The latest big development in adult-only travel offerings is the introduction of Virgin Voyages’ first ever cruise line, designed specifically for adults 18 years and up. Virgin Voyages plans to have four “lady ships” total in their fleet, starting with Scarlet Lady.
Scarlet Lady weighs 110,000 tons and is 912 feet in length, which is considered to be mid-sized for cruise ships. She has 1,408 cabins and suites and holds up to 2,770 “sailors” in cheeky Virgin lingo. She will make her sailing debut with no-destination round trips out of Portsmouth, UK for the month of August 2021. Then she will go into full commission in September 2021, sailing out of Miami, FL throughout the Caribbean on 4- and 5-night voyages.
Although some have already complained about pricier rates, the cruise line does offer all-inclusive plans that cover all food (from 20+ eateries), tipping and gratuity, wi-fi, entertainment, group workouts, and basic beverages (a.k.a. bevvies).
From its inception, Virgin Voyages intended on being different from other cruise lines. The Scarlet Lady was intentionally designed by creatives outside of the cruise industry.
Tom Dixon, known for his upscale boutique hotel designs, played a significant role in the design of Scarlet Lady. This ship features contemporary finishes and upscale yet playful elements.
Virgin Voyages created the “clever cabin” concept for their non-suite room offerings. Highlights of the clever cabin room design include:
- Roomy, glass-enclosed shower with rain shower head
- Handwoven hammock and chairs on the terrace
- In-room mood lighting
- Bed that can be configured during the day to be a lounger couch
There are 78 suites on board described as luxury yachting meets rock’n’roll royalty. RockStar Quarters range in 352 to 848 square feet while the 15 Mega RockStar Quarters boast an impressive 570 to 2,147 square feet. All suites have exclusive access to Richard’s Rooftop on deck 16, a VIP sun deck and bar.
Just as Disney designs their cruise lines with children and families in mind, Virgin Voyages created their cruise offering specifically with adults in mind. Scarlet Lady is outfitted with quite a few amenities that will appeal to adults.
Wellness is a key priority for Virgin. Healthy foods options are incorporated into many of the restaurant’s menus, but beyond that, the ship has a wide variety of fitness areas, including: B Complex Indoor Gym, The Athletic Club, The Runway jogging track, The Perch outdoor yoga and meditation deck, Gym & Tonic Bar for fresh squeezed juices
If staying fit is not your cup of tea while aboard a cruise ship, there are other self-care and grooming spots that may appeal to you. These include: Stubble & Groom gentleman’s barber shop, The Tune Up nail salon, Dry Dock blow dry bar, Redemption Spa and Squid Ink tattoo parlor.
Virgin’s Richard Branson is known for throwing some epic parties, and this cruise line has no shortage of evening parties and activities to experience. Venues include The Manor, The Casino, The Groupie, The Red Room, The Social Club and Redemption Spa
Many cruise lovers complain that their offshore time is never long enough. Virgin Voyages designed their ship schedules to maximize offshore time, with many stops lasting 12 hours and even extending overnight on location. Every cruise trip includes an offshore stop at Richard Branson’s private 4.5-acre Beach Club at Bimini with Ibiza beats and St. Tropez vibes.
Food & Drink
An important aspect of every cruise experience is the variety and quality of restaurants and food onboard. Although there are over 20 eateries scattered throughout the ship, there are a few unique cuisine concepts worth noting:
- Razzle Dazzle: vegetarian-forward cuisine with Drag Queen brunches
- The Test Kitchen: farm-to-table, “Iron Chef” themed experience with a chef tasting menu
- Extra Virgin: mobster lair-themed casual elevated Italian restaurant and wine bar
- The Wake: formal steak and seafood restaurant with tableside martinis and a raw bar
- The Galley: food hall with a mix of shops and food carts featuring curated cuisine (e.g. sushi, tacos, ramen, pastries, etc.)
- Gunbae: table-grilled Korean BBQ restaurant with soju drinking games
- Lick Me Till…Ice Cream: ice cream shop offering 6 different artisanal flavors
In addition to lots of food options, Scarlet Lady will also have multiple places to enjoy a refreshing drink or cocktail, including The Loose Cannon (a nautical-themed pub), SIP (a champagne lounge), and On the Rocks (a mixology bar).
Because Virgin Voyages is marketed as a party-centric sexy new cruise ship, one may think that this ship will exclusively have 18+ Gen Z and Millennials running around, however Virgin Voyages expects that their sailors will likely be between the ages of 35 and 65, with the average age being 48. This is likely due to the fact that Virgin Voyages will not come cheap. Voyages on the Scarlet Lady are priced significantly higher than weeklong cruises offered by other mass-market lines.
Virgin Voyages believes that their product is worth it however. Branson summed up his pricing strategy like how he approached Virgin Atlantic. “We were offering a first-class product at a business-class fare,” he said. “That’s in a sense what we try to do with every new business we set up. We want everyone to leave Virgin Voyages thinking wow, we got our money’s worth.”
Success of the new Virgin Voyages brand remains to be seen, but regardless I am thrilled to see another adult-only offering come into the travel industry and “make a splash” (pun intended) in a big way. Scarlet Lady is just one of four adult-only ships that are coming onto the market over the next two to three years.