Virgin Voyages’ first ship is one step closer to setting sail!
Scarlet Lady, the first vessel introduced by the adults-only, all-inclusive cruise line is preparing for its maiden voyage on April 1, 2020, after successfully completing sea trials in November, according to a press release from the company headed by billionaire Sir Richard Branson.
The Virgin founder, 69, boarded the ship in Marseille, France, alongside his wife Joan and children, Sam and Holly, for a first look at the one-of-a-kind ship.
“I think Virgin’s heritage is really well represented on this ship,” he says in the video above. “The name, the Scarlet Lady, was the name of one of Virgin Atlantic’s first two planes. The Manor, which is a wonderful club on board the ship, is named after our first recording studio,” Branson explained.
After building businesses as varied as a record label and a futuristic train to Disney World, Branson broke down what inspired him to get into the cruising business.
“The stereotype of the cruise ship is not something I particularly want to go on, so we thought if we can create the kind of cruise ship that ourselves and our friends would want to go on, then we’d go on it,” he explained. “That, I think, is what the wonderful team at Virgin has done, they’ve created magic every corner you turn on the cruise ship. It’s literally magical, and I think it’ll be incredibly well received by people who’ve loved what Virgin’s done in the past.”
While on board, Branson painted the outline of the Virgin flag on the hull of the ship, marking where the Virgin Voyages logo will be featured.
He added: “Virgin likes to surprise. We’ve gone into quite a few different sectors in my lifetime, and I think we’ve surprised people and changed those industries for the better. I’m absolutely convinced we can do the same in the voyages business.”
“We’re thrilled to have completed such a significant milestone with our sea trials and have our amazing crew to thank for their passion and tenacity in this achievement. We’re one step closer to getting our Sailors on the Scarlet Lady and are grateful for all that have chosen to join us on this adventure,” said Tom McAlpin, CEO of Virgin Voyages in a press release.
The ship’s sailed from Genoa, Italy, to Marseille from Nov. 15-18 and then back, from from Nov. 27-30.
Scarlet Lady’s inaugural four-night sailing, for guests 18 and older, will travel from Miami to Key West, Florida, and Virgin’s private Bimini Beach Club in the Bahamas. Sailings begin at $1,300 per stateroom.
In addition to the no-kids-allowed policy, a few other standout features set Virgin Voyages apart.
Instead of offering buffet-style dining, like most ships, Scarlet Lady will feature more than 20 dining options for guests, all included in the price of their cruise. The ship also doesn’t force guests to wear formal wear, and won’t have assigned seating or dining times.
The cruise line also has a “no-tipping” policy, including gratuity in the overall price, to avoid unexpected expenses for guests.
Some other adult-friendly amenities on Scarlet Lady will include a tattoo parlor, a mani/pedi studio, a world-class spa, a nightclub, an athletic center, and a blow-dry bar.
The brand also announced that a second ship, the “Valiant Lady,” will debut in May 2021.
That ship will sail three itineraries out of Barcelona, making stops in France, Italy, and Spain along the Mediterranean coast.
Each of the planned seven-night itineraries will board in Barcelona, just steps from Las Ramblas, and feature an included overnight in Ibiza before taking off on their respective journeys.
“We are thrilled to unveil the name of our second ship — Valiant Lady — and to deliver on our commitment to offer travelers a sea change in how they can experience cruising in this fantastic part of the world,” said McAlpin in a press release. “Our sailors will fall in love with the places we go and the moments and memories they will be able to create on our gorgeous ship.”
Though prices for the Valiant Lady sailings have not yet been announced, bookings for the three featured itineraries will open on December 19, 2019.