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Scarlet Lady Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
557 reviews
Scarlet Lady (Photo: Virgin Voyages)
Gunbae Korean BBQ Restaurant on Scarlet Lady
Virgin Voyages refreshed cabin (Photo/Virgin Voyages)
See all photos
Editor Rating
4.5
Very Good
Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic U.K. Managing Editor

With Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages has ripped up the rule book with a cruise ship experience that caters for a demographic that may have never thought of cruising as a vacation option.

The ship made its debut on the world stage in February 2020, but it was not until August 2021 that Virgin's Scarlet Lady set out on its inaugural cruise, starting with a series of short sailings to nowhere in the U.K. before moving to Miami in fall 2021. It's safe to say that the line's first adults-only ship (more are on their way) divides opinion. You want on trend food, late night sexy shows and a tattoo? Scarlet Lady could be for you. You want set dining times, formal nights and revue-style entertainment? Perhaps look elsewhere.

But before you roll your eyes, it's not just about clever word play and simply renaming traditional cruise venues -- Virgin has genuinely tried to do something different.

The Scarlet Lady Cruise Ship Offers a Hip Adult-Only Experience

From the moment you board, the ship sets the mood. You walk into a glass-encased entrance which refracts light in a stream of rainbow colors, leading into what Virgin calls "the roundabout." There's a DJ spinning vinyl records at great volume, people are sitting around sipping cocktails, tattooed baristas hurry back and forth -- it's designed to be like a hip hotel lobby, not your typical cruise ship atrium.

And that's the aesthetic Virgin is trying to create. Scarlet Lady is more similar to a W Hotel than it is to a cruise ship, from the mood lighting in the corridors and the design of the cabins to the main reception and the dining venues. It manages to deftly combine this with nautical touches and a nod to tradition, however. The promenade deck wraps right around the ship (rare in modern vessels), for example, but it's not an empty space with a few spots for deck chairs -- it's got seating, bars and restaurants, creating a buzzing atmosphere on a warm Caribbean night.

Scarlet Lady’s deck plans are well laid out, and keep fun and rest separate, so that passengers can get a good night’s sleep after hitting the lively bars and music venues onboard. Only two decks have a mix of cabins and entertainment – namely decks 5 and 15, which are also the only ones that could be subject to more noise coming from above: Deck 5 is right below the Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady’s casino and the atrium; deck 15 is also home to the pool, the gym, and some restaurants.

With a maximum capacity of 2,770 passengers, Scarlet Lady could be a loud, hectic ship, but Virgin Voyages has gone to great lengths to make sure noise is kept at bay, with soundproofing and vibration-reducing systems in cabins and public areas.

Virgin Voyages Has Put a Lot of Thought into Scarlet Lady Activities, Cabins and Restaurants 

The Virgin way is not just show. Special attention has been given to the food, which is exceptional. There is no main dining room, and each restaurant gets its own galley, executive chef and team, meaning both the food and the service is outstanding. We were genuinely impressed by the quality and the variety, from molecular gastronomy Test Kitchen (our favorite) to Korean BBQ Gunbae and vegetarian Razzle Dazzle and The Galley, essentially a food hall at sea.

We were blown away by the entertainment -- a show called Duel Reality, which is a riff on Romeo & Juliet/West Side Story, with some of the most amazing -- in fact, the most amazing -- acrobatics we have ever seen. And it's immersive if you are in the front row.

An impressive 86 percent of Scarlet Lady cruise ship’s cabins (or Sea Terraces) have a balcony, which are deeper and wider than on many other ships -- and each has a hammock, which is a really lovely touch. The cabins' design, with the walls at a slight angle, makes them less cookie-cutter than your traditional cruise ship, though it does mean shower rooms are smaller (yet they still have modern glass doors).

Staff are cheery (wait for your first “Ahoy”) and empowered – sleeves rolled up, tattoos on display, piercings and stylish haircuts de rigeur. There’s a vibe onboard this ship like no other, almost like you are a specially invited guest. That’s a “rockstar” in Virgin parlance, and really that’s how the ship and the crew make you feel.

Drinks on Virgin Voyages

One of the most common questions among those planning a cruise is, Are drinks included? Virgin Voyages has gone the extra mile with its inclusions and offers a range of free basic beverages that include branded sodas to all passengers. This is a notch above the standard water-tea-coffee offerings in most other lines.

Alcoholic drinks are to be purchased separately and drink and beverage packages are not offered. Virgin Voyages drink costs are comparable to other cruise lines, however, and the prices include tips, so there are no surprises when settling the bill.

Scarlet Lady onboard credit plans offer upwards of $150 per cabin, depending on cabin type and travel dates.

Health & Safety on Scarlet Lady

Virgin is mandating that only fully vaccinated passengers are allowed to sail and will be rapid testing passengers prior to embarkation. All crew are vaccinated and take tests every two weeks (note crew may wear masks).

Before Boarding
· Double vaccinated two weeks out from sail date
· Proof of double vaccination with a CDC-issued card
· Completed health check form
· Free antigen test before boarding

Onboard
· Sanitizing stations
· Touchless faucets
· Sanitization signage
· Enhanced sanitation protocols and adapted AtmosAir technologies that kill 99.9 percent of bacteria in the air.
· Social distancing signage
· Decreased capacity (on initial sailings)
· Wearable technology
· No buffets
· Contactless room service delivery
· Virtual queuing technology
· Mask wearing dependent on local government guidance (encouraged but not enforced)

Off the ship
· As on the ship -- i.e. physical distancing
· Bubbles may be required, depending on destination

About

Passengers : 2,750
Crew : 1,160
Passenger to Crew : 2.37:1
Launched : 2020
Shore Excursions : 109

Sails To

Sails From

Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

Costs Included With Your Cruise Fare:

· All dining venues
· Gratuities (though not additional spa tips)
· Soft beverages, including branded sodas
· All theater shows
· Most daily activities unless noted below
· Use of the gym, but not most classes
· Wi-Fi

Not included with your cruise fare:

Costs Not Included With Your Cruise Fare:

· Spa treatments and tips
· All drinks beyond water, tea (including iced tea), coffee, select juices and branded sodas.
· Shore excursions
· Photos and artwork

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Find a Scarlet Lady Cruise from $455

More about Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady

Where does Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady sail from?

Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady departs from Miami

Where does Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady sail to?

Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruises to Miami, Bimini, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Key West, and Roatan

How much does it cost to go on Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady?

Cruises on Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady start from $455 per person.
Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady Cruiser Reviews

Virgin Voyage Scarlet Lady An Awesome, Accommodating and Relaxing Cruise

The Scarlet Lady stands out among other cruise lines. We had a great time and will be back again!!!Read More
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Divathetraveler

2-5 Cruises

Age 40s

The best Cruise Ever,

to write tuis review because The Scarlet Lady was most wonderful experience , has been the most fun, relaxing, clean, confortable, beautiful, amazing, peaceful I have had on cruise ships, the shows superRead More
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cjLuna

2-5 Cruises

Age 50s

Virgin Raises The Bar

Once we boarded The Scarlet Lady we knew we were in for a unique and pleasurable cruise experience. The cabin was stylish, sheik and comfortable.Read More
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After7

2-5 Cruises

Age 40s

Not your usual cruise on the Seven Seas

the glorious food, and wonderful crew, the superb knowledgeable bartenders, or the way Scarlet Lady glides through the sea with barely a ripple, the one reason that makes Scarlet Lady the premier shipRead More
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seersucker47

10+ Cruises

Age 70s

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