Virgin Voyages has hosted its first travel agent guests on board the Scarlet Lady in Dover, before it makes its way to Liverpool and the United States.
The new 2,770 guest, adults-only ship will be based out of Miami and sail four, five and seven-night itineraries all of which will call at Virgin’s private Beach Club at Bimini.
The company’s early ambition was to create a new category within the industry. All restaurants are included within the fare, as are gratuities, wifi, exercise classes and “basic beverages”, which include filtered still and sparkling water, non-pressed juices, sodas, teas and drip coffee.
The food offering is particularly strong given the ship has more than 20 different places to eat including Razzle Dazzle, a vegetarian restaurant; Gunbae, a Korean BBQ; Pink Agave, an upscale Mexican; and Extra Virgin, an Italian restaurant. There is no main dining room or buffet, although “The Galley” is a food option with numerous made-to-order food stations within one space.
All alcohol is chargeable.
The ship comes with a number of unique offerings, including Squid Ink, a tattoo parlour; and retail options that stock brands making a positive impact – such as sunglasses made of up-cycled ocean plastic. The ship is also plastic and tree free.
Group exercise classes are included while the ship also has a vast gym – including The Athletic Club, above.
Entertainment is designed to be immersive. There are specially designed shows in The Red Room, a transformational entertainment space. Beyond that, drag queens and resident artists roam the ship.
However, there was concern regarding some of the features on board, including the size of cabins (particularly bathrooms) and the swimming pool. All non-suite cabins have a bed that is turned into a sofa during the day.
Feedback from agents was that the ship would be perfect for guests who typically enjoy stays in the likes of Ibiza or Las Vegas.