Long to come: Virgin Voyages ship arrives in US: Travel Weekly

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NEW YORK – It was a long time coming, but Virgin Voyages’ first ship, the Scarlet Lady, has arrived in New York City, where it will host members of the press, travel advisers and a music festival this week with headlining DJ Lazer.

Virgin founder Richard Branson was aboard the ship on Tuesday, walking the decks with Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin. The Scarlet Lady had operated in the UK this summer on domestic cruises open only to UK residents and is now heading to Miami on its first cruise from Florida on October 6.

Tom McAlpin, CEO of Virgin Voyages, and Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, at Razzle Dazzle restaurant. Photo credit: Johanna Jainchill

The Scarlet Lady was originally supposed to make this trip in March 2020, but the unfortunate timing of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the new ship had no passengers in its first 15 months of existence.

The Virgin Cruise product is unique – the ship has no cruise director, no buffet, and no main dining room. Among its signature spaces are a tattoo parlor and record store.

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The entrance to the Test Kitchen, where the menu lists the ingredients, but not how the dish is prepared. Photo credit: Johanna Jainchill

Maybe because Virgin was so much else before it was a cruise line – a record company, an airline, a hotel brand – it takes its nautical positioning very seriously.

Chris Stubbs, head of Virgin’s Sailor and Crew Experience (Virgin calls passengers “sailors”) said that in almost every space there is a view of the sea. His favorite restaurant is Dock House, which he called a “boat space” with a Mediterranean flair that matches the flavors of the food he serves.

The Loose Cannon Social Club is inspired by the seaside bars of the English town of Brighton and serves fun dishes like hot dogs and “indulgent kid’s treats,” Stubbs said. There are table games like foosball and an arcade room with retro video games that, on an adults-only ship, won’t be crowded with children.

When passengers board the ship in the roundabout, the roundabout is deliberately designed so that they can see the sea through the ship.

The line’s signature beer, served at Draft Haus, is called Stray the Course. Razzle Dazzle, his vegetarian restaurant, is named after the ship camouflage used during WWI and WWII to confuse the enemy as to which direction a ship was heading.

There are very few open spaces on the Scarlet Lady, an intentional design feature such that with 2,700 passengers on board, the midsize ship offers a sense of privacy in its premises. Stubbs said the bars and restaurants are more like what you would visit in a city rather than “massive dining rooms” on many cruise ships.

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Razzle Dazzle is a vegetarian restaurant. Photo credit: Johanna Jainchill

Many of the restaurants, all included in the price of the cruise, are unique. The Test Kitchen menu will tell you what the ingredients of the dish are, but now how it is prepared. Razzle Dazzle’s color scheme and design is “a sensory delight,” Stubbs said. While the menu is vegetarian, if passengers know who to ask, a secret menu might just contain a steak.

Gunbae may be the first Korean barbecue restaurant on a cruise ship, and Virgin said it’s the only one where passengers do their own table cooking. His Mexican restaurant, Pink Agave, has a mezcal library.

Virgin had given up on buffets long before Covid warned them. Instead, for a quick, casual meal, the Scarlet Lady offers the Galle, which is inspired by a dining hall and has stations serving burgers, tacos, and noodles. The Diner and Dash serves breakfast throughout the day. Every place in Galle cooks to order, Stubbs said.

“We don’t like wasted food,” he said. “And we love good food.”

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Owen, manager of the Voyage Vinyl record store on the Scarlet Lady. Photo credit: Johanna Jainchill

Record store a great success

A record store on a cruise ship might seem like a gimmick, but on the Scarlet Lady it makes sense, one that’s evident in the most prominent album, The Sex Pistols “https: //www.travelweekly. com / Cruise-Travel / “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.” This is the English punk rock band’s only studio album and the record Richard Branson credits to Virgin Records, store manager Owen said. discs.

“Without this album, there wouldn’t be a Virgin cruise ship,” he said.

Record sales in the Voyage Vinyl store have exceeded ship’s expectations, and Owen said record players are sold out in the UK and the store needs to restock its vinyl collection, which ran out during its sales. summer crossings.

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Diner & Dash serves breakfast throughout the day. Photo credit: Johanna Jainchill

Vinyl lovers might want to jump on the limited edition album Never Mind the Bollocks on display – there are only 1,000 copies, and the Scarlet Lady is the only place on earth to buy one, for $ 77. .

In the other highly publicized space on board, the Squid Ink tattoo parlor, this summer’s passengers mostly opted for personalized designs. Unsurprisingly, many have been inspired by the sea and nautical themes.

Many passengers left the Scarlet Lady with a permanent memory of their cruise: an anchor, mermaid or compass tattoo.


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