After conquering the skies, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson will lend his own particular brand of magic to the oceans when his first cruise ship sets sail in April 2020. Designed to reflect a sleek yacht, the adults-only vessel ‘Scarlet Lady’ includes more than 20 intimate eateries, 1330 cabins and 78 ‘RockStar’ suites created by some of the top names in modern architecture and interiors including superstar designer Tom Dixon. Quite simply, the slick and stylish spaces look unlike any cruise ship interiors we’ve ever seen!
“I’m immensely proud of this new brand; in building it we took the time to think through every detail and craft a unique experience that brings to life Virgin and disrupts the travel industry. I can’t wait to hear what Aussies think of our new endeavour,” says Richard Branson.
The vessel has a ‘no nickel and diming’ policy with all dining, group fitness classes, soft drinks, gratuities and wi-fi included in the voyage fare. “Our team is committed to disrupting the cruise category by providing a new, irresistible over-18 experience,” says Virgin Voyages’ CCO, Nirmal Saverimuttu of the vessel where 86 percent of cabins feature a balcony and 93 percent feature an ocean view.
Tom Dixon is responsible for the design of two of the hospitality venues – ‘Pink Agave’ is a Mexican restaurant while ‘Richard’s Rooftop’ is an exclusive, chic, outdoor lounged reserved the ship’s suite guests.
A novel concept, ‘The Test Kitchen,’ is a laboratory-like eatery designed by Concrete Amsterdam; it’s part cooking school and part restaurant.
Concrete Amsterdam is also responsible for the restaurant ‘Razzle Dazzle’ which is home to the ship’s ‘drag brunch,’ where sailors are treated to a performance by the Scarlet Lady’s resident drag performer and friends.
Designed by Roman and Williams, ‘The Manor’ is the ship’s signature nightclub (and entertainment venue), and it’s inspired by Richard Branson’s history in the music industry. ‘Voyage Vinyl’ is an onboard record shop and go-to space for guests to enjoy their favourite albums – guests can purchase music magazines, headphones and record players there too.
‘The Groupie,’ designed by Roman Coppola, is a modernist take on a Japanese-style karaoke room that features bookable karaoke, gaming and movie lounges.
There’s also grooming and pampering spaces including an upscale barber shop, a blow dry and hairstyling beauty bar, a nail salon and ‘Squid Ink’ which is the first ever tattoo studio on board a cruise ship. It will offer tattooing, permanent makeup and body piercing.
Marketed under the brand Virgin Voyages, the company has partnered with Virgin Australia to enable Aussies to purchase return flight and cruise ship packages. The deals will include return flights from Australia’s east coast (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne) to Miami after which travellers will set sail on a number of itineraries including destinations in the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Prices start from $3420 per person for twin share, departing Sydney including a four-night cruise.