The Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship is a completely novel experience. Take all preconceptions about cruises and leave them on dry land. With a relaxed dress code, flexible boarding and unboarding times and a huge array of high-end bars and restaurants, Virgin Voyages are revolutionising the cruise industry.
This new cruise line will be sailing from Miami and San Juan to a variety of destinations, including the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
Virgin Scarlet Lady Cruise Ship
This is the first ship from Virgin Voyages and she has been designed with fun and relaxation in mind. An adults only experience, the Scarlet Lady has taken a totally new approach to cruising.
There is no specific dress code, and the cruise fares include free WiFi and all gratuities. Restaurant dining and essential drinks such as water and non-pressed juices are also complimentary. With a whole host of entertainment and group fitness classes thrown in, the Scarlet Lady all-inclusive cruises are great value.
Scarlet Lady First Impressions
We were lucky to go on a Scarlet Lady maiden voyage from Portsmouth in the United Kingdom as part of their Summer Soiree series. Our Long Weekender cruise was a three night trip, without any port excursions as these weren’t originally permitted when the itinerary was planned.
All health precautions have been taken on this cruise and you can relax and enjoy the experience. After testing negative, we were welcomed on board by a cheerful group of First Mates, as the crew members are called.
We were handed our smart technology bands made from recycled plastic, which are activated by swiping with your wrist. Single-use plastics have been banned on board.
The Band gives you hands free access to your cabin and enables you to pay for drinks and make other on board purchases. If you’re feeling flush, you can even Shake for Champagne with one!
Scarlet Lady Cabins
On this new cruise liner, technology has been cleverly incorporated into the design. Mood lighting is controlled by the in-room tablet, which has various options including a “Get it On” mode ;-).
Each cabin has a good-sized rainshower, a 43″+ 4K flat-screen HDTV with Bluetooth connectivity, an in-room safe which fits a 17″ laptop, an in-room mini bar with ice bucket. There are also toiletries including body wash, hand wash, shampoo and conditioner as well as a hairdryer.
You’ll find at least 6 USB ports, 4 North American (110v) and 1 European (220v) power outlets.
Rockstar Suites have great sea views and large balconies. In the Rockstar quarters, there are electric guitars, a record player and a complimentary fully-stocked bar. Designed by Tom Dixon of the Design Research Studio, these suites have extra large bathrooms.
Rockstars also have access to Richard’s Rooftop, an exclusive sun deck for those staying in the suites with a bar and whirlpool bath. They also have priority booking on the Virgin Voyages app for restaurants and evening entertainment.
XL Sea Terraces have a larger wardrobe space than Sea Terrace cabins, as well as a separate toilet. On the terrace, there’s a table, chairs and a hammock.
Sea Terrace Cabins also have a balcony with two chairs and a small table, as well as a hammock. The shower rooms are quite small, although there’s a proper power shower and a good sized toilet.
On the tablet, there’s a clever option to request that your bed be transformed into a sofa during the daytime. We tried this on the second day and loved the extra floor space.
We recommend bringing some packing cubes to keep your belongings tidy in the cabin.
Sea View Cabins have a porthole but no balcony, while Insider rooms don’t have a window view. There are also some single cabins available to book.
Scarlet Lady Food and Drink
There isn’t one main dining room, but a series of 20 dining venues. You book most of them on the Virgin Voyages app, as well as some of the entertainment options.
If you don’t manage to get the time of your choice, head to travel services on board. They’ll be able to help you move bookings around or get on reserve lists. There are also quite a few places to eat where you don’t need to book, so fear not as you’ll always find somewhere.
Among the Scarlet Lady dining options that we tried, our favorites are:
The Wake – lovely sea views and tasty steak and fish dishes, with a raw bar and table-side drink cart service.
Gunbae – an interactive dining experience where you play a traditional Korean drinking game and cook your own food on a flameless grill.
The Dock Kitchen – appetizing small tapas dishes. One of the best places on board for a relaxing drink.
Razzle Dazzle – friendly, efficient service and fun food, with “naughty” or “nice” options.
We also tried Extra Virgin, an Italian restaurant which had slightly erratic service – one of our entrées was delivered to the table next to us who ate it. However the freshly prepared food was good.
For breakfast, we enjoyed avocado on toast in The Galley. They also have some moreish Scarlet Lady pastries, which go quite quickly so grab them when you see them. And if you’re on a health kick, they have salads in boxes that you can eat there or take back to your cabin.
Lick Me Till…Ice Cream is a popular ice cream booth with colorful red and blue cones and daily changing flavors.
Among the other eateries that we didn’t get a chance to try out are:
Pink Agave – a Mexican restaurant with an interior by famous British designer Tom Dixon.
The Social Club Diner – a casual American eatery.
Sun Club Cafe – for healthy Hawaiian poke bowls.
The Pizza Place – on Dock 7, this is open 24/7 in case you have a late night craving.
The Test Kitchen – a cooking school and restaurant with a laboratory ethos.
Scarlet Lady Entertainment
Life on board the Scarlet Lady is as chilled out or energetic as you wish it to be. One thing’s for sure, you won’t go thirsty with a whole host of bars and lounges including:
Sip – a stylish Champagne and cocktail bar.
The Dock – a beach club with fantastic sea views and lounging areas.
Draught Haus – offers eight beers on tap, together with bottled beer and shots on Dock 7.
Athletic Club – an outside bar with the largest daybed at sea and some cosy cabanas.
There are also some great entertainment options, such as:
The Red Room theatre – the first transformational multi-usage theater at sea, The Red Room hosts some fantastic shows such as Duel Reality.
The Manor – a nightclub and live music entertainment space. Don’t forget to get a photo at the Instagrammable club entrance!
The Groupie – bookable karaoke, gaming and movie rooms.
You can also borrow board games and play shuffleboard next to the Scarlet Lady indoor swings. Bring something red to wear for Scarlet Night, which takes place all over the ship.
Scarlet Lady Facilities
There are quite a few decks with sun loungers so you should always be able to find somewhere to sit and relax outside. You can also book cabanas with sea views for privacy.
The Aquatic Club features a dipping pool, together with a hot tub and two plunge pools. There is fitness apparatus and the Gym & Tonic bar next to this. You’ll also find two hot tubs at the other end of the ship.
The Runway running track at the very top of the ship is great for working out. There are two lanes so if you simply want to walk fast, you can do that too!
The Perch is a sundeck where sunrise and sunset yoga classes are held.
B-Complex are two well-equipped gyms with fantastic ocean views. There are lots of weights, spinning and running machines – the only thing we’d add is a PowerPlate.
Training Center at Athletic Club is an outdoor workout area with a boxing ring, gymnastic and strength equipment. There are also swings and seesaws next to it, for all round entertainment.
The basketball court stays open at night, so you can use it whenever you feel like it.
Redemption Spa is also popular with Scarlet Lady cruisers. The day passes were fully booked during our cruise, so we didn’t get a peek inside but there’s a mud room, salt room, cold plunge pools and a hydrotherapy pool.
The Tune Up is a mani-pedi and medi spa, while Squid Ink is the first tattoo parlour at sea. Other amenities include Dry Dock, a salon and beauty parlor and Stubble & Groom, a gentleman’s barber shop.
Currently, the Scarlet Lady is heading to New York and then Miami before traveling on to the Caribbean. All in all, this is a fantastic experience. If you’re keen to try all inclusive cruises, book on Scarlet Lady or Valiant Lady, the second ship from Virgin Voyages which sets sail in 2022.
This is our first time cruising and it hasn’t disappointed. From the rooftop running track to the amazing Duel Reality evening show, there’s so much to do.
It’s fantastic to be travelling again and meeting new people. We’ll just have to come back another time to experience it all!
Would you like to try an adults only all inclusive cruise?
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