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When Richard Branson launches a cruise company, you know it’s going to be a different kind of expereince, one that brims with inventiveness, good humor and a bit of cheekiness.
Virgin Voyages, long in the planning, launched its first ship launch in August 2021 in the United Kingdom, quickly followed by Scarlet Lady's inaugural sailings in the Caribbean starting in October 2021.
The adults-only cruise line requires guests (or “sailors,” as they're called) to be 18 or older. And for now, everyone on board needs to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shots before boarding.
As a brand, Virgin likes to innovate by questioning basic assumptions that undergird a sector (think airlines or space travel). It's no different here. Virgin Voyages takes its cues not from other cruise ships but from the design aesthetic of super-yachts.
It also brings along an upscale vibe and a sassy sensibility that declares things will be slightly different on its ships.
For instance, there are no set mealtimes and no dress code (but please, do wear pants). There's no extra charge for gratituies after the fact. Fun touches include mood lighting and hammocks throughout the ships. Virgin Voyages focuses on the well being of passengers, with yoga, meditation, spa and onshore biking all included. You can get that tattoo you've long wanted at Squid Ink, its floating tattoo parlor. Other highlights include more than 20 dining venues — all of them complimentary — and port stays that stray into the late-night hours.
Following Scarlet Lady, sister ship Valiant Lady will debut in spring 2022 with journeys from Barcelona and Resilient Lady in late 2022 or early 2023 with sailings out of Athens. A fourth ship is due in late 2023.
The ships are midsize but small enough to call on ports that are off the beaten path. Add in complimentary shipwide dining, immersive entertainment and beautiful, sophisticated, playful flourishes, and it's hard to resist the allure of Virgin Voyages.
Virgin Voyages offers ADA-compliant accommodations across all its ships to accommodate guests who use wheelchairs.