Virgin Voyages Is Committing to Music Theme With Vinyl Record Store and Karaoke Lounge
It looks like Virgin Voyages is going all-in with the music theming on its first ship.
The start-up line backed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group announced on Wednesday that its 2,770-passenger debut vessel, Scarlet Lady, will have its very own vinyl record store — an homage to Virgin Group’s early days as a record-selling business.
To be called Voyage Vinyl, the record shop on Scarlet Lady will feature listening stations where “sailors” (what the line calls its passengers) can sample music before buying. It’ll sell a mix of current and classic albums, plus limited-edition collections created by the line’s resident DJs. Music magazines and headphones will also be for sale alongside record players (for those of you who go on cruises to buy record players).
Virgin Voyages also revealed plans for a karaoke lounge on the ship with private, sound-proofed rooms where passengers can belt out their best Ariana Grande or Post Malone. It also said it was developing a “sonic identity” for the vessel’s public areas that goes way beyond the typical shipboard background music.
The karaoke lounge planned for Scarlet Lady will be called The Groupie and feature a very-pink-and-purple-infused color scheme and modernist design created by Roman Coppola. It’s being billed as a place for gaming and movie-watching, too, should you tire of belting out power ballads.
The latest reveals come on top of previously announced plans for music-themed “RockStar Suites” on Scarlet Lady that will come with gold-plated vinyl record players and classic records.
And the top DJs recruited by Virgin Voyages won't just curate mixes for the record shop. They'll also perform for the line's passengers. Grammy Award-winning DJ, songwriter and record producer Mark Ronson, for example, has signed on for four performances in 2020 during stopovers the ship will make at the Bahamian island of Bimini.
On Wednesday, Virgin Voyages added chart-topping artist, DJ, producer and remixer, MK (Marc Kinchen), and Grammy-nominated electronic music duo Sofi Tukker to the list of “resident DJ” performers making appearances during Scarlet Lady’s first year at sea.
Voyage Vinyl will also double as a performance spot for the ship’s resident DJs.
And Virgin Voyages said the so-called sonic identity it’s planning for the ship will have electronic music at its core, but also incorporate other genres. The line has signed WhiteLabel Creative, a group of music industry insiders, to develop signature sounds for spaces that blend electronically-programmed music dating as far back as the disco era with more traditional “EDM” sounds.
Under development for more than five years, Virgin Voyages is promising to shake things up in the cruise world with ships that offer a hipper, more-inclusive and distinctly younger vibe than what's available from existing lines (though not too young; Virgin's ships promise to be adults-only).
The not-your-father’s-cruise-ship sensibility will include such previously announced features as the first tattoo parlor at sea and drag-queen brunches. There also will be plenty of nontraditional entertainment including the previously mentioned DJ sets, interactive dance parties, “micro-plays” and games of dodgeball that don't start until after midnight.
The Broadway-style shows that are a mainstay of many cruise brands have been banned.
Currently under construction at a shipyard in Italy, Scarlet Lady is just the first of four vessels that Virgin Voyages has on order. After debuting on April 1, 2020, it’ll sail four- and five-night trips out of Miami to the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico and Dominican Republic. Fares will start at $750 per person for a four-night voyage, not including taxes and fees.