Scarlet Lady has returned from her sea trials with all systems functioning as normal, Virgin Voyages has announced in a release.
This means that the cruise line’s first ship is on schedule for her maiden voyage from Miami on April 1st, and to celebrate the milestone, the founder and chairman of parent company Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, toured the vessel with other executives.
Virgin Voyages was kind enough to film the event, giving the public its first glimpse of the interior of the ground-breaking cruise ship, which is eschewing many of the norms and traditions of the cruise industry and has therefore created a lot of hype.
During his tour of Scarlet Lady, Sir Richard also ceremoniously painted a red outline on the hull where the company’s logo will appear.
While the Virgin Group founder has reportedly long dreamed of launching his own cruise line, he has never been a particular fan of the ‘traditional’ cruise ship experience, with set dining times and after dinner shows and assigned seating at restaurants.
“The stereotype of a cruise ship is not something I’d particularly want to go on,” Sir Richard says in the video. “So, we thought if we could create the kind of cruise ship that ourselves and our friends would want to go on, then we’d go on it … I think it’ll be incredibly well received by people who love what Virgin has done in the past.”
Just as Virgin did with record stores, radio stations, gyms and (most famously) airlines and space travel, with Virgin Voyages it intends to bring a new, more modern experience to the cruise sector.
“Virgin likes to surprise…” says Sir Richard, “… we’ve gone into quite a few different sectors in my lifetime, and I think [we’ve] surprised people and changed those industries for the better. And I’m absolutely convinced we can do the same in the cruise — or what we call voyages — business.”
For starters, all 20 dining venues are included in the fare, and while the ship is targeted at millennials, it is also adults-only (18 years plus). The nights will be all about partying hard, with lots of bars and lounges and unusual activities, including aerialist shows, comedy performances, pop-up music and interactive theatre productions.
The daytime on the other hand, will focus on wellness and relaxation, or what Virgin Voyages calls ‘vitamin sea’.
Scarlet Lady is the first of four cruise ships Virgin Voyages plans to launch. The second is already under construction, and was recently named as Valiant Lady, fitting the cruise line’s new naming convention, as well as its commitment to female empowerment on-board.
Scarlet Lady will sail 7-night Caribbean itineraries out of Miami, while Valiant Lady will offer 7-night Mediterranean cruises out of Barcelona.
“We’re thrilled to have completed such a significant milestone with our sea trial,” said Tom McAlpin, Virgin Voyages CEO. “We’re one step closer to getting our sailors on the Scarlet Lady and are grateful for all that have chosen to join us on this adventure.”
Before the ship’s maiden voyage, which is expected to be celebrity-packed, the line has planned two three-day ‘Sneak-a-Peek’ preview cruises on March 26th and March 29th next year.