San Francisco Bay Area
Scarlet Lady ready to take cruising in new directions
Scarlet Lady, the first ship from billionaire Richard Branson's upstart Virgin Voyages, debuted in August 2021 in England and makes its U.S. debut out of Miami on Oct. 6, 2021. The ship's U.S. launch, delayed by the COVID outbreak, will be the first to include port visits — Scarlet Lady will call on a port in the Bahamas or Mexico and stop at a private club in Bimini in the Bahamas before returning to Miami.
A midsize ship that carries 2,770 passengers, Scarlet Lady is expected to sail at about two-thirds capacity for its initial sailings. All guests — “sailors,” in the parlance of Virgin — must be 18 or older and must be fully vaccinated, as will the crew members.
Virgin is known for bringing innovation to familiar terrain, and it says its ship design is inspired by superyachts rather than other cruise ships. Virgin's ships can be thought of alongside premium cruise lines SeaDream, Cunard Line and perhaps Ponant, with many luxury touches and inclusions — but at a more affordable price and with a different vibe and younger demographic.
Part of the Virgin brand is to flout convention, so you'll find several cruise ship staples have been jettisoned. There's no dress code, no set dining times and no cafeteria-style buffets (yay!). Venues that would be considered specialty restaurants on other ships are included in the base fare.
Wellness and well-being are central to a sailing on Scarlet Lady, so you can take advantage of the free spa, yoga, meditation, fitness center and a host of classes. When the mood strikes, take in a band or DJ in one of the performance spaces, head to the arcade or get that tattoo you've always wanted.
Who will like sailing on Scarlet Lady
Travelers who like to try new experiences will be attracted to the flourishes and reimagined guest experiences aboard Scarlet Lady. Some 82% of guests who've booked to date are 35 to 65, with an average age of 48. Nearly six in 10 are women, and 59% of guests have kids at home, the cruise line said on a webinar Cruiseable attended. For the voyages out of Miami, guests are overwhelmingly American.
Rewards for early guests
Passengers who book a sailing for 2021 will be designated as Sea-Blazers (that's a trailblazer at sea). You’ll get:
- An extra $125 when you purchase a $300 pre-paid bar tab — a perpetual benefit for Sea-Blazers.
- $300 off your next sailing in 2022, no matter what offers it’s combined with
- An exclusive, limited-edition welcome gift
Where Scarlet Lady sails
Home port: Miami
Destinations: Initial plans call for Scarlet Lady to sail 4-night voyages to Nassau and the Beach Club at Bimini (a Virgin Voyages exclusive), rotating with 5-night cruises to Costa Maya, Mexico, and the Beach Club at Bimini in the Bahamas. The private beach club experience at Bimini culminates in a bonfire send-off under the stars.
More than $600 in value is always included in every Scarlet Lady fare:
- All tips are included — there's no charge for gratuities.
- All dining venues are complimentary with chef-curated experiences at 20+ eateries
- Free Wi-Fi
- Unlimited group fitness classes
- Basic beverages like coffee, tea, water, soda and non-pressed juices come at no extra cost.
Dining is an experience on Scarlet Lady — and all restaurants are included at no extra cost. In partnering with famed restaurateurs and Michelin-Starred chefs from New York City, Virgin has done away with buffets and pre-set dining times. Chefs pair fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors with distinctive culinary stylings to deliver elevated, diverse meals. On board you'll find:
- 20+ complimentary venues— with a bar in every speciality one
- No buffets. No main dining halls. No assigned seating.
- No single-use plastics are ever used on board.
- Every eatery has its own kitchen and an executive chef, and all food is fresh and made to order, never mass produced.
Here are the main dining venues on Scarlet Lady:
Gunbae: A flameless grill sits in the middle of each guest table, a visual prompt to rustle up your own spicy Korean BBQ meal.
The Wake: This retro-style venue serves up steak and seafood in a setting that recalls the three-martini lunch days of Madison Avenue ad men — minus the cigar smoke and with more gender equality.
Razzle Dazzle: This “vegetarian-forward” venue — open for breakfast, lunch and dinner — lets you unleash your inner vegan with a host of veggie dishes as well as meat dishes for the carnivores in your party.
Extra Virgin: Look for regionally inspired Italian food and handmade fresh pasta and a meal where a wine menu of rich reds and and playful whites is as central as the food.
Pink Agave: This Mexican hacienda eschews instant Mexican fare in favor of authentic dishes, including tlayudas, memelas, sopes, tortas, esquites and tamales — with plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, too.
The Dock: This lounge serves up mezze (appetizers and small dishes) with ocean views, making for elegant, seaside chilling with a Mediterranean summer vibe.
The Dock House: Look for bright flavors set to live acoustic sounds round out each taste in this casual Mediterranean eatery. Select from choice cuts and fresh fish for the tableside open flame, or try bites like house made pita and dips, in a venue Virgin describes as “part elegant Ibiza cabana, part rustic-chic resort.”
The Test Kitchen: This part restaurant, part cooking school introduces you to a world of flavors, spices and cooking skills. The Test Kitchen is host to a number of different experiences throughout the voyage: cooking classes, mixology school and coffee labs.
The Pizza Place: Choose from the classic menu or design your own fresh made-to-order pizza at this casual beach-club inspired spot.
Bento Baby: Japanese cuisine, baby!
Well Bread: Pastries and flatbreads
The Daily Mix: Healthy dishes
Sun Club Cafe: Hawaiian poké bowls
Noodle Around: Miso and Tonkatsu ramen
Diner & Dash: 24-Hour classic American
Burger Bar: Every kind of burger
Plus, Pop Star, a popsicle shop; the Taco Shop; the Sweet Side for pastries and desserts; Hot Off the Press for sandwiches and toasties, and Grounds Club for "thoughtfully sourced" coffee.
Scarlet Lady offers a range of activities that appeal to both active travelers and those who just want to kick back. You'll find a pool — though one that's smaller than those found on similar sized ships — as well as a smoke-free casino and spa. Some highlights:
- Redemption Spa offers full amenities and treatments as well as a Thermal Suite — with a sauna, mud, salt and steam rooms, hydrotherapy pool and marble hammam benches. After hours Redemption turns into a hotspot with spa parties and DJ music.
- Group fitness classes: All yoga, HIIT, cycling, barre and other group classes are free.
- Outdoor fitness spaces: You'll find a training zone, running track and The Perch — for yoga at sunrise.
- B-Complex: This indoor facility features a space to build and balance (weights/yoga/stretch) and a space to bike and burn (cycling/rowing/running).
Entertainment & lounges
Guests can choose from a festival-like lineup of shows and musical performances. A renowed group of producers, directors, choreographers and artists have collaborated on productions on board described as immersive and contemporary — shows that blur the line between audience and performer. Shows take place in the Red Room, the ship's larger-than-life entertainment space and first-ever transformational, multi-form theater at sea.
Elsewhere on the ship you'll encounter unexpected pop-up performances and engaging happenings, including:
- The Manor: Nightclub acts
- Sip Lounge: Champagne lounge
- On the Rocks: Martini and cocktail bar
- Loose Cannon: Social club
- Richard's Rooftop: This VIP bar on the top deck of the ship named after Richard Branson is reserved for the exclusive use of the ship's suite passengers and offers a full bar, chic circular loungers and a colorful light system.
There are 1,408 passenger cabins on Scarlet Lady — 93% of which have ocean views and 86% of which have balconies (called Sea Terraces here). Some 1,130 rooms are Sea Terrace cabins ranging in size from 225 to 265 square feet. There are also 95 Sea View staterooms; 105 Insider cabins and 78 suites, including 63 RockStar Quarters (352-848 square feet) and 15 Mega RockStar Quarters (570 to a Jagger-like 2,147 square feet).
An industry first, the slightly angular-shaped Sea Cabins feature what Virgin calls “flexible furnishings,” conducive for socializing and relaxing, not just for sleeping. Each guest room is fitted with Virgin's trademark mood lighting: Caribbean cruises will feature lighting in blue sea hues during the day and morph into the gold to purple sunset colors as the day ends. Eco-modes control air conditioning, and the curtains will close to adjust to an eco-saving mode when a guest steps out of the cabin.
Rooms contain a large flat-screen HDTV, mini-bar, desk and flexible closet and storage spaces. Every bathroom has a rain shower shower head. Balconies contain red handwoven hammocks. Solo travelers can travel without paying a single supplement penalty.
- Scarlet Lady is named after an early Virgin Atlantic plane.
- The ship will be joined by two nearly identical ships, Valiant Lady in spring 2022 and Resilient Lady in late 2022 or early 2023.
All passengers and crew members must be fully vaccinated before boarding. On the ship, crew members wear face coverings. Travelers must wear masks at the pre-boarding test site, at the port terminal and on shuttle services. On board UK sailings, Virgin Voyages recommends travelers wear a mask while walking around the ship or when they're not able to social distance. Virgin Voyages says it's still finalizing its COVID-19 procedures for sailings out of the U.S.
Interested in a cruise on this ship?
For pricing, itinerary information and to reserve your spot on Scarlet Lady, contact a Cruiseable travel consultant by email or call 1-877-322-3773.