Watch: Richard Branson gives tour of Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady

Dec 8, 2019

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional information about the Virgin Voyages cruise, as well as video footage. The original article was published on Dec. 5, 2019.

Virgin Voyages’ first ship has moved one step closer to its first sailing with passengers. Last month, Scarlet Lady, the cruise line’s first ship, successfully completed its sea trials on a sailing between Italy and France.

From Nov. 15-18, Scarlet Lady sailed from Genoa to Marseille before returning to its station in Genoa from Nov. 27-30. The return journey was the first round of sea trials, which it successfully completed.

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Sir Richard Branson joined the sea trials sailing, along with his family, several executives at Virgin Voyages including CEO Tom McAlpin and the CEO of fellow Virgin group member Virgin Atlantic, Shari Weiss.

Video released by Virgin shows Branson touring the gargantuan vessel.

“I think Virgin’s heritage is really well represented on this ship,” said Branson. “The name itself, the Scarlet Lady, was the name of Virgin Atlantic’s first two planes.”

The Virgin Group chairman toured the Manor, a large club aboard the Scarlet Lady. The Manor is named after Virgin’s first recording studio, which hosted rock legends like the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney.

Branson said he wanted to avoid the typical stereotype of a cruise ship when creating Virgin Voyages. “If we can create the type of cruise ship that our friends and ourselves would go on, then we’d go on it,” he said.

Branson painted the outline of the Virgin flag on the hull of the ship, where the cruise line’s logo will appear.

“Virgin Voyages can confirm the Scarlet Lady is smooth, stable and quiet, gliding through the water in various weather conditions,” Virgin Voyages said in a statement.

The sea trials completion is the next step Scarlet Lady had to complete, putting her one step closer to her maiden voyage on April 1, 2020. Scarlet Lady is set to sail from Miami to destinations in the Caribbean on four- and five-night itineraries.

In November, Virgin Voyages unveiled its second ship, the Valiant Lady. While Scarlet Lady will be dedicated to Caribbean sailings, Valiant Lady will initially sail seven-night Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona, Spain. Sailing on the Valiant Lady is set to begin in May 2021.

Virgin Voyages has branded itself as the cruise line for people who wouldn’t typically consider cruising. Each of its ships has a no-kids-allowed policy, and the ships are designed to cater to a younger, millennial audience. Passengers will be allowed to shake their device to get Champagne delivered on demand, stop by the onboard Squid Ink tattoo parlor or go to a drag-queen brunch.

Additional reporting by Brendan Dorsey.

All photos courtesy of Virgin Voyages.

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