Virgin Red on the High Seas: Setting Sail with Virgin Voyages

By: Dave Gunner

November 7, 2019

Fly to Miami onboard a Virgin Atlantic aircraft, stay in a gorgeous Virgin Holidays hotel and then set sail on Scarlet Lady, the brand-new Virgin Voyages ship. This ultimate fly, stay, cruise package comes with a whole host of VIP perks and is now being sold by our sister company Virgin Holidays.

From our earliest days we’ve enjoyed flying you to some of the great cruise ship ports of the world; Miami, New York, Hong Kong. And you’ve loved spending a few nights in a fantastic city before joining your ship and heading off on wonderful adventures.

Scarlet Lady is full of gorgeous designer touches

There’s something magical about being at sea, gazing out over the ocean and enjoying the sun rise and fall every day. You get quality time to relax, have fun and enjoy the onboard entertainment, and the chance to visit new places every day without having to pack and unpack. Cruises, in fact, can be the perfect break. But let’s be honest – it’s an industry that could do with a bit of a shake-up. And that’s where Virgin Voyages comes into the picture.

Our cruise expert

Mark Croucher, head of customer experience at Virgin Holidays, knows a thing or two about cruising. What started as a trip to satisfy his curiosity back in 2008 turned into a lifetime obsession. He now seems to spend more time on boats than he does on our aircraft.  Quite an achievement. We asked Mark about his cruising career and why he’s so excited about Virgin Voyages.

Mark (front) takes a selfie on a ship

Mark’s first cruise, taken on a whim, was on the Explorer of the Seas from New York to Nova Scotia. “We thought ‘let’s try this. Why not?’” said Mark. “Very soon our initial apprehensions evaporated and we started to love cruising and the ship that was our home for ten days. Where everything was at our fingertips, where we could eat, drink or be entertained as little or as much as we wanted. We got to see the world and some of its beautiful places like Prince Edward Island. It was all very civilised!”

It was this freedom to do what they wanted, whenever they wanted that appealed to Mark and his husband Nigel. It felt to Mark like big city living, where you can go out to restaurants and enjoy the theatre every night. But on a cruise you’re waking up in a new place every day. Over 40 cruises later and Mark and Nigel have explored some of the world’s greatest places and created countless memories. Mark proposed atop a glacier whilst on a cruise in Alaska, wined and dined with a few Captains and they’ve made many lifelong friends. Even now, as this blog is being published they’re out on the high seas. So you can imagine how excited Mark was when Virgin Voyages announced their entry into the market. Having sailed on so many ships he’s convinced it’s time for someone to do it differently and who better than the amazing Virgin design and service we all know and love.

An artists impression of Scarlet Lady in Port Miami Terminal

Virgin Voyages are building a fleet of ships and cruising experiences for a new generation of customers that is unlike anything previously seen on the seas. This is what we love about their new approach and why we’re super excited to be part of the Red Hot Holiday package that Virgin Holidays are selling.

The name

Cruise passengers always remember the name of the ships they’ve stayed on. Which leads us to the first Virgin Voyages ship to be christened: Scarlet Lady. Ahh that takes us back. It was the name of one of our first aircraft back in the 1980s. We’re fond of that moniker and couldn’t be happier Virgin Voyages have chosen it for their first vessel.

The ships

As you’d expect, Virgin Voyages ship interiors are a masterclass in chic, contemporary design, allowing you to sit back in style while the world glides past the window. Some of the world’s leading designers have been let loose on the schemes – designers who’ve never worked on ships before. The result is some of the most beautiful and innovative spaces you’ll find at sea. But the design isn’t just about luxury…


Richard is a huge advocate of protecting our oceans and so everything about Virgin Voyages has been designed with sustainability in mind. As well as running programmes that benefit the oceans and their communities, numerous sustainability innovations have been introduced onboard. For a start, the ships include many design choices that reduce energy use. Things like tinted windows, LED lighting and room sensors. The service is also designed so there are no single use plastics onboard, including straws, water bottles, shopping bags, food packaging, stirrers and takeaway cups. Which brings us onto our next favourite thing…


Gone are the wasteful food buffets. In their place are more than 20 world class eateries serving sustainably sourced food, from vegetarian restaurants and a laboratory kitchen to traditional seafood and steakhouses, and cuisine from Italy, Korea and Mexico, to name a few. We think a voyage should be as much about discovering delicious new food as it is about exploring new places.

Life on the ocean waves

With 2,770 guests, Scarlet Lady would be described as ‘mid-sized’ for a cruise ship. But with its cool design and 1,100 crew it feels more like a large luxury superyacht. When summing up the onboard vibe, it’s fair to say that there is a lot of ‘Vitamin Sea’, how Virgin Voyages cheekily refers to well-being. It’s all about feeling good onboard, about caring for the oceans, and embracing a balanced way of life that blends wellness with a bit of good old-fashioned partying.

The wellbeing pool

Spaces to check out include The Manor, a venue inspired by Richard’s first recording studio, as well as a hip vinyl record store, private karaoke bars and theatres showing contemporary shows unlike anything seen on the sea before.

This is stylish cruising brought bang up to date, infused with the best Virgin culture. The Red Hot Holiday takes that to the next level. Fly to Miami on a Virgin Atlantic flight, explore the city for a few nights while staying at an amazing Virgin Holidays hotel and then set sail on Scarlet Lady. With a host of added extras such as discounted chauffeur car transfers, space available cabin upgrades and priority boarding and more. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the best cruising experience available. It needs to be booked by 29 February 2020, so what are you waiting for?

Find out more about this amazing package and other itineraries on the Virgin Holidays website

Dave Gunner

Dave Gunner

I love telling the story of our people, our planes, our places and our planet through Ruby Blog.

Categories: Our Experience