcony, 93 percent an ocean view.
How did her name come about? “Scarlet Lady” actually appeared on one of the earliest planes to fly for Virgin Atlantic. So, the name has been paired with the brand’s iconic mermaid image. Virgin Voyages’ second ship will be named the Valiant Lady, while the third ship will be the Resilient Lady.
Eat and Drink
Sailors enjoy diverse options on the Scarlet Lady:
- The Wake provides a sophisticated take on steak and seafood, featuring table-side drink cart service and Champagne poured by the glass from a magnum bottle.
- Razzle Dazzle provides creative and vibrant twists with vegetarian cuisine but is not exclusively vegetarian. Dishes can be made “naughty” with meat added on, while the “nice” menu provides a great flip on traditional dishes by offering plant-based alternatives.
- The Test Kitchen is part cooking school and part restaurant. Its inviting entryway has lighting images that mimic the periodic table. It allows discovery through cuisine with an atmosphere that is educational, experiential and social.
- Pink Agave is an upscale Mexican restaurant that features a bar area in the foyer leading to the dining room. Sailors enjoy a wide variety of Mexican specialties.
- Gunbae is a Korean barbeque venue on the top deck. In the center of each table is a specially engineered flameless grill, so sailors can prepare their own dishes.
- Extra Virgin serves regionally inspired and approachable food that is deeply rooted in Italian culinary traditions.
- The Galley is a food hall that features eight different eateries, offering pastries, tacos, burgers, paninis, sushi, noodles and salads, along with a 24-hour American diner.
- The Dock is a rustic beach club-inspired space, and there are carts of Mediterranean-inspired small plates and dips, plus an array of fresh meat and seafood skewers, flame grilled to order.
- The Pizza Place on Deck 7 is where sailors can “follow their pie” and build it to their liking, from the dough to the sauce, cheese and favorite toppings.
- Lick Me Till…Ice Cream provides a fun option. This whimsical shop offers homemade scoops of ice cream, including six creative artisanal flavors.
As far as bars and lounges on the Scarlet Lady? The Dock is an outdoor lounge focusing on relaxation, socialization and the gorgeous views. The Manor, the ship’s signature night club, was inspired by Virgin founder Richard Branson’s history in the music industry. Richard’s Rooftop is a chic outdoor lounge reserved for suite guests. Athletic Club, inspired by 1920s New York sports clubs, features the largest daybed at sea, cabanas for relaxation and a sports bar. Draught Haus, a cozy bar where sailors can meet up in a casual atmosphere, offers a wide range of bottled artisanal beers, shot-cocktails, shots and boilermakers. At Sip, Virgin Voyages’ featured Champagne house, sailors can enjoy a glass of bubbly priced from $9 or opt for a vintage bottle.
Event Venues and Gigs
The Red Room is the focal point for events. This innovative multi-form theater, a first at sea, transforms into four different configurations – a traditional proscenium stage, an alley stage used for fashion shows, a dance flat-floor configuration and a unique reverse stage set-up. The theater enables Virgin Voyages to create completely different experiences each day of the voyage.
The Manor doubles as a nightclub and a space for entertainment. Virgin Vinyl is an onboard record shop and a spot where sailors can experience music from various genres. The Groupie is Virgin Voyages’ bookable gaming, karaoke and movie lounge.
While sailing on the Scarlet Lady, sailors can enjoy late-night cabarets as well as new original shows. A fast-paced retelling of “Romeo and Juliet” that has a circus twist, the “Untitled Dancepartyshowthing” and “Phantom Folktales” are among the shows.
Health and Wellness
The Training Center at Athletic Club features an outdoor training zone. The Perch offers 360-degree ocean views for sunrise and sunset yoga on a secluded deck. B-Complex provides the ultimate in well-being and fitness in its Build, Burn, Bike and Balance Rooms. The Runway, forming a halo-like vision over the ship, is a standalone running track where sailors can strut, sweat or skate. The Well-being Pool features a large whirlpool, two plunge pools and the Gym and Tonic Bar. The Aquatic Club is a space where sailors can lounge poolside and relax with their favorite cocktail.
Located on Deck 5, Redemption Spa was inspired by an underwater ground cave. It has a hydrotherapy pool, a salt room, a mud room, quartz beds and cold plunge pools as well as a rejuvenating spa. Also, Squid Ink is the first ever tattoo studio onboard a cruise ship.
Virgin Voyages sailings are open for reservations through April 2023. Sailings can be reserved for the Scarlet Lady, Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady. Scarlet Lady Caribbean cruises out of PortMiami include a stop in Bimini, Bahamas, where sailors can enjoy The Beach Club at Bimini. When the Valiant Lady debuts in 2022, she will sail on seven-night Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona, Spain. The Resilient Lady will sail from Athens. More details on the Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady will be coming.
As an adults-only cruise with many included features, Virgin Voyages provides a great opportunity for group leaders to consider.
By Cindy Bertram
Cindy has 15+ years of cruise industry expertise in marketing, content creation, sales and training as well as social media. Her MBA from Loyola University Chicago complements her high creative edge and liberal arts BA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.