On Saturday 9th February 2019, I was invited to the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy to attend the float out ceremony for Virgin Voyages new ship “Scarlet Lady”.
Scarlet Lady will be the first of four ships currently on order with Fincantieri. She has a capacity of 2750 is set to break away from the original concept of cruising. She will be based in Miami from early 2020 with voyages of 4 & 5 nights taking in Havana for an overnight call, Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic or Costa Maya in Mexico.
Having visited the shipyard in July for the reveal of her name it is hard to believe that what was then the front half of the ship is now a complete vessel, sat towering over the shipyard waiting for the dock to be flooded and float for the first time.
On arrival at a cold Fincantieri shipyard, we were provided with a traditional Italian seafood lunch hosted by Tom McAlpin president of Virgin Voyages in a small marquee by the side of Scarlet Lady. After lunch we were provided with an exclusive tour by Tom and Henry Veringa, Henry works for Fincantieri and is in charge of ensuring that every detail of Scarlet Lady is to the highest quality.
The tour started at the very top and aft of the ship (deck 16) at The Athletic Club, this area onboard Scarlet Lady is where you can enjoy the sun on the day beds and largest catamaran net at sea. The net is large enough to fit 40 people and sits over the aft of the ship with views down to the dock area at the after of the ship and the wake.
Also in this area will be the adult playground an area with swinging seats and tables for you to enjoy and relax with friends over a drink or two and an outdoor gym including a boxing ring on the port side. If you are looking for a more private section head to the starboard side and enjoy one of the beach hut cabanas.
From here we walked to the front of the ship past the running track around the funnel which displays the iconic Virgin logo. The running track will be painted red and illuminated to provide a halo for the ship from above.
At the forward of the ship will be Richards Rooftop, this area is exclusive to suite guests only and is a VIP sun terrace and bar area, it is designed in a horseshoe shape around the whole front area of Scarlet Lady and once finished will look stunning.
We then went down a deck (deck 15) into the Massive Suite, there are only two of these on the ship and have one of the largest veranda areas that I have seen on a ship. The position of these suites are directly on top of the ship’s bridge and give you the commanding view of the ocean. The veranda will have a party table, a dining table with stairs creating a catwalk to allow you to release your inner diva and dance away in the sunsets.
After this we were told to turn off all photo and video equipment as we were given a tour of the ship’s bridge, they wanted to keep the design and technical aspects of the bridge a secret but I can tell you it was like the starship enterprise. The bridge offered an amazing view of the hills of Genoa to the front and the whole length of the ship out to the sea to the back.
We walked back along deck 14 to see on the Sea Terrace cabins, the terrace cabins all feature the patent pending Sea Bed a bed which transforms from a seating during the day to a sleeping area at night.
Virgin Voyages do not have the original port and starboard side of the ship, they have tried to copy the airline of having letters for window seats on one side of the plane and the other. On Scarlet Lady, the port side will be referred to as A and the starboard side will be referrred to as Z. Also on standard ships you have odd and even numbers depending on port or starboard, not on Scarlet Lady she has the same cabin numbers on each side.
Down to deck 7 and to the aft of the ship to The Dock the alfresco dining area with an oversized terrace offering views of the wake on the horizon and looking up at the athletic club hanging over. Looking up at the back of the ship you also get to see the “Sweet Aft Suites” in the middle and the “Cheeky Corner Suite” to the side of those. The way that the ship has been built is the higher the suite the larger the terrace unlike most ships where you would find the larger terrace at the lower part of the ship.
We then proceeded to look at the wake restaurant this restuarant has been fitted with oversized windows facing the wake of the ship, another part of the intuative design of the Scarlet Lady is she has been fitted with lighting to highlight the wake whilst you are enjoying your evening meal. The restaurant will also have a grand staircase allowing access to the restaurant from the deck above. The ship has an unprecidented number of bars with every restaurant having a bar, Virgin believe that it will give you a different bar/restaurant each evening rather than the seperate bar and restaurant areas, limiting the choices available.
Towards the forward of the ship is the Manor nightclub this two tier nightclub is set to be the hub of the entertainment onboard. The bar area for the Manor will feature a peek a view window which will give guests a view of the changing area for the shows. More details on the entertainment provider for Scarlet Lady will be announced shortly.
We concluded our exclusive tour with a stop at Razzle Dazzle the restaurant was designed by Concrete designers of Amsterdam. We were told a story of how Concrete came up with an image board for a restaurant called “spring” which had elements of the trees and wooded areas, they were however, not happy to present the design to Virgin and said they felt the restaurant could be made to be more prominent. The idea of Razzle Dazzle came to light through the camoflauge used on warships in World War I and will become a vegitarian restaurant with meat as a side option.
The whole event was an experience I will never forget, having worked in the cruise industry for over 14 years this experience shared with Virgin of seeing their ship come to life in the shipyard is a first for me and one which I have really enjoyed.
Virgin Voyages will officially launch and be on sale from the 14th February 2019 with a grand event hosted by Sir Richard Branson in New York.
For more information on Virgin Voyages, please visit our website www.sovereigncruise.co.uk where you will find all of the itineraries and more imagery of this stunning ship. If you would like to recieve a personalised quotation on one of their voyages please call our experience cruise specialist team on 03331 224466.