Even from afar, it is clear the Scarlet Lady is a cruise ship with edge.
The grey prow of the ship looks like something from the Death Star and the wide, scarlet stern and corsetted upper decks turns heads in every port. Lady got back.
She certainly got a lot of attention this weekend as the Lady appeared in the docks of Liverpool in England, preparing to sail for her first cross-Atlantic positioning, the New Zealand Herald reports.
Next to the rival fleets of flowing, white vessels – her red trimmings are rock’n’roll right through.
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Inside you’ll find drag queens, discotheques and the only tattoo parlour at sea.
The ship, its cabins and public areas have been designed from the – erm – “bottom up”.
Virgin Voyages’ new cruise ship Scarlet Lady at port in Liverpool, England. Picture: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images for Virgin VoyagesSource:Getty Images
A rendering of Virgin Voyages’ first ship, Scarlet Lady. Picture: Virgin VoyagesSource:Supplied
At the risk of coming across as shallow, the Scarlet Lady is a ship that is obsessed with looks. While at times this design-led approach is in danger of being a bit try-hard, some of the smaller touches are genuine game changers.
Signage details and even carpet patterns help orient passengers to fore and aft and deck number. While this might be a navigation aide to passengers while they are “four sheets to the wind” – it’s a design some of her competitors could take a lead from.
The ship’s Mexican restaurant, Pink Agave. Picture: Virgin VoyagesSource:Supplied
The ship has a rock and roll theme. Picture: Virgin VoyagesSource:Supplied
Another “first at sea” is the convertible day-and-night cabins. Beds convert to L-shaped sofas, freeing up a bit more space in the cabins and creating a more relaxed, homely space for guests.
Although one imagines it makes a lot of work for crew, and ruins passengers’ plans for midafternoon naps. There’s always the hammock on the balcony suites.
Massive suite on Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady. Picture: Virgin VoyagesSource:Supplied
The luxurious outdoor setting. Picture: Virgin VoyagesSource:Supplied
The bars and dining options are heavily themed – from the nautical to the naughty: the Loose Cannon bar has the appearance of an old pirate galley while the Lick Me ‘Till Ice Cream dessert bar is full of retro humour.
Then there is the Manor, named after Richard Branson’s first recording studio at Virgin records, which Virgin Voyage’s Tom McAlpin has dubbed “the best f***ing nightclub at sea”. In short, the Scarlet Lady is a raucous crowd pleaser by design.
The cruise ship is designed for people who don’t tend to go cruising. Picture: Virgin VoyagesSource:Supplied
The ship is ‘obsessed with looks’. Picture: Virgin VoyagesSource:Supplied
However, there’s one design oversight that speaks louder than any midship sound system.
On the upper deck, the “Main Pool” is a disappointment. Sunk into the middle of a tiled area, as if to draw attention to quite how small it is, the pool would appear to be an afterthought.
“Where’s the pool?” asks Cruise Critic’s UK editor, Adam Coulter, who argues a swimming pool is a key ingredient of an ocean-going holiday.
Serious question @VirginVoyages I’m on the all gay @AtlantisEvents charter and can’t wait to be on the Scarlet Lady! But this cannot be the only pool? It just can’t be? pic.twitter.com/uKSmwgiFUt
Apart from a few jacuzzis scattered liberally about, as far as swimming pools go – this is it.
It’s barely big enough to host a backyard pool party, let alone a ship of 2770 passengers.
But then again, the Scarlet Lady isn’t afraid to challenge conventions.
Built for the “I’ll never cruise” crowd, the Lady is full of enough quicks and humour to tap even the most reluctant sailor away to sea.
This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission
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