Guide to Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady

Ditch bingo and embrace Richard Branson's idea of a good time on Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady ship.
Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein 
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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Virgin Voyages cruise line debuted its first ship, Scarlet Lady, in 2020. Founded by British entrepreneur and adventurer Richard Branson, this is not your typical cruise. To start, you must be at least 18 years old to sail on Virgin Voyages. And with plenty of restaurants, a food hall, a tattoo parlor and blush-inducing shows, Scarlet Lady has plenty to offer.

Following Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages added two other "lady ships" to its fleet — Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady. Here’s what you need to know when sailing aboard Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady.

Scarlet Lady itinerary

Scarlet Lady really gets around. With a home port in Miami, the energy-efficient ship typically sails Caribbean itineraries, calling on ports in Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and more.

The cruise line also has a private beach club in Bimini, with swimming pools, restaurants, a beach area and activities. All Virgin Voyages cruises with Caribbean itineraries make a stop here.

Seasonally, the ship makes a trans-Atlantic crossing, sailing around the Mediterranean and visiting several ports in the United Kingdom.

Scarlet Lady ship tour

These enormous ships are designed for adult vacations, providing plentiful recreation and activity options for every type of traveler. Scarlet Lady has 17 decks and capacity for around 2,800 passengers in its 1,400 cabins.

Cabins demonstrate Virgin's trademark "cool" design, with mood lighting, minimalist furniture, a slightly nautical twist in the decor, and distinct red hammocks on the balconies.

The majority of cabins have balconies, which gives this ship an edge when courting travelers. The premium cabins are the RockStar and Mega RockStar Quarters, which come in various configurations and designs.

The most glamorous suites have whirlpools on the terrace, separate dining and living areas, and larger bathrooms — some even have an outdoor shower. All suites boast a record player. Even the stateroom attendants bear a unique title: Rock Star Coordinators.

Booking a premium cabin and suite gives guests access to Richard’s Rooftop, an alfresco lounge and patio with sitting areas, an open bar, whirlpools and live entertainment. Other perks include airport transfers, priority disembarkation and boarding in ports, access to the spa’s thermal suite, free laundry and clothes pressing, and comped minibars.

Other cabin types include those with bunk beds (ideal for friends traveling together) and solo cabins.

When out and about, there are plenty of shopping opportunities, including the chance to get inked at the onboard tattoo parlor (the first of its kind on a cruise ship).

As you meander the ship, you’ll discover everything from basketball courts, a boxing ring and gym equipment to a spa with a thermal area and relaxation nets that dangle over the sea.

Private deck cabanas at Mediterranean eatery The Dock feature day beds that look out toward the ocean, and ample lounge chairs ring the party-centric pool, where staffers circle with drinks.

In addition to a menu of spa services, there are also saunas, steam rooms, a salt room, a mud room, a beauty salon and plunge pools. Once the sun sets, a DJ sets up shop to create a party atmosphere in the same space.

One quick shake of your mobile device when using the onboard app summons an attendant with Champagne.

Scarlet Lady dining

Instead of one main dining room, there are individual restaurants and a food hall with dining options at all hours.

In the food hall, there are also takeaway bento boxes with snacks like sushi, fresh fruit, salads and sandwiches. Other options include a burger bar, a taco shack, a sushi station and a ramen shop. It’s all included in the cruise price, and everything is made fresh to order.

Among other dining options on the ship are a Korean barbecue eatery, a steak and seafood cafe, molecular fusion cuisine where dishes are served in opulent style with a scientific twist (think test tubes and beakers for some dishes), Italian, Mexican, a pizza bar and an all-vegan/vegetarian option.

There are several bars on board, including a tap room called the Draught Haus, which offers an array of beers on tap and by the bottle. Among the options in the Draught Haus and elsewhere on the ship is Virgin’s own bespoke beer, an English Pale Ale with a hint of red, brewed by Miami’s Wynwood Brewing Company.

Made-to-order barista coffee from Intelligentsia is available, and there's a cold-pressed juice bar for those looking for a healthy refreshment.

Scarlet Lady bars, nightlife and shows

For entertainment, passengers can head to The Manor, a multi-bar nightclub with a '70s punk vibe, which features a rotating line-up of comedy acts.

The party atmosphere lasts late into the night. As you wander the ship, keep an eye out for “Happenings,” the unscheduled improv acts and performances that the staff do to spice up things when you least expect it.

Other destinations for activities include a karaoke room, a casino, a private gaming area, a poker room, a cinema and a record store. The occasional fashion show also takes place on board.

One thing that Scarlet Lady does not offer is the typical stage show with singers and dancers performing to a prerecorded soundtrack. The onboard entertainers do, however, sing and dance by the pool, in the nightclub and on the stage.

There are no Broadway-style shows, either. Instead, look for solo performers in various bars and by the pool. The space is carefully curated so that no matter where you are, there is something to enliven the atmosphere (whether through art, design, music, or simply the view).

The bottom line

Sailing with Virgin Voyages is not your standard cruise experience. While the adult-themed onboard vibe is playful, this is not the jam-packed ship with waterslides and bingo cards some might imagine.

Step aboard with an open mind and some knowledge of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group brand track record, and you’ll be sure to enjoy a different type of cruise vacation.

(Top photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

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