February 21, 2020
(5:43 a.m. EST) -- Scarlet Lady, the first of four new ships from Virgin Voyages, has made its debut in Dover, U.K.
The 2,770-passenger ship will be docked in Dover over the weekend welcoming media including Cruise Critic, trade partners and VIP guests -- including Sir Richard Branson -- before setting sail to Liverpool on Monday.
The Virgin Group founder, said: "I have dreamed of starting my own cruise line since I was in my 20s and I'm thrilled that moment has arrived. The Scarlet Lady is truly special and we’ve worked with some of the world's most sought-after designers, artists and architects to craft an extraordinary experience. The benefit of our five decades in business in so many industries is that we can offer a voyage like no other."
Virgin Voyages hopes Scarlet Lady will offer a decidedly rock star-style cruise experience -- only those 18 and older can sail -- with late night parties, Champagne on demand via a shake of your cell phone, a tattoo studio onboard and extensive spa facilities.
It also aims to break the mold in terms of traditional cruising, eschewing the word "cruise" for voyage; passengers for "sailors" and trade partners for "first mates".
In addition, the line is offering a more inclusive cruise fare, with all dining, group workout classes, basic beverages (soft drinks, coffee and water), gratuities and Wi-Fi included in the base cruise fare, regardless of cabin category.
Entertainment and shows on board feature gigs, DJ sets, drag artists and immersive theater.
The ship will also feature DJ sets from Mark Ronson, Diplo, MK and Sofi Tukker, both onboard and on land at the line's private spot on Bimini, The Bimini Beach Club.
Scarlet Lady was going to travel to New York for a showcase event in New York in mid-March. But coronavirus fears mean that the ship is going directly to Miami, where it will be christened on March 19 before beginning four- and five-night Caribbean itineraries.
Virgin Voyages second ship, "Valiant Lady" is currently under construction and will be delivered next year. The third and the fourth ships, still unnamed, will set sail respectively in 2022 and 2023.
• Follow us on social media over the weekend as we share pictures and our first impressions of Scarlet Lady.