This New Cruise Line Is Making Waves
Coming out of a yearlong pause in cruising, many players in the industry are re-thinking the cruise experience. That includes a newcomer to the cruise space with a reputation for innovation across air (airlines), land (hotels) and now, sea. Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages officially launched in Miami earlier this month (Oct. 6) after an 18-month pandemic delay. Here’s a taste of what cruisers can expect onboard Scarlet Lady.
Edgy, eclectic and energetic
Replace the traditional formality of cruising with a cheeky, fun, “young-at-heart” vibe, executed through edgier entertainment like late-night immersive dance shows, festival-like concert lineups and private beach clubs with high-energy DJ sets.
Buffet dining and dining rooms with pre-set menus are also a thing of the past here. There are 20+ eateries to choose from on board, including a Korean BBQ spot, a 24-hour diner, an international food market and a noodle bar. Foodies can find comfort that the menus are backed by Michelin-star chefs and top mixologists such as Bar Lab.
The adults-only line (cruisers must be 18+) is void of massive water parks and kids’ clubs. Instead, you'll find an onboard tattoo and piercing shop (the first at sea) called Squid Ink and a “Shake for Champagne” app that delivers Champagne to you anywhere on board, with a single “shake”. Basic drinks, tips and Wi-Fi are already included, and all dining options are included in the cruise fare, a disruptive move that decreases the number of add-ons cruisers see on their final bill.
Detox at sea
While Virgin Voyages certainly encourages you to have fun (The sexy Red Room theater has a bright sign that says, "If you want to dance, dance! If you can't see something, move! If you want a drink, grab a drink!"), well-being is also a clear focus on board.
Cruisers can indulge in complimentary sunrise/sunset yoga with 360-degree ocean views; trendy fitness classes like HIIT, boxing and spinning; and fresh-pressed juices to cancel out their cocktails.
The spa, inspired by an underwater cave, features a mudroom where you can slather yourself in its detoxifying properties, as well as cold plunge pools, quartz beds and a salt therapy room.
The cruise line is also invested in the well-being of the ocean, by committing to carbon neutrality, ditching single-use plastics, supplying reef-safe sunscreen and conserving energy while guests are not in their rooms.
Travel like a rock star
These are not your average cabins. On board Scarlet Lady, your home base features in-room tablets with mood-matching lights and configurable Seabeds where you can change your set-up from a bed to a roomy couch. The tech-heavy staterooms are inspired by those on superyachts and are modern yet comfortable. Amenities in some of the cabins include spacious rain showers, terraces with hand-woven, sustainably made hammocks, record turntables, fully stocked cocktail bars and marble-clad bathrooms. Most of the rooms aboard the ship bring the outside in; 86 percent of the cabins feature a balcony and 93 percent feature an ocean view.
The Rockstar Quarters, designed by the world-renowned Tom Dixon, are for the true baller, who wants both an epic suite and exclusive pampering. These cruisers receive packing and unpacking services, early boarding on the ship through a VIP entrance, backstage access at shows, and access to Richard's Rooftop, a private members-only lounge.
We often hear via self-help gurus that the journey is more important than the destination, but when it comes to cruising, both are equally as important. Virgin itineraries include a late stay and an overnight on each sailing, so you can maximize your time off the ship.
Each Caribbean and Mexico sailing will feature a stop at the Beach Club at Bimini, Virgin’s private oasis with beachside yoga and meditation, sunset bonfires and poolside cabanas. Planned excursions veer from the typical "follow the flag" guided tours, with chances to spend the day with a local farmer and artisan in Puerto Plata, explore a natural crystal museum in Cozumel and discover El Yunque rain forest in Puerto Rico.
Virgin Voyages' Mediterranean itineraries visit idyllic islands and effervescent cities in Greece, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia and more. Explore the French Riviera, taste wine and truffle pasta in Tuscany's countryside and unwind by the breathtakingly clear waters of Sardinia. Guests will enjoy an overnight in the glamorous seaside city of Cannes or on the electric island of Ibiza.