The sell is traditional Sir Richard Branson. ‘Virgin cruises are for people today who loathe cruises’ is a person of the strains trotted out on board Scarlet Lady.
It could be a different way of declaring that the intention is to provide down the common age of these on board by a superior two or three a long time, even though the corporation says it is about attracting ‘the young at heart’.
Frankly, as the first journalist to board Scarlet Girl this week at Portsmouth, for a 4-night cruise around the Channel, I was sceptical. Can a 17-deck leviathan costing £500 million — which will ordinarily host all over 2,700 travellers — truly give an edgy, grownups-only knowledge?
Behemoth: Scarlet Girl, a 17-deck cruise ship costing £500 million, will typically host all-around 2,700 passengers
The cruise-liner, which is the very first of four Virgin Voyages ships, is intended for the ‘young at heart’
Jane described the decor in Scarlet Lady’s ‘comfortable’ cabins as ‘a mix of Ikea and 1970s Habitat’. Pictured is a bedroom in a ‘rock star’ suite
The adults-only ship is becoming promoted towards people ‘who dislike cruises’. Pictured is just one of the loos adjoining a suite
Yes and no. Monotonous buffets have been nudged apart by more than 20 dining places and bars, numerous curated by Michelin-starred cooks (at no added charge — all food, barring exotic extras this kind of as a dollop of caviar, is element of the offer).
A ‘festival-like line-up’ of entertainment usually means it’s farewell weary previous cabaret and hi aerial-beat circus and saucy sexology displays.
Wellness is large, with a boxing ring, basketball court docket, spin courses, ‘bungee yoga’ and a wrap-all over working keep track of. There’s even a tattoo parlour and file shop.
Wellness is big on the ship, with a boxing ring, basketball court, spin lessons, and an out of doors swimming pool (pictured)
The ‘rock star’ suites, pictured, aspect a turntable, a rider of only-pink jelly bears and a bevy of guitars on the wall
Jane wasn’t impressed by the shower in her cabin, feeling shortchanged just after she saw the ‘rock star’ suite model, pictured
The total expertise is managed through the Virgin Voyages app, which has to be set up in progress. It stored crashing and, when I came to ebook dining places and demonstrates, all the great stuff seemed to be bought out. I was not even on board and I was by now grumpy.
Fair ample banging on about the boutique experience, but Scarlet Woman, the initial of 4 Virgin liners, is a behemoth. Dwarfing the structures at Portsmouth, and even the Navy’s largest aircraft carrier, it looks like a large concrete car park with a bright purple boil on top.
But inside it’s a diverse story. There is a grand twist of a Hollywood staircase and glamour and glitz in the champagne and caviar bar. Turn a corner and it is Miami pop artwork spherical a different and you are walking by a tunnel of lights to a Studio 54-esque nightclub. It is playful and creative and I started off to heat to the ship.
‘We’ve been on more than 60 cruises and this is absolutely diverse,’ mentioned Julie, in her 60s, from North London. ‘It’s quirky.’
All the crew have been putting on masks, but in all probability only around 20 per cent of travellers. Not everybody felt the crowded nightclub and conditioning courses ended up smart, and some persons expressed disquiet at the enclosed incredibly hot areas of the spa.
When it will come to eating, there is so significantly alternative, states Jane, mostly served in American-design portions. Pictured is Razzle Dazzle Cafe
Facilities contain a tattoo parlour, a boxing ring, an aerial-fight circus and a number of shops (pictured)
Every restaurant aboard the Scarlet Girl has its have decor, lighting, tunes and mood. Pictured is The Wake restaurant
I was expecting fireworks in my cabin but, though comfy, it did not make waves — the decor was a mix of Ikea and 1970s Habitat. The hammock on the balcony was a nice contact, but the toilet was small.
Poking my nose into the ‘rock star’ suites, I felt a bit brief-adjusted. Wherever was my turntable and bevy of guitars on the wall? I wished a rider of only-purple jelly bears, and by heck, I truly preferred a shower I could get into with no obtaining to suck in my belly.
Or it’s possible I just necessary to get rid of a number of lbs. The conditioning facilities are extraordinary and you can get into most of them without the need of far too a lot trouble.
Buffets have been nudged aside by more than 20 eating places and bars on the Scarlet Girl. Pictured is On The Rocks bar
All food items, barring exotic extras these kinds of as caviar, is section of the deal. Pictured are diners at the Korean-themed Gunbae restaurant
The crew all have on uniforms, from brilliant purple customized dresses to relaxed Virgin T-shirts and slacks, or steel gray boilersuits.
Morning yoga was properly paced and appropriate for all stages of bendiness, but the star turn was the VHS exercise.
Held in the nightclub, we donned neon leg warmers, headbands and scrunchies for an 1980s-influenced danceathon. Beloved it.
High strength: The ship’s enjoyment has still left cabaret far driving. Rather, passengers can observe acrobatic dramas unfold
Scarlet Lady is managing ‘cruisecations’ (without stops) out of Portsmouth right until August 24 from £499. It will launch five-night Caribbean cruises from Miami on Oct 6 from £525. Selling prices consist of food stuff, tips, most smooth beverages, the the vast majority of amusement, team health classes and (extremely patchy) wifi (virginvoyages.com).
It’s a fantastic career there is work out out there due to the fact it’s nigh-on not possible not to around-indulge — there is so considerably alternative, largely served in American-type portions. Each and every cafe has its have decor, lighting, tunes and temper.
The 1st night I experimented with Take a look at Kitchen area. Its 6-program tasting menu appeared rather and came with theatrical thrusts (the trusty dome of steam), but the flavours didn’t truly sing. On the other hand, Excess Virgin, the Italian restaurant, was a revelation — some of the finest Italian food stuff I have eaten exterior Sicily.
Leisure is predominantly absolutely free. My jaw hung open up for significantly of the Romeo & Juliet-encouraged acrobatic drama Duel Actuality, in a combine of awe and terror that an individual may possibly die.
I missed the interactive sexologist exhibit, but a 70-a thing pair reported it was ‘quite something’, right before wandering off hand in hand.
The ‘young at heart’ line sounds like a good thought, not least mainly because the large bulk of friends have been partners between 40 and 70.
‘The exhibits are very good,’ stated one particular seasoned cruiser. ‘But some of it is a bit wacky for me. I had to hide the sex package in our cabin from my wife!’
He’s referring to the discreet black box in each cabin, referred to as Time To Play. It is a much cry from chocolates and towel artwork.
Branson likes to shoot for the stars and his first ship unquestionably is a novelty — but is it far too distinctive for seasoned cruisers, and not various adequate to attract a new era?