Scarlet Lady
Scarlet Lady / Virgin Voyages
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Aquatic Club
Aquatic Club / Virgin Voyages
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Well-Being Pool
Well-Being Pool / Virgin Voyages
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Insider Cabin
Insider Cabin / Virgin Voyages
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Sea View Cabin
Sea View Cabin / Virgin Voyages
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Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady
Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

As Scarlet Lady, the innovative new cruise ship by Virgin Voyages, was headed across the pond in early March on its virgin transatlantic voyage after its christening in England, the global pandemic that would go on to define 2020 forced the cancellation of the 2,770-passenger ship’s inaugural season in the Caribbean—for an unexpected 14 months. Now set to begin sailing four- and five-day itineraries to the Caribbean and Mexico’s Riviera Maya from Miami in May 2021, Scarlet Lady continues to build anticipation just like a rock band teasing a long-awaited studio album. Exactly what the vibe will be once guests get back onboard and begin soaking up the velvet-roped “Rockstar” treatment remains to be seen, but shuffleboard and bridge definitely won’t be on the daily activities menu.

What We Love

The Creativity Onboard: Virgin Voyages founder Richard Branson—the British music/lifestyle/travel magnate who began his career with Virgin Records in 1972, took to the skies with Virgin Atlantic in 1984 and plans to venture into space with Virgin Galactic sometime in 2021—has never shied away from original concepts. So it’s hardly a surprise that Scarlet Lady’s music venue is called The Red Room and its karaoke bar is called The Groupie. There’s a record store (of course) named Voyage Vinyl and 20 novel restaurants, including Razzle Dazzle (for veggie-forward dining), The Test Kitchen (for experimental menus) and Gunbae (for Korean barbecue). And all cabins and suites with a balcony have a red hammock (red is Virgin’s signature color) rather than a chaise.

The Adults-Only Policy: When adults let loose on vacation and end up behaving like unfiltered tweens or teens, it’s best not to have actual adolescents nearby. All Virgin Voyages ships—a total of four are planned at the moment—will require passengers to be at least 18 years old.

The Innovative Stateroom Design: Rockstar Quarters, Scarlet Lady’s poshest and priciest accommodations, were designed by British interior design guru Tom Dixon and feature not only record players and fully-stocked bars but also Peek-a-Boo showers in the bathrooms and Peek-a-View outdoor showers on the terraces. Even the most basic cabins are designed with novel bed configurations for up to four friends to share.

Best Known For

Shaking Things Up in the Cruise Industry: From its adults-only format to its 20 dining concepts and novel cabin design, Scarlet Lady is unlike any cruise ship on the ocean today—a megayacht designed for wannabe rockers and music fans who aspire to the luxury and glamour of nights spent basking in the limelight. The experience might not be for everyone, but Virgin Voyages is targeting a market that has yet to fully embrace traditional cruising: the cool kids. 

Having a Tattoo Studio Onboard: Fancy a lasting memento of your time aboard Scarlet Lady? Don’t settle for a t-shirt when you can add to the sleeve of tattoos on your arm or expose your skin for a more discreet souvenir at Squid Ink, the first-ever tattoo studio at sea.

Who It's Best For

Short-Attention-Span Cruisers: The four- and five-day Caribbean itineraries that make up the bulk of Scarlet Lady’s sailings are ideal for testing the waters of cruising in a modern, high-energy environment at a cost that’s well within reach of young adults in their twenties and early thirties. Fares on most cruises start around $650 per person.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

The Passenger Mix Could Be Interesting: Yes, Millennials are Scarlet Lady’s target market, but we wouldn’t be surprised if aging hipster Boomers who can easily afford the Rockstar Quarters—like Branson himself, who was born in 1950—want to get in on the fun. No matter the demographics, this ship seems positioned to inspire late nights and countless hangovers.

Donna Heiderstadt
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger