Category Archives: Scarlet Lady

Virgin Voyages Announces Sneak-A-Peak Sailings

VIRGIN VOYAGES ANNOUNCES CELEBRATORY MAIDEN VOYAGE EXPERIENCES 

Virgin Voyages have made exciting announcements on what to expect for the Scarlet Lady’s Maiden Voyage. The much-anticipated voyage will depart Miami on the 1st April next year. In true Virgin style, the first celebratory sailing will be an unforgettable experience.  Celebrity guests will be at every turn, and I am sure there will be much speculation as to who will be onboard. Special onboard events with exciting surprises will give Sailors an enhanced Virgin Voyages experience.

TWO NEW SNEAK-A-PEAK SAILINGS

Virgin Voyages also announced two special preview Sneak-a-Peek sailings, so sailors can sample the Virgin Voyages experience. with the first one departing 26 March 2020.

The adult-only cruise promises to be a cruise like no other, with their fresh approach to cruising.  Scarlet Lady officially sets sail on its Maiden Voyage April 1st.

The three-night Sneak-a-Peek Scarlet Lady sailings will feature the ship’s marquee experiences. These include a stunning day at Virgin Voyages exclusive Beach Club at Bimini. Sailors will enjoy a Scarlet Night Party, access to all restaurants and the opportunity to experience complete versions of entertainment offered onboard.

Bookings for Sneak-a-Peak sailings open on VirginVoyages.com Friday, November 15th. The first sailing will run from Thursday, March 26 – Sunday, March 29. The second sailing will run Sunday, March 29 – Wednesday, April 1.

Recommended Reading Mark Ronson Virgin Voyages Minister of Music

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Virgin Voyages Reveal Cabins and Itineraries

Cabins

Virgin Voyages today released itinerary details and cabin designs for the company’s first ship, Scarlet Lady. Sailors will set sail in sleek uber yacht style Seabed, a completely new transformational bed that converts from full-sized bed to lounger. The Seabed allows Sailors to transform their bed to a sofa for more space during the day.

Itineraries

The Scarlet Lady will sail a variety of Caribbean voyages befitting of any curious traveller’s tastes. Sailors will embark on their journey aboard Scarlet Lady from Miami, where they can toast to the Magic City’s colourful evening skyline as the ship sets sail at 7 pm.

Havana After Dark – 4 and 5 night itineraries featuring an overnight stay in Havana, Cuba. Itineraries that will take Sailors on a cultural quest through Cuba, with an overnight stay in Havana that will afford Sailors ample time to explore and visit Cuba’s warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges.

Mayan Sol Voyages to Costa Maya, Mexico – 5 night. Where antiquity contrasts modernism, with Mayan ruins just a stone’s throw away from the port and colourful coral reefs that lie just off-shore. Virgin Voyages has partnered with ITM Group to bring Sailors to this incredible paradise filled with rich history and excitement.

Dominican Daze Voyages to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic – 5 night. Voyages to Puerto Plata will be an ocean lover’s dream holiday. Puerto Plata is the perfect place for Sailors to catch some waves at surf school, explore trekking through canyons or catch a cable car up the mountain to buy handicrafts in an artisan village or enjoy endless island views.

With extended hours in port with an overnight or a late-night sail away on all voyages, sailors will be have more time to explore the destinations.

Cabin Design

The cabin layout is custom-created to accommodate the Seabed, the first-ever transformational cabin bed at sea, making sure the sea will be the headlining star of the cabins.

Virgin Voyages Cabin day view from terrace

“We didn’t want to create the same old box of a bedroom that our Sailors would only use to lay their head down at night, we wanted to reshape the entire cabin experience,” said Dee Cooper, senior vice president of design for Virgin Voyages. “Whether it’s sleeping, socialising or stargazing they desire, our cabins will transform to match our Sailors’ whims. Stylish yet somehow still informal, these cabins change the face of modern sea travel.”

With clever cabin lighting, the mood lighting will automatically adjust to enhance the time of day based on where the ship is in the world, reflecting the blue seas and the gold to purple sunsets of the Caribbean waters.

Energy Saver Mode

The cabins will feature PIR presence sensors that automatically detect when someone has left the cabin and go into energy saver mode, where blinds will close and air conditioning will adjust to an eco-saver temperature, conserving energy to support the company’s commitment to operate one of the cleanest fleets at sea.

Virgin Voyages chose to use top quality materiality throughout the cabins, like a saddle leather chair, complete with refined stitch detail.  Most standard cabins will include:

  • Transitional Seabeds
  • In-room entertainment with 43”+ 4K flat-screen HDTVs
  • Mini bars,
  • Glam areas
  • Flexible wardrobes
  • All cabins were engineered to optimise bathroom space featuring rain shower heads for a spa-like wash.

All terraces aboard Scarlet Lady will feature custom-designed hammocks, handwoven by artisans from Yellow Leaf a social enterprise that fosters women’s empowerment and community transformation in rural Thailand.

With several cabin categories there are 1,330 cabins aboard the Scarlet Lady and 78 RockStar Suites.

Cabin types revealed are:

  • Roomy XL Sea Terrace cabins
  • Sea Terrace cabins Sea View cabins
  • Insider cabins
  • Social Insider cabins that sleep up to four in a chalet-style bunk
  • Solo Insider cabins designed and priced exclusively for the solo traveller.

On Sale 14 February 2019

The Scarlet Lady’s inaugural 2020 season will open for bookings this Valentine’s Day, February 14. On this special day, Virgin Voyages will reveal more details relating to the ship’s onboard experience as well as an additional destination to be featured on all voyages. Details about on-shore experiences offered by Virgin Voyages, or Shore Things as they refer to them, will be released in late 2019.

Virgin Voyages Celebrates Naval Traditions

Although Virgin Voyages are on a mission to disrupt the travel industry with their unique approach to cruise holidays, there are some surprisingly traditional roots within the details. Undoubtedly the most eyebrow raising venue revealed for Scarlet Lady to date, is the Razzle Dazzle restaurant.

A Tribute To War Ships

The design of Razzle Dazzle is based on Dazzle Camouflage used on war ships during the first world war.  The image above shows gunboat HMS Kildangan in her glorious zebra stripes.

However it wasn’t just war ships that donned the design. Cunard’s RMS Mauretania also had a repaint when she was ordered to serve as a troop ship

RMS Mauretania in Dazzle Camouflage carrying troops.

The camouflage acted as an illusion to U-Boats as shown in the illustration below.

 

 

Image: Virgin Voyages – Razzle Dazzle Restaurant onboard Scarlet Lady

Female Impersonators in WW1

Diners in Razzle Dazzle can enjoy entertainment by Scarlet Lady’s resident Drag Queen. Not something we are used to on cruise ships and at first glance may seem a very ‘modern’ approach. However in the war, cross dressing was seen as a coping mechanism to deal with the horror and boredom experienced by troops.

Musicians, singers, and comedians were always on the entertainment bill, but the female impersonator was always a show stopper.

Tattoos

Image: Virgin Voyages – Squid Ink Tattoo Parlour onboard Scarlet Lady

Another first at sea will be Squid Ink. The onboard tattoo parlour will offer Virgin Voyages Sailors the opportunity to keep the memory of their cruise with them forever.

The connection between sailors and tattoos can be traced back to Captain James Cook in the 1700s. After seeing the facial tattoos of Maori tribes, the Captain and his crew decided to get tattoos of their own. It is thought that this is how tattoos were introduced to Europe.

Sailor Jerry

During the second world war California born Norman Collins, nicknamed Sailor Jerry, was the sailors favourite tattoo artist. Enlisting in the US Navy at 19, he had been practicing his skills on drunks at Skid Row. During the war Honolulu, Hawaii, the red-light district was full of sailors and soldiers about to ship off for duty.  Before their departure they would queue up in droves to get a tattoo from Jerry.

More details on the design of Virgin Voyages first Lady Ship in my blog post Virgin Voyages – The World On A Plate

Virgin Voyages – The World On A Plate

Scarlet Lady’s Dining Gives You The World On A Plate

Another elaborate Virgin Voyages bash was held this week at Chef Jody Williams’ New York Gastrothèque, Buvette. The company chose the perfect venue to unveil the latest wave of designs by their Creative Collective.

Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

“We want our eateries to delight and ignite serendipitous experiences for our sailors, so have set out on a mission to capture the spirit of dining in the best cities of the world and bring it to sea,” said Tom McAlpin, president and chief executive officer for Virgin Voyages. “Because food is the fuel for our bodies and souls, and we’re Virgin Voyages, naturally it all had to be included within your ticket price.”

Sailors will have more than 20 dining options to choose from including restaurants, seaside lounges and casual eateries. Each restaurant has it’s own bar and designed to create experiences that reflect the daily lives of their sailors and who they aspire to be.

In alignment with the cruise lines promise to have the most sustainable ships at sea, their effort to cut back on waste will see all food made to order. There will be no buffets onboard and the restaurants that are typically exclusive on land, will be open to all at no extra charge.

Virgin Voyages aims to be one of the cleanest fleets at sea, with a ban on single-use plastics Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

The Restaurants

WAKE

Image: Virgin Voyages – Wake Restaurant served steak and seafood

Situated in a 5,866 square foot restaurant at the aft of the ship, designed by Roman and Williams, Wake offers sailors a dramatic view of the ship’s wake.

Image: Virgin Voyages Steak and Seafood Restaurant Wake

Serving a theatrical take on steak and seafood, Wake is the most glamorous restaurant on the ship with an experience inspired by The Wolseley – London and The Grill – New York, a dramatic grand staircase.

Image: Virgin Voyages Steak and Seafood Restaurant Wake

Offerings include a raw bar (design inspired by the bow of a speedboat), land and sea classics, a table-side cocktail cart and a Sommelier led Magnum program.

RAZZLE DAZZLE

“There’s a Virgin twist on everything you’ll see aboard the Scarlet Lady, which means there will be no stuffy formalities, boring buffets and no main dining rooms. Sailors are not going to want to leave our ship after they experience how we’ve designed our restaurants and tasted the dishes we are going to be serving up in 2020,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

With an interior scheme that nods to the namesake, the bold camouflaging of ships from WWI using patterns of black and white paint, Razzle Dazzle was designed by Concrete Amsterdam.

Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

With vibrant and creative twists on vegetarian fare and a juice bar.  Razzle Dazzle delivers a healthy dose of nice with just the right amount of wrong.

Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

The “nice” menu offers plant-based vegetarian and vegan dishes including must have munchies such as the Impossible Burger.

The “naughty” side enables sailors to order meat “add-ons” and offers to spike their healthy smoothies with boozy shots.

Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

To live up to the boldness of its name, Razzle Dazzle will not simply brunch but rather Drag Brunch, where sailors are treated to a performance by the Scarlet Lady’s resident drag performer and friends.

Brita Filter performs at the Virgin Voyages Sea-licious Event in New York Photographer: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

For a small fee, sailors can opt to enjoy bottomless drag-inspired cocktails like the “Yasss Queen” and the Razzle Dizzle, a CBD infused cocktail.

THE TEST KITCHEN

Image: Virgin Voyages Test Kitchen

The Test Kitchen will offer sailors innovative and avant-garde cuisine in a clean and modern space designed by Concrete Amsterdam.

Image: Virgin Voyages Test Kitchen

Inspired by Escoffier’s Ma Cuisine, this laboratory-like eatery is part cooking school and part restaurant, making it the ultimate place for discovery through cuisine with an atmosphere that is educational, experiential and social all in one.  The chef-driven set menus are presented in the form of an ingredient list to Sailors who will discover how the chef combines the list of flavors throughout the course of the meal.

Image: Virgin Voyages Test Kitchen

This eatery hosts a number of different experiences throughout the voyage from cooking classes, to mixology school to coffee labs, and even a few late-night lock-ins, where sailors will be invited to raid the chef’s fridge and dig into a midnight feast.

GEONBAE

 

 

Image: Virgin Voyages Geonbae Restaurant

Geonbae, the equivalent of the expression bottoms up in Korean, is a Korean BBQ restaurant designed by Soft Room.

Hosted by the loudest servers at sea, each meal will begin with a complimentary round of soju for the table and throughout the evening sailors are encouraged to take part in lively Korean drinking games.

Image: Virgin Voyages – Geonbae Restaurant

A social, hands on, interactive, fun dining experience, Geonbae features specially engineered flameless grills built into each table and invites Sailors to literally play with their food as they cook their perfect BBQ.

PINK AGAVE

Image: Virgin Voyages – Pink Agave Upscale Mexican Restaurant

An elevated Mexican restaurant designed by Tom Dixon, Pink Agave transports sailors to the vibrant streets of Mexico City through immersive void lighting.

Image: Virgin Voyages – Blue Agave Mexican Restaurant

Offering a wide variety of Mexican specialties that inspire sailors to discover authentic Mexican flavours including tlayudas, memelas, sopes, tortas, esquites, and tamales.

Image: Virgin Voyages Pink Agave Mexican Restaurant

Pink Agave’s dishes can be paired with a cocktail from the Scarlet Lady’s expansive collection of mezcals, or signature Agua Fresca cocktails. Pink Agave is designed to be a lively shared plate restaurant experience, where the DJ amps up the energy of the room as the evening hours slip away.

EXTRA VIRGIN

Image: Virgin Voyages Italian Restaurant Extra Virgin

Extra Virgin is the ships trattoria serving regionally-inspired and approachable food, deeply rooted in Italian culinary traditions with handmade fresh pasta made daily.  A meal begins with shared antipasti followed by approachable pasta-centric favourites.

Image: Virgin Voyages – Italian Restaurant Extra Virgin

Extra Virgin features a wide and wonderful world of amari and digestivi and traditional Italian aperitifs. The wine list will be designed with a unique infographic system to help sailors better understand Italian wines, enabling them to navigate to the perfect bottle.  The integration of a Coravin at the bar will allow sailors to taste rare Italian wines by the glass.  Extra Virgin will offer an Aperitivo hour each day with drink specials and small plates.

DOCK

Image: Virgin Voyages – Dock

The dock is a perfect place to hang day and night.  Set at the aft of the ship on deck 7, The Dock is a beach club-inspired space.

Image: Virgin Voyages Dock RestaurantCarts of Mediterranean small plates, salads, dips and mezzes provide perfect grazing options throughout the day.  Flame grilled to order skewers provide filling hot options for those wanting a substantial bite to eat.

THE GALLEY

Image: Virgin Voyages The Galley

The Galley will be the main space for the quick and casual meal throughout the day.

Image: Virgin Voyages – The Galley

The food hall will feature a mix of more than eight shops and food carts. Each one offering a unique concept, with irresistible signature dishes that changes to suit the time of day.

Image: Virgin Voyages – The Galley Food Hall

The Galley’s concept includes;

  • Dedicated bakery and pastry shop
  • Panini shop
  • Burger grill
  • Taco shack
  • Sushi bar with bento boxes
  • Noodle bar
  • Soup and salad stand
  • 24-hour American diner.

THE PIZZA PLACE

Image: Virgin Voyages – Pizza Place

The beach club-inspired Pizza Place offers a quick, easy and delicious meal.  Sailors can choose from the classic menu or design their very own pizza.

Image: Virgin Voyages – Pizza Place

This is a great spot for a casual lunch or late-night, post drink, hunger buster.

With such international cuisine, you can see how Scarlet Lady offers you the world on a plate!

Virtual Tour

I’ve created a video to help bring the ship to life. It’s on my YouTube channel. If you are not already, why not subscribe to my channel. If you like the video please give it a thumbs up. Feel free to leave a comments about your thoughts on the Virgin Voyages dining concept, below.

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More information can be found at Virgin Voyages

First Virgin Voyages Ship Named Scarlet Lady

This week at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Genoa, Italy, Sir Richard Branson revealed his first Lady Ship has been named Scarlet Lady. This is a tribute to sister company Virgin Atlantic as the name appeared on one of the first of its fleet.

Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin and American private equity investor and co-chairman of Bain Capital Stephen Pagliuca arrived by speedboat to an excited crowd of international cruise industry professionals.

Photo by Vincenzo Lombardo/Getty Images for VIRGIN VOYAGES – Sir Richard Branson, Tom McAlpin and Stephen Pagliuca.

Ban on Single Use Plastics

The company announced they will eliminate the use of single-use plastics for sailors as part of its commitment to be one of the cleanest fleets at sea.

This plan includes banning onboard items such as straws, bottled water, other beverage bottles, condiment packets, shopping bags, food packaging, stirrers, and take-away coffee and tea cups.

“Nothing makes me prouder than seeing companies like Virgin Voyages striving to make a positive impact on the world we live in,” said Branson. “Business is a force for good and can and must be the catalyst for global change.”

Sir Richard Branson takes a sledgehammer to a plastic bottle to demonstrate Virgin Voyages commitment to creating one of the cleanest fleets at sea.

“We believe that in order to fulfill our purpose of creating an ‘Epic Sea Change for All,’ we must make a commitment that is bigger than just eliminating straws,” said McAlpin. “We must make a commitment to building ships and experiences that do everything possible to look after the well-being of our precious oceans. We are delighted with what we’ve achieved so far and will continue to push ourselves to look for innovative ways to do things that will make a difference.”

Vitamin Sea

Another exciting reveal of the day were new renderings and animations of nine new public spaces and innovative well-being programming for sailors, referred to by the cruise line as ‘Vitamin Sea.’

Virgin Voyages has committed to delivering an “Epic Sea Change for All” which will include transformational and rejuvenating experiences for its sailors. The ‘Vitamin Sea’ ideology is inspired by the oceans and their important role they play in the health and well-being for our planet and our daily lives. The approach also places healthy travel at the forefront of the delivery of its ‘Adult by Design’ experience for the 18+ sailor.

“We are all so busy with life, work and family that vacations are critical for us to be able to rebuild our energy, so that we can live our best lives,” said McAlpin. “With well-being at the heart of everything we do at Virgin Voyages, sailors will come back feeling rejuvenated, not like they need a holiday from their holiday.”

Equal Opportunity

Virgin Voyages also revealed their plans to launch the ‘Scarlet Squad’ program aimed at recruiting, supporting and mentoring female shipboard talent, and growing opportunities to access leadership roles in onboard areas such as marine, technical and hotel management, that statistically show low numbers of female leadership. Virgin Voyages will release more details on the program in the company’s sustainability and social impact report later this year.

“Across the maritime industry, we can do better in onboard recruiting and leadership representation for women,” said McAlpin. “I want all future crew to know that Virgin Voyages will create an onboard environment that is fair, inclusive and where everyone has an opportunity to reach their full potential.”

The event celebrated several construction milestones including the flooding of the ship’s drydock, and a ceremony to cut the first pieces of steel for Virgin Voyages’ second ship, which is due for delivery in 2021.

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