Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin announced today that Virgin Voyages is officially open for business. The company’s first ship, the Scarlet Lady, is now open for bookings for her inaugural season with voyages departing from 1st April through to 25th October 2020 now on sale.
“I’ve dreamed of starting my own cruise line since I was in my 20’s, and now the launch is finally getting close,” said Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Voyages. “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.”
The cruise line will offer a cheeky, cheerful approach to service, and an inclusive approach to sea travel that removes pesky add-ons. Its Sailors (guests) will enjoy free food at the 20+ eateries on board, free group fitness classes, no gratuities or service charges, free Wi-Fi and free basic beverages like soda, teas, drip coffee and still and sparkling water.
In conjunction with opening bookings for sale, Virgin Voyages revealed that all voyages will feature The Beach Club, a unique experience in Bimini, Bahamas. Sailors can enjoy an epic beach day and/or explore the island flavour and culture of Bimini and its turquoise blue waters.
While on the ship, Virgin Voyages Sailors will have the opportunity to choose from a festival-like lineup of all-new completely original events and gigs developed by some of the world’s most-talked about producers, directors and artists in the expansion of the company’s Creative Collective. Virgin Voyages’ entertainment Creative Collective includes Jenny Gersten, Randy Weiner, Sam Pinkleton, Ani Taj, PigPen Theatre Co, The 7 Fingers, Roslyn Hart and Alfredo Guenzani and the Spark Cooperative. The British-born Grammy-Award-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson will be the founding DJ of The Beach Club resident-sea program.
The Beach Club at Bimini
A cornerstone of every voyage will be The Beach Club at Bimini, where sailors can feel the sand in their toes in a stylish setting with white-sand and crystal clear waters along with programming that will rival the best beach clubs in Ibiza and Saint-Tropez.
Just a short transfer from the pier, and built in partnership with Resorts World Bimini, The Beach Club at Bimini is designed with Miami-based architects EOA, Inc. featuring natural materials and soft earth tones that organically blend into the seascape. The Beach Club will overlook the ocean and cascade down to the sea with an expansive lagoon-style pool as the central anchor of the club.
In the spirit of Vitamin Sea, the brand’s ethos of well-being, there will be moments of retox and detox throughout the day. Sailors will find areas of high energy and quiet spots for complete relaxation and introspection. Mornings at The Beach Club will begin with yoga and meditation as Sailors enjoy the sounds of the ocean. The energy at The Beach Club will gradually be amplified as the day progresses and turned back down as dusk settles in. Sailors will reach the high point of the day by the afternoon where DJ-led pool and floatilla parties will be centre of the action. The night’s energy will wind down with a beach bonfire to close out the evening with an acoustic musical performance.
The Beach Club at Bimini, will also have complimentary food that is thoughtfully sourced. Its locally inspired menus will serve up island favourites such as conch and mango salad, banana leaf-wrapped queen snapper, Bahamian rum cake and more. As Sailors start to explore the club they will be pleased to discover creative social spaces with hammock groves and six bars where Sailors can congregate with groups of friends. Those looking for a home base for the day can enjoy the many beach loungers or opt for a more private place with both beach side and poolside cabanas available for rent. The Beach Club will also feature active areas for watersports and beach play.
RockStar Suites Sailors will have their exclusive slice of paradise at The Beach Club at Bimini, with a dedicated bar, complimentary food service, an outdoor terrace lounge, sun loungers and beach cabanas.
Sailors looking to explore the island of Bimini will have ample opportunities to do so in this off-the-beaten path tropical destination. The island was a known favourite of author Ernest Hemingway who described it as, “like the end of the world.” This intimate seven-mile island offers extraordinary sea experiences such as boating, snorkelling and wreck diving, with the SS Sapona just a few miles off the coast of the southern part of the island.
Events & Gigs
The Scarlet Lady will feature a festival themed choice in entertainment made up of bespoke intimate and authentic events and gigs created exclusively for Virgin Voyages. Sailors won’t just sit and watch shows, they may be asked to participate with the cast or become immersed in the world of the performance. In Virgin Voyages rebellious nature, the company will have no traditional cruise director on board the ship, and instead it will have a dynamic group of individuals dedicated to making “happenings” around the ship completely epic.
From modern takes on classic stories, to interactive dance parties and off-the wall participatory acts, the experiences will break down the fourth wall and push the boundaries of traditional stage performances.
Virgin Voyages has created The Red Room – the first transformational multi-form theatre at sea. It will transform into four different configurations – including a traditional Proscenium stage, an alley stage used in fashion shows, a dance flat-floor configuration and a unique reverse stage setup.
The Scarlet Lady will feature six original shows that include a soon to be announced production by award-winning producer Randy Weiner (Queen of the Night, The Donkey Show, Sleep No More).
Phantom Folktales is a collection of song driven, micro plays throughout the ship, that seemingly appear out of thin air, and disappear just as quickly, created by PigPen Theatre Co.
Ships in the Night is an emotion-filled contemporary experience telling its story through the use of cutting edge digital projection interwoven with the authenticity of the human condition, and Duel Reality examines the age-old tale of Romeo and Juliet with a modern twist featuring acrobatic storytelling.
Never Sleep Alone is a participatory show featuring the hysterically funny, straight-talking relationship therapist, Dr. Alex Shiller, by producers Roslyn Hart and Alfredo Guenzani.
Sir Richard Branson’s Birthday Voyage
Sir Richard Branson will celebrate his birthday bash among celebrity friends and fellow Sailors aboard a four-night ‘Havana After Dark’ voyage departing July 15, 2020. Sailors are invited to book their passage aboard this one-of-a-kind trip by visiting www.virginvoyages.com. Sailors willing to test their luck can enter for a chance to win a cabin for two now until 31st March 2019 by following @VirginVoyages on Instagram or visiting RichardsBirthday.VirginVoyages.com.
Scarlet Lady is a boutique-style, mid-sized ship designed to reflect a yacht’s sleek luxury and will set sail from Port Miami for her 2020 inaugural season on unforgettable four and five-night voyages to Havana, Cuba; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and Costa Maya, Mexico.
Future sailors and travel partners are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visiting www.virginvoyages.com.Follow me on social media