When Joseph isn’t making magic happen as part of our packaging team, he’s getting acquainted with Scarlet Lady, the Virgin Voyages beauty stealing hearts around the UK as we speak. Here’s how he spent 24 hours on the ship of the moment.
Where to start with a full day on Scarlet Lady! Maybe the cabin? Waking up in an ultra-modern, high-tech cabin was a fantastic start to my day. From the tablet-controlled lights and curtains to the refreshing rainfall shower, this cabin feels like it’s from The Jetsons!
The tablet acted like your own personal butler, opening the curtains, asking for services from our amazing cabin steward and bringing up a dizzying array of movies to watch. Anything you wanted could’ve been attained from the tablet.
The cabin had a large balcony and hammock. The perfect place to relax and stare into the horizon.
While the bed converts from a sofa and back, it truly feels like a cloud. No sharp bars in your back like other sofa beds. The sleep I got from the bed set me up for the rest of a packed day aboard Scarlet Lady.
Next up, breakfast!
Our cabin was located towards the back of the ship on deck 12. This was the perfect location for the lift to the buffet.
Virgin calls this space ‘The Galley’ and it’s less like a buffet of old, more like a food market. Individual food stalls represent different cuisines beautifully with menus rotating for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Much to our surprise, The Galley was a sit-down experience. You were greeted by the friendly staff and asked if you wanted a drink. All menus onboard were available through QR codes on coasters.
For breakfast you could order from any of the stalls, think Bento boxes full of fruit and yogurt from Japan, pancakes from America, English breakfast or French pastries. The list of possible breakfast combos was truly endless. I went with the safe choice… one of everything!
With a morning free from anything scheduled (not due to Virgin’s oversight, more due to my unwillingness to make use of the free exercise classes on offer), we went for a stroll on the top decks. We managed to stay in one of the private cabanas on board – a massive sun bed and sofa are inside, the perfect place for a siesta.
A few hours later it was time to game. On deck 7 they have board games to borrow and play. We opted for Guess Who, an absolute classic. Board games and an unlimited supply of Shirley Temple drinks was a winning pre-lunch combo.
Another short walk back to The Galley for lunch. This time I was served sushi and ramen, along with macarons. I can’t begin to describe the service; Virgin have nailed this experience. The ability to have all this food delivered to you is fantastic.
All this food has meant one thing – the need for some new clothes. Time to get shopping. The shopping district feels premium; curved glass store fronts with stunning products line the walkways. The district is split into two sides, one men’s, one women’s. The shops are also accompanied by hair salons, barbers, a makeup store and uniquely a tattoo shop. We felt suited and booted, ready for Scarlet Night (more on that later).
We felt that as we hadn’t eaten for at least 2 hours, it was time for some tapas. Situated at the back of the ship on deck seven is The Dock House. Serving ‘casual Mediterranean food’ it was the perfect place for a mid-afternoon bite. Our food was paired with a fruity sangria, a winning duo!
‘Shall we follow with something sweet?’ we thought to ourselves, as we were already stood outside of the ice-cream parlour. If you’re following this blog, you’ll know the answer. Five cones and about 8 flavours left no taste or appetite untouched. I went for the ‘green machine’ sorbet, the ultimate refreshing treat.
As we wandered with our ice-cream, we stumbled onto a place called the Social Club, a cool and chilled out space, which included foosball, air hockey and other board games. Interestingly, they also had a great selection of retro arcade games including Mario Bros, Donkey Kong and others. We kept looking for a cash machine that had American quarters. A fellow sailor saw us looking and said it’s all included, there’s no need for change! Honestly a great addition to the ship, not least because I was finally able to see what my Dad meant about the terrible red ship in Space Invaders!
Time to head back to our cabin for a freshen up and to get ready for a show.
Duel Reality is a crazy circus routine unlike anything else at sea or on land. As we sat watching a red and blue team seemingly battle for dominance in the arena, I thought ‘this feels like a Romeo and Juliet kind of show.’ This was confirmed on the exit by one of the acrobats!
So, we’ve got an acrobatic and interpretive dance retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Not something I would normally be into, but it was perfectly done, engaging and a stunning medley of dance/music. A must watch if you come aboard.
The Wake is our next venue for dinner. We booked this on our first night onboard and I was glad we did as it booked up fast. It’s the ship’s steak and seafood restaurant. You walk down a beautiful marble staircase to the tables below, in a venue best described as a mix of Art Deco/1970’s chic. The Wake oozes luxury and class. Even though Scarlet Lady has no dress code, getting dressed up and going to this place is a must do.
We started with bubbly and a fluffy cloud of bread with garlic butter. This was quickly followed with our Yellowfin tuna starter. The waiter poured over a hibiscus sauce and added pickled rhubarb. A excellent start to this meal.
Next was the Filet Mignon paired with twice baked potatoes and creamed spinach. Included with the Filet Mignon was a choice of sauce to complement the steak, which was cooked to perfection!
We noticed one table had ordered the seafood platter, a double decker tray full of the best the ocean had to offer. It looked amazing, truly show stopping.
To finish the meal was perhaps the best desert I’ve ever tasted, a lemon cheesecake in the shape of a lemon! A hard outer layer gave way to the delicate lemon mousse on the inside. This desert would’ve gotten a handshake from Paul Hollywood! I toyed with the idea of ordering another one but decided it should be special and left it at that.
I truly feel The Wake is one of the best restaurants at sea! If this was on land, I would’ve paid hundreds for this experience, but this was included in the cost of the cruise. If you’re sailing with Virgin Voyages soon, do not hesitate to book into this restaurant as soon as you can.
We left The Wake and headed for the festivities of Scarlet Night. Described by Virgin as an ‘epic night where the entire ship is transformed into a menagerie of delights and euphoric exaltation. Wear red and get ready.’
Every balcony and outdoor lights are changed to red. The roundabout (atrium) and other areas all change to red. A giant congo line goes around the ship inviting people to the top deck for a party. As we emerged from the lift and onto the top decks, a giant octopus has been placed around the pool. With Virgin’s heritage in music, is it surprising that the DJ just knew what songs to pick to keep the vibe going? Would we expect anything less from Virgin? Blankets were handed out later on, the English Channel being a little less forgiving than the Caribbean Sea Scarlet Lady is destined to sail.
Regardless of location, this party brings the whole ship alive. It’s very impressive how the entertainment crew managed this.
Time for a little wind down now as our night is ending. We did what anyone would do, book a private karaoke room, so we could butcher our favourite songs away from our fellow sailors’ ears. Such a fun and unique experience on board and more akin to the famous karaoke of Tokyo then a western karaoke.
To end the night, we retired to our cabin and started a film. The tablet allowed me with one press to activate ‘cinema mode’, with which the curtains closed and the lights dimmed and changed to a calm blue colour. I couldn’t tell you what happens at the end of the film, I dropped off well before that point, which I guess is a sign of a packed and fun day cruising with Virgin Voyages.