The 2,700-passenger Scarlet Lady, which is only for passengers 18 and up, will begin sailing to the Caribbean from PortMiami in 2020. (Virgin Voyages)
Photo: Virgin Voyages/TNS
Photo: Virgin Voyages/TNS

Virgin names first cruise ship Scarlet Lady, bans straws

Virgin’s highly anticipated adults-only cruise ship has a name: the Scarlet Lady. 

The Plantation-based cruise line recently announced its first vessel’s name — an homage to sister company Virgin Atlantic’s earliest planes — and more details of the ship’s environmentally focused vision and public spaces, including an outdoor gym area.  

Virgin, like some other cruise lines, will aim to eliminate plastic straws and other single-use plastics used by guests. Bottled water, condiment packages, shopping bags, food packaging, stirrers and take-away coffee and tea cups will also get the ax.  

It also is focusing on opportunities for women in jobs that historically have been dominated by men.  

The line also is revealing some of the spaces for active travelers as part of the line’s “Vitamin Sea” directive, which focuses on health and well-being. The new details follow the May release of images of some public spaces, including lounging areas and a laboratory-inspired restaurant.  

Among new details: The ship will include a Crow’s Nest, a secluded sundeck with 360-degree views for sunrise and sunset yoga classes, and The Runway, a Virgin-red running track.  

Both areas will be connected to The Athletic Club, an “adult-play” area located at the top of the vessel whose centerpiece is a red-and-white semicircular lounger, the largest daybed at sea. The area will also include an outdoor training zone with a boxing ring and strength and gymnastics equipment reminiscent of 1920s New York sports clubs, Virgin said. There will be oversized gaming for adults, cabanas and a bar. The B-Complex gym will include strength, spin yoga and cardio equipment.  

For those worried the vessel would be all loungers and no pool, as initial renderings of the outdoor spaces indicated, Virgin has clarified that the ship will have a small “well-being pool,” which will set next to some Venice Beach-like equipment and fitness apparatus. In renderings, the pool sits under a circular opening in the deck above.  

The vessel will also have a spa, called Redemption, located on the fifth floor. It is inspired by an underwater cave, with a hydrotherapy pool, mud room, salt room, cold plunge pools, quartz beds, and spa treatments. At night, the spa will host spa parties in its thermal suite. Other additions include a stand-alone blow dry bar called the Dry Dock salon and a Stubble & Groom barbershop that includes a male pedicure spa.  

The 2,700-passenger Scarlet Lady, which is only for passengers 18 and up, will begin sailing to the Caribbean from PortMiami in 2020. A second ship is scheduled for delivery in 2021.  

Virgin also announced plans to launch the “Scarlet Squad” program, which will recruit support and mentor female crew members and grow their access to leadership roles in the marine, technical and hotel management sectors. Those positions historically have been dominated by men.  

“Across the maritime industry, we can do better in onboard recruiting and leadership representation for women,” said Tom McAlpin, president and CEO of Virgin Voyages in a release. “I want all future crew to know that Virgin Voyages will create an onboard environment that is fair, inclusive and where everyone has an opportunity to reach their full potential.”  

The program is particularly noteworthy given Virgin’s track record as a company that has used young attractive models at many of its announcements and publicity events. When Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson first announced that the Virgin ships would sail from PortMiami, he did so accompanied by nautically dressed models.  

More details of the program will be released at a later date, Virgin said.  

Virgin’s policy regarding single-use plastics is similar to one announced earlier this year by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which banned plastic straws on its three cruise lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Royal Caribbean Cruises brands — Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises — will ban the straws by 2019, and Carnival Corp.’s nine brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, don’t give out plastic straws anymore, except for frozen drinks. They’ve moved to a “request only” policy.

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