Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady Sails on Her "MerMaiden" Voyage Out of Miami
More than seven years in the making, Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady on Oct. 6 embarked on her first official sailing from PortMiami, which Virgin dubbed the MerMaiden voyage. This comes on the heels of what Virgin calls a successful preview season in the U.K. The ship will offer a mix of four- and five-night adult-only Caribbean itineraries.
“For more than 50 years, Virgin companies have been bringing innovation to industries,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. “Virgin Voyages is very much charting our own path, offering a fresh perspective on cruise travel with a mix of the familiar and a healthy dose of Virgin satisfaction.”
Virgin Voyages says its experience leads with health and well-being, requiring full vaccinations for both Sailors (guests) and crew. Guests will be tested for COVID-19 prior to boarding, a cost covered by the company. The goal is to ensure the safest possible travel experience, which includes implementing best practices around sanitization, physical distancing, limited occupancy and following local government guidelines in each destination.
“After many years in the making, we are excited to officially launch Scarlet Lady and welcome Sailors in the U.S. aboard for an unforgettable experience,” said Tom McAlpin, president and CEO of Virgin Voyages. “With Michelin-starred dining, incredible spa, phenomenal on-board entertainment and amazing crew, our promise is to deliver a sophisticated, yet relaxed, adult-only experience, free of formality, where ordinary becomes extraordinary. We call this ‘Setting Sail the Virgin Way.'"
Virgin Voyages’s value proposition includes giving its Sailors more for their money with all gratuities covered, free Wi-Fi, basic beverages and unlimited group fitness classes included in the fare. Here is what's different on a Virgin Voyages' cruise:
Adult-by-Design: Virgin ships offer a sanctuary at sea for the over-18 year old traveler. There are no kids and no kids clubs.
Relaxed-Luxe: The Virgin experience is sophisticated, yet approachable, with nods of glamour that are primed for today’s modern travelers.
Dining Done Differently: Scarlet Lady features more than 20 eateries aimed to satisfy foodies. These are restaurants that Virgin says will rival those on land. There are no buffets or pre-set dining times and all food is cooked a la minute. There is something to suit every palate, including menus from Michelin-starred chefs, the world’s only Korean BBQ at sea, and a food hall with options ranging from noodles to diner classics for a late-night bite.
Immersive Entertainment: Scarlet Lady will offer groundbreaking acts, original programming and small micro-plays developed by some of the world’s most-talked about producers, directors and artists.
Shake for Champagne: Through the Virgin Voyages Sailor App, Sailors can simply shake their phone to request champagne be delivered anywhere on-board the ship.
Vitamin Sea: Like the nutrient it is named after, this programming is innovative, with well-being activated through a mix of high-energy moments, coupled with relaxation and rejuvenation.
Scarlet Lady’s “Fire & Sunset Soirées," a four-night cruise, will stop in Nassau and then head to Virgin's Beach Club at Bimini, a signature waterfront experience. Sailors can relax with restorative morning yoga classes or can lounge by the pool in a private cabana, paired with sunset bonfires and DJ-led flotilla parties. During her inaugural season, Scarlet Lady will sail on a mix of Mexican and Caribbean itineraries, with five-night “Riviera Maya” sailings to Cozumel/Playa Del Carmen; five-night “Mayan Sol” voyages to Costa Maya, Mexico; and five-night “Dominican Daze” voyages to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
With a 1,330 cabins and 78 RockStar Quarters, 86 percent of the accommodations on Scarlet Lady feature a balcony and 93 percent have an ocean view. Intelligent architecture is built into the dynamic design with additional highlights that include rainfall showers, ambient mood lighting and smart controls, which adjust automatically with the ship’s geo-navigation system.
Virgin Voyages worked with a creative collective comprised of some of the most sought-after interior designers, artists and architects, including Roman and Williams, Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio, Concrete Amsterdam, and Softroom of London. Scarlet Lady’s interiors were conceptualized by Ben Christie and David Azurdia from the multi-award-winning Magpie Studio in London. RWD from Beaulieu England, a leader in super yacht design, created the red Virgin funnel for the line's ships.