Scarlet Lady Review – What Is The Ship Really Like?
We had the pleasure of boarding the Scarlet Lady for an exclusive sneak peek before the maiden voyage. This is our review of the ship, the cabins and suites, entertainment, restaurants, and overall atmosphere.
From the outside, this 17-deck-high ship is truly one of a kind. The sleek gunmetal grey exterior, red-trimmed lifeboats, vibrant red hammocks, and smoked glass make the ship aesthetically pleasing from the outside. No other cruise ship looks like the Scarlet Lady.
Size-wise, the 2,770-passenger ship is comparable to the new Celebrity Apex ship from Celebrity Cruises. It is 10 times bigger than your average small luxury ship, but half the size of a typical Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Essentially this meant that from the outside, the Scarlet Lady has all of the grandeur of a big cruise ship, but on the inside, we never felt overwhelmed. Inside, the designers have been able to create the feeling of being a boutique hotel on water, which is a testament to their skill.
Nearly everything on the ship has been designed to an incredibly high spec. Lots of little details have been added to make the ship stand out. From the neon catchphrases on the walls to Instagrammable entryways ringed with glass bulbs, to iridescent lifts with digital screens, those with an appreciation for attention to detail in design will undoubtedly be impressed. The only downsides would be the flooring in some of the public spaces such as High Street (shopping), and the Roundabout atrium on deck 7, which doesn’t quite match the quality of the decor elsewhere.
The food on the Scarlet Lady was extremely varied. Over the course of our time on the ship, we were able to try food from 7 of the 20+ eateries onboard. This included Korean fried chicken at Gunbae, pork and pineapple tacos from the taco shack in The Galley, and coconut milk fairy toast (with rainbow sprinkles) at Razzle Dazzle.
Razzle Dazzle is set to be one of the most popular restaurants on the Scarlet Lady. The restaurant delivers plant-based vegetarian and vegan dishes with a twist. It will be one of, if not the only vegetarian restaurant at sea. This matters, because, a restaurant dedicated to vegetarian and vegan food will provide guests with an entirely different experience to a restaurant that just happens to offer a few vegetarian, or vegan options. Not only are the dishes at Razzle Dazzle meat and fish free, but they’re also fun and creative. This is how food should be! Some of the dishes on the menu at the time of writing included – probiotic hash with savoy cabbage kimchi, black trumpet mushroom frittata with goats cheese, and whole roasted heirloom cauliflower with vadouvan curry sauce and pistachios.
However, there are also upmarket options on board too. The Wake which is situated at the aft of the ship provides a dramatic view of the ship’s wake while serving a theatrical take on steak and seafood in an art deco-inspired setting. Whilst The Test Kitchen offers sailors innovative and avant-garde cuisine based on a minimal menu concept that will leave sailors unsure what to expect next!
Throughout our time onboard, the alcoholic drinks were free-flowing! However, for the actual sailing only basic beverages e.g. tea, coffee, water, and soft drinks are included as part of the cruise fare. There are no drink packages available onboard, but this should not deter potential sailors away from experiencing a voyage with Virgin.
If you do not drink at all, or only drink occasionally there will be no issues buying the odd drink here and there because the prices are very reasonable. The drinks on the Scarlet Lady cost less than most other cruise ships. Beers are around $5 each (tip included). Basic cocktails and glasses of wine are below $10 each (tip included). This means that realistically you would spend around $100 each on a 4-night sailing. If you do wish to book a traditional cruise ship ‘drinks package’, one alternative could be the $300 prepaid bar tab which can be purchased prior to boarding. We can book this for you when booking your voyage, or it can be booked at a later date.
All of the bars on the ship were fantastic – each with a unique vibe and personality. Our favourite bar on the Scarlet Lady was the champagne lounge and caviar bar called Sip. We found Sip to be the perfect place to unwind on an evening before enjoying the live entertainment onboard.
Cabins and suites
The cabins are one of the most unique parts of the Scarlet Lady. Aside from the Social Insider, Solo Insider, and Solo Sea View, all other cabins include a Seabed. By day the Seabed can be configured as a sofa for chill-time, and relaxation. But by night, the cabin crew can turn it into either a double bed or two twin beds. When the Seabed is configured as two twin beds you and your travel companion can sleep head to head, feet to feet, or head to feet, due to the L shape of the Seabed. For some, this could be an issue, but we imagine that if you would be willing to share a cabin with someone you won’t mind getting up close and personal!
In addition to visiting a Sea Terrace Cabin on deck 14, we also visited a Rockstar Brilliant Suite, and a Mega Rockstar Massive Suite on deck 15. As you would expect, the suites are bigger, and more luxurious than the cabins. In the Rockstar Brilliant Suite, some of our favourite elements were the lavish marble bathroom with a Peek-a-Boo shower, and the vinyl player – undoubtedly a homage to Richard Branson’s beginnings.
The Mega Rockstar Massive Suite had a range of unique touches such as three electric guitars, a private music room, and a hot tub. All of these things help paint a picture of the type of sailor Virgin Voyages are seeking to appeal to.
Fitness and Wellbeing
The Scarlet Lady has her own B-Complex Gym with weights and machines galore so you leave could stronger than when you arrived, yoga to balance your chi, and cycling classes – there’s even an indoor running track. The Athletic Club has everything from sunrise yoga to outdoor boxing. The Runway which is the outdoor running track is truly unique and would be ideal in the warm weather climate of the Caribbean.
The luxury Redemption spa is the place for a variety of treatments from hot stone massage, mud therapies, saunas and seaweed wraps. This dazzling spa is inspired by an underwater cave. This hideaway has everything you need to rejuvenate your body, calm your mind and invigorate your soul.
Entertainment is a key focus area for Virgin Voyages. Music is part of Virgin’s DNA and as such, there are two fantastic entertainment venues onboard. The first is an art-deco style nightclub called The Manor, which can be accessed via the on-board casino. The second is The Red Room. The Red Room is the first-ever transformational, multi-form theatre at sea. Essentially, this means that depending on the type of show, or musical, the room can be configured differently. Whilst we were on board the Red Room was ‘in-the-round’. This meant that we were surrounding the performance acts on all sides.
From beginning to end, Virgin Voyages was one of the most entertaining experiences we have ever had on a cruise. DJs were spinning the decks non-stop and elevated the feel onboard as the evening progressed. The drag queens who floated through the ship were vivacious and larger than life. Whilst the hosts were memorable for all the right reasons and knowledgeable. Overall the atmosphere on board was lively and energetic. The ship clearly embodies the vision of the brand to create an experience at sea aimed at those who are young, or young at heart. If this sounds like you, you can book your Virgin Voyages sailing with Rich Vein Travel today!