Virgin Voyages on February 14th chose Valentine’s Day to open its selection of inaugural cruise itineraries for booking, and revealed the location of its much-hyped secret destination.
Scarlet Lady, the first of four cruise ships being built for Virgin Voyages, will feature an eclectic entertainment line-up when she debuts in April, 2020.
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All through the ship there will be aerialists, comedy, pop-up music, and interactive theater to name just a few of the offerings.
And among the many cruise destinations the ship will visit will be Bimini in the Bahamas. But, guests wont just be visiting the port, the cruise ship will dock at an exclusive private beach resort called The Beach Club, modelled on Ibiza and St Tropez.
Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Group, the parent company of Virgin Voyages, made these announcements as the cruise line opened its itineraries for booking at a glitzy event in New York.
“I’ve dreamed of starting my own cruise line since I was in my 20s, and now the launch is finally getting close,” he said. “We have taken the time to think about every detail and craft an experience that brings the Virgin brand to life and disrupts the travel industry.”
Tom McAlpin, president and CEO of Virgin Voyages, was equally excited about the cruises finally going on sale.
“Today is an incredibly exciting day. It’s been six and a half years of creating this company. Today is the day,” he said to much applause.
Entertainment aboard Scarlet Lady
When Virgin Voyages revealed the exterior design for Scarlet Lady it was similar and yet completely different to anything the industry had seen before, and when the cabins were revealed, they introduced the game-changing Seabed and hammocks on the balconies.
How did none of us in the cruise industry ever think of this before? @VirginVoyages are basically doing (better) what overnight trains have been doing for a century 😁 https://t.co/bdjNOBsJ8l
— Cruise Arabia (@CruiseArabia) February 3, 2019
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In a similar vein, Virgin Voyages has re-thought the cruise entertainment concept for Scarlet Lady.
For a start, Scarlet Lady will not have a cruise director. Instead, the ship will have a group of people dedicated to coordinating entertainment or “happenings” around the ship.
This group of people comprises a variety of theater producers, directors and artists including one of the producers behind the New York City-based ‘Sleep No More’ and the Tony Award-nominated choreographer of the Broadway musical ‘Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812’.
“Our sailors are going to experience a festival of choice onboard that we hope will really transform them,” said Nirmal Saverimuttu, Chief Operating Office for Virgin Voyages. “We hope that when our sailors leave Scarlet Lady they will come back just a little bit different and they might have some stories to tell about all the different discoveries they made onboard.”
In another sign that Virgin Voyages is doing things different, the cruise line said that passengers won’t just be an audience to shows, they’ll have the opportunity to participate with the cast and become a part of the performance.
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The immense variety of theatre offered on-board will be presented in a Red Room aboard Scarlet Lady. Given Virgin Voyages’ millennial target-market, the choice of name for the theatre venue is more than a little edgy.
The Red Room (which is obviously named after Virgin’s famous red branding) will be a multiform theater at sea that can transform into four different configurations for traditional, fashion show-esque alley stage, dance flat-floor, and reverse stage.
This means that on every night of a four or five night voyage there won’t just be a different show on, but an entirely different style of show as well.
Six original shows are being created, including an acrobatic retelling of Romeo & Juliet called ‘Duel Reality’ and a show by one of the producers behind ‘Sleep No More’ and ‘Queen of the Night’.
Then there’s the slightly darker ‘Never Sleep Alone’ by straight-talking relationship therapist, Dr. Alex Shiller (the alter ego of immersive performer Roslyn Hart), with audience participation.
Virgin Voyages’ Beach Club
And then there’s the secret destination, which Virgin Voyages, as it does so well, created a lot of hype about ahead of the opening of bookings.
The secret's out… Say hello to The Beach Club at Bimini, an exclusive venue on @VirginVoyages private island 😍 https://t.co/VLysIRzvG9 pic.twitter.com/uxFqg82jie
— Virgin Holidays (@VirginHolidays) February 14, 2019
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Every single one of Scarlet Lady’s roundtrip Miami cruises in the Caribbean will include a port call in Bimini, at The Beach Club – which is sure to become one of the most popular cruise destinations in the Bahamas.
The 4.5-acre Beach Club at Bimini will be a private beach resort located a short transfer from the dock overlooking the ocean with an expansive lagoon-style pool as the central anchor of the club.
According to Virgin Voyages it “will rival the best beach clubs in Ibiza and Saint-Tropez” and is being built in partnership with Resorts World Bimini.
According to McAlpin, its proximity to Miami will give the cruise line the ability to stay later and depart at night. “The benefit is it’s really close to Miami, so we can stay here later than normal and enjoy a sunset most of the year,” he said.
Like it’s onboard entertainment, Virgin Voyages have rethought the shoreside activities they’ll be offering here, with a line-up that evolves as the day progresses.
There’ll be yoya and meditation on the beach in the early morning, and then a pool and flotilla party during the day, led by a DJ that will sometimes be a Grammy, MTV Video Music and Soul Train Music award-winning artist like Mark Ronson or Boy George.
The six bars dotted around The Beach Club will play a large part in amping up the audience for these parties.
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Then things will calm down as sunset approaches, with the music switching to acoustic performances on the beach with a bonfire as the backdrop.
Like Scarlet Lady’s many, many specialty restaurants, the food here will be complimentary and will include locally-inspired menus that serve up island favorites such as conch and mango salad, banana leaf-wrapped queen snapper, Bahamian rum cake and more.
If you don’t want to join in the pool party, you don’t have to. The Beach Club will feature many hammock groves and beach loungers, or beach and poolside cabanas at an extra fee, for couples or groups of friends wanting to chill in relative privacy.
There will also be watersports offered, along with various beach activities such as volleyball.
And for passengers staying in the RockStar Suites, there will be an exclusive space at The Beach Club with a dedicated bar, complimentary food service, an outdoor terrace lounge, sun loungers and beach cabanas.
According to Virgin Voyages, shore excursions in and around Bimini will also be on offer, so guests wont have The Beach Club as their only choice of places to go while in port here.
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