April 8, 2021
With her stunning design and Clubhouse vibe, Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady is the new kid on the dock. For only three weeks in August, you can step onboard as she makes six, short and sweet sailings around the southern coast of England.
Scarlet Lady is Virgin Voyages’ pride and joy. And for good reason – she’s absolutely gorgeous. Inspired by modern luxury yachts and boutique hotels, she represents cruising done differently. Tattoo parlour? Tick. Vinyl record store? Tick. Drag-themed brunches? Of course. It’s farewell to formality and stuffiness, and hello streamlined cool.
On our first peek inside this sleek 2,770-passenger ship, we had the same sense of anticipation we’d felt boarding our own Scarlet Lady back in the late 1980s, one of our first Boeing 747s. She too offered something entirely new, with a unique blend of design and service that set her apart. And that same desire to do things differently was immediately apparent onboard the new Scarlet Lady, whose name we’re delighted to see live on.
On the Virgin Voyages Summer Soiree Cruises you’ll get to experience Scarlet Lady and find out what she’s all about. Sailing out from Portsmouth, England, you’ll have the opportunity to join her at sea for long summer days and nights, spent under the stars, enjoying great food, wellness experiences and exhilarating entertainment.
Here’s a rundown of just a few of the treats waiting to be discovered:-
You’ll probably spend most of your daylight hours up here. Beneath the funnel with its giant illuminated Virgin sign (it looks amazing at night) are the Aquatic Club poolside oasis and Gym & Tonic Bar, as well as running tracks, boxing rings and the vintage, 1920s-style Athletic Club, home to a basketball court and cold-pressed juice bar.
After you’ve worked up a sweat, try a meditation session at sun-kissed space The Perch, or lie back and relax at the Sun Club. Private cabanas are also available for those seeking extra me-time, or you can even spread out on a suspended catamaran net 17 storeys above the ocean.
When the day is done, it’s time to start planning your evening. Head down to the lower decks and kick things off with a blow-dry at the Dry Dock blowout bar or a hot-lather shave at upscale barber shop Stubble & Groom.
Decks 5, 6 and 7 are where the nights come to life. Entertainment options include everything from pop-up acts and cosy bars with live music, to bi-level nightclub The Manor and mind-blowing theatrical space The Red Room, which transforms into different layouts to accommodate shows designed by a collective of Tony Award-winning producers, directors, choreographers and artists. They were given free reign, so expect the unexpected!
The majority of restaurants and bars are here too. With bold red lighting and striking black-and-white walls, Razzle Dazzle specialises in vegetarian and vegan cuisine as well as bottomless cocktails at its decadent drag brunch. Sophisticated steak and seafood restaurant The Wake offers midcentury style and tableside drink service, while Pink Agave is the ship’s own Mexican hacienda, dishing up authentic tamales, mesquites and memelas. We also loved the minimalist, lab-like vibe of The Test Kitchen and its experimental bar, as well as casual trattoria Extra Virgin with its regional Italian menus and private dining room designed to resemble a mobster’s lair.
Deck 5 is where you’ll also find the cave-inspired Redemption Spa, home to a hydrotherapy pool, cold plunge pools, chilled-out quartz beds and a soothing salt room. Perfect for a dose of ‘Vitamin Sea’.
For these Summer Soirée Series cruises the entertainment programme is being tweaked to highlight some local musicians and artists who haven’t been able to go on the road (or sea) over the past year.
Most of the tech-filled, superyacht-inspired cabins are on the middle decks (give or take a couple of futuristic Rockstar Suites). Created by award winning designers, they’re both stylish and practical, with an oversized sofa, or ‘Seabed’, that converts to a plush flat bed for sleeping. If you have a balcony it will come with your own handwoven, custom-designed hammock. Mood lighting automatically adjusts to the time of day, while shower rooms come with oversized rainshower heads for a spa-like soak, as well as natural and ethical toiletries.
And those Tom Dixon-designed Rockstar Suites? Alongside the stunning sea views, they come with quirky individual touches like record players, marble bathrooms, stargazing loungers, and fully stocked bars and cocktail kits, as well as access to an exclusive top-deck lounge known as Richard’s Rooftop.
“We’re so unbelievably excited to give you a taste of what it’s like to Set Sail the Virgin Way in an elevated yet relaxed adults-only experience at sea. After a year filled with adversity and stillness, it’s time to reward yourselves with outstretched horizons and unrivaled experiences making years worth of memories along the way”.
These short UK cruises are taking place before Scarlet Lady sets sail to her home port of Miami where she will spend the rest of her time cruising in the Caribbean. A Virgin Voyage means waking up somewhere new every day, that could be the Riviera Maya, Cozumel or Playa Del Carmen. You can also experience Fire and Sunset Soirées, which offer a sunset departure from Key West and a midnight departure from Bimini in the Bahamas, where you’ll spend time at exclusive private venue The Beach Club. Activities here include everything from shipwreck diving (yay) and sunbathing around a lagoon-style pool to flotilla parties and dancing the night away to Ibiza-style DJ sets.
The final part of the Virgin Voyages story is about sustainability, which not only covers responsible sailing but taking a lead on protecting the oceans and promoting local economies.
Everything that happens onboard has been designed with sustainability in mind, from banning all single-use plastics, serving direct trade coffee and only selling reef-safe sunscreen, to brand partnerships chosen for their positive impact. This includes energy companies like Sweden-based Climeon, who convert engine waste heat into clean electricity, and social enterprises like Yellow Leaf, whose Thai artisans create the cabin balcony hammocks, which in turn fosters community transformation in their rural areas.
Add in all the other elements that reduce fuel consumption, like tinted windows, LED lighting, and air con that turns off automatically when cabins are unoccupied, and it’s easy to see how this red ship is the greenest on the planet.
Most importantly, Virgin Voyages are committed to a healthy and safe start at sea, and would never set sail without the proper precautions and considerations in place. With our Voyage Well initiative — which includes, but is not limited to, enhanced cleanings, contactless experiences, a new air purification system, reduced capacity, and frequent testing and vaccine requirements — we’ve made sure sailing safely is our top priority. And based on their own assessments, the UK has determined that its citizens can safely sail this summer. So at this time, only residents of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will be sailing on our Summer Soirée Series — with Sailors aged 18+ vaccinated against COVID-19. Additional testing and protocols will be confirmed closer to sailing — all in line with the most up to date recommendations from the UK government.
It’s the staycation-at-sea you’ve dreamed about all year, all while being the first to set sail on Scarlet on either a four-night Summer WeekDaze voyage, a three-night Long Weekender voyage, or book both sailings back-to-back for a full week at sea.
To find out more visit the Virgin Voyages website. And see you soon onboard. We’ve already booked our first cruise!