Scarlet Lady sailing.

7 Ways Richard Branson’s Cruise Line Is Making a Big Splash

Richard Branson is quoted saying he was never interested in cruising and suspects there are tons of people who agree with him. Then came the day he said, challenge accepted; why wouldn’t I create a Rockstar Experience to explore the seven seas? His actual quote said, “It’s time to bring the Virgin brand to life on the sea and disrupt the travel industry.” Go time.

Branson thrived past dyslexia as a young man to become the face and brand of one of the biggest and most recognized companies in the world. Being a virgin in the record business in the 70s was just the beginning of the Virgin Empire. So when he set out to revolutionize the cruise industry – you bet people are paying attention.

I honestly don’t think I have ever responded to an email so fast as the one inviting me to RSVP for a tour of Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady in Miami, Florida. With tons of cruise experience in my passport, I know what to look for in a great cruise experience. The anticipation alone was thrilling; I told my friends I have a (work) date with Richard, as in Branson. No, he wasn’t there, but his people were.

Think you know cruising? Think again.

Virgin Voyages is setting a new bar for cruising

“It’s time to bring the Virgin brand to life on the sea and disrupt the travel industry”

Richard Branson

What were my first impressions?

The energy aboard was electric, like walking into a rock concert. Big happy faces welcomed 1000+ travel agents ready to see, taste and feel the Virgin style. Think about it, the crew’s sole purpose (after safety) is your happiness. It’s was no doubt a party vibe, but as I roamed the ship, I could also picture myself napping in one of the cushy circular loungers, dipping in the spa’s thermal plunge pool awaiting my next OMG experience. I saw one of their signature pop up gigs as the entertainment crew (called Happenings) hosted a very adult trivia game at one of the outdoor bars. Everyone was folded over with laughter. I sampled velvety eggs benedict, pan seared sea bass, melt in your mouth pasta and an espresso gelato sundae that took me straight back to Rome. Food quality is a huge part of the brand’s lure with menu creations from top chefs around the world.

How are these voyages different? Continue reading for the best parts…

One

Their heart is all Green

  • First cruise line to commit to being carbon neutral from Day 1
  • Their ships decrease fuel needs with machinery that converts heat to energy
  • Diesel engines that can switch to alternative fuel sources when cleaner technologies are available
  • Cabin sensors automatically close curtains, turn off lights and lowers AC when rooms are unoccupied
  • Reduced waste with a ban on single use plastics, most disposable items, onboard recycling, no buffets, no straws, no plastic water bottles
  • Only partners with companies who share their must be good for people, animals & planet philosophy
  • Use of products with purpose: sustainable seafood, direct trade coffee,
  • Balcony cabins hammocks are sourced from women empowerment community
  • Room key bracelet (The Band) is made entirely from recycled ocean plastic
  • Work with local communities and entrepreneurs in port to create economic opportunity and growth for each destination

“There is nothing more important in this world than our oceans, and we’re on a mission to protect them and set an example”

Richard Branson

Two

Clear As Crystal Transparency

  • Upfront pricing, no nickel and diming surprises
  • Wifi & basic beverages included
  • 20 plus restaurants included
  • Tips included
  • No upcharge for solo sailors
  • Fair pricing: 42% of wines by the glass are under $10.
  • Beers $5-$6, cocktails $9 and specialty cocktails $14
  • Bar tab $300 purchase comes with $50 bonus
  • Free fitness classes (small groups)
  • If you do pay extra for an experience, you bet there’s an extraordinary reason for it

Three

Lingo with a Twist

  • You’re on a voyage, not a cruise
  • You’re a sailor, not a passenger
  • Excursions are called Shore Things
  • Suites are called RockStar Quarters
  • The Spa is called Redemption
  • The tattoo parlor is called Squid Ink
  • Karaoke room is called The Groupie
  • Outdoor running track is called The Runway

 

Four

Well Being The Virgin Way

  • Dress up or dress down, come as you are – no formal dress code
  • Lots of vegan and veggie friendly menu choices
  • Fresh pressed juice bar
  • Spa mud room, salt room, steam rooms
  • Spa thermal zone plunge pools
  • State of the art exercise equipment, many in outdoor areas
  • Free fitness classes, personal trainers
  • Outdoor yoga/meditation space
  • Onboard barbershop, blow out bar, mani-pedi and med spa!

Five

Eat & Drink

  • Dining experiences created with Michelin starred chef collective
  • 20 plus restaurants that crush any craving
  • Servers come to you, no buffets
  • The Test Kitchen Experience – Part cooking school, part restaurant
  • Vegetarian only restaurant called Razzle Dazzle
  • Complimentary ice cream parlor

Six

Adults Only Vibe

  • Yacht like design features
  • In room mood lighting, including a “get it on’ mood with music
  • Tap that hot/ cold beverage stations
  • Bonfire party in Bimini, longer stays in port (with some over-nights too!)
  • Instagram worthy nooks everywhere
  • Lick Me Till I Scream is the name of the ice cream parlor
  • Retro Arcade & record shop

Seven

Your Quarters

  • Solo cabins available
  • Hand woven hammocks on all terraces
  • Many cabins include “The Seabed”. It converts to a sofa giving you more room
  • Suites come with tons of perks
  • USB ports / plugs everywhere
  • Glam station, fridge, large flat-screen HDTV
  • Roomy Rainshower

A personal favorite!

Because every RockStar needs champagne delivery service – where ever you may be on the ship, the app has a Shake For Champagne button!


Who will love this cruise?

  • You’re a fan of all around eco practices and sustainability
  • You’re a FOODIE
  • You’re intrigued about a new concept in sailing
  • You embrace wellness and diversity
  • You love the Virgin brands and lifestyle

Who might not enjoy this cruise?

  • You want to cruise with kids
  • You’re not cozy with technology (apps and tablets) (Most planning is done in the app)
  • You prefer traditional cruise dining styles
  • You enjoy dressing formal for dinner

Would I sail with Virgin Voyages?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Over 71% of the Earth’s surface is water just waiting to be explored. I am already booked on the Greek Island Glow for Summer 2022. 

Virgin Voyages has ships sailing to dazzling destinations in the Caribbean, Europe and the Mediterranean. With the goal of turning you from a virgin to a cruiser, this is your ticket to do just that.

Remember, it costs you nothing to work with me to book your next voyage and giving you first hand personal service. Let’s chat today.