On board Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady

Richard Branson smiling on the back deck of Scarlet Lady - Virgin Voyages first ship
Image from Virgin Voyages
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 20 November 2019

What a thrill to take a tour on board Virgin Voyages new cruise ship, Scarlet Lady, after she set sail from Genoa to Marseille as part of her Sea Trials.

It was wonderful to have my children Holly and Sam, and my wife Joan, by my side as we took a close look at the magnificent ship Virgin Voyages have built. It’s been a lifelong dream to create a Virgin cruise company, but nothing I had imagined prepared me for seeing the stunning Scarlet Lady.  

Richard Branson, wife Joan and children Sam and Holly stand on the dock in front of Virgin Voyages' ship Scarlet Lady
Image from Virgin Voyages

The attention to detail is startling, from the spectacular design of spaces like The Manor nightclub, to the beautiful plans for restaurants like Razzle Dazzle, The Test Kitchen and Extra Virgin, to the thoughtful inclusion of sea views from all angles of the ship. We were fortunate to get a sneak peek of the spaces we’ll be enjoying on my 70th birthday cruise – including the Rockstar Suites, and I’m even more excited for the party of a lifetime now.

As I reminded Joan, decades ago we used to live crammed in on a tiny houseboat. This is a very different kind of vessel! We had a lot of fun as we were guided around the ship by Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin and the brilliant team. It was great having Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss on board too, making it a real Virgin family affair. Just listening to the team who are busy building and designing the ship, the passion and purpose behind the project is palpable. We, of course, had a few little suggestions for changes and adjustments – we’re always striving to improve – but it’s remarkable how the project brings the Virgin spirit and heritage alive while pushing us on into an exciting, innovative future.

The crew of Virgin Voyages' ship Scarlet Lady together with Richard Branson, posing for a photo
Image from Virgin Voyages

We had a lot of fun as we wandered around the dock. I won’t share too many secrets, but let’s just say the running track had a little test run, the swimming pool wasn’t used for swimming, and I got a very close view of a very high fall. Here’s a little teaser of yours truly, my family, Tom and Shai inside one of the ship’s venues.

Richard Branson with Holly, Sam and Tom McAlpin and Shai Weiss onboard Scarlet Lady
Image from Greg Rose

It was wonderful to tour Scarlet Lady on the day that Virgin Voyages announced that our second ship will be called Valiant Lady. She will sail seven-night Mediterranean cruises from the heart of Barcelona to the best destinations in France, Italy and Spain when she debuts in May 2021. Bookings for Valiant Lady’s voyages opening on December 19th, 2019.

We’ve built so many extraordinary spaces and experiences over the years, from record shops to planes, health clubs to spaceships and banks to trains. But it really was special to see Scarlet Lady’s whole ecosystem coming to life, and I’m sure when it’s finished everyone who books a Virgin Voyage will enjoy a cruise they will never forget.

Head over to Virgin Voyages to find out more about the company reinventing cruises and book your Scarlet Lady voyage today.