Virgin launches new cruise line for millennials with drag queens, DJs and outdoor yoga

Helen Coffey
Virgin Voyages hopes to redefine cruising: Virgin Voyages

Virgin Group is launching a new luxury cruise line aimed at millennials, with yoga, exercise classes, DJs and drag artists onboard.

Its first ship, Scarlet Lady, was launched in Dover today by Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.

Routes on offer include Costa Maya in Mexico, Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, Key West and The Bahamas.

But forget cringey entertainment and lacklustre food – Virgin Voyager is trying to attract a different kind of clientele by “redefining the cruise industry”.

The idea is to bring “the luxe of a boutique hotel to the seas”, with interiors created by designers including Tom Dixon and Roman and Williams, and a focus on wellness.

The adults-only ship has B-Complex gym programmes plus an outdoor yoga space, while the 20 onboard dining options include Razzle Dazzle, a vegetarian restaurant.

Wellness is a key focus on Virgin Voyages (Virgin Voyages)

Other eating experiences have been created by leading chefs such as Michelin-starred Brad Farmerie, of PUBLIC in New York City, and Sohui Kim, from Insa in Brooklyn.

Entertainment is a far cry from the usual cruise fare too – think gigs, drag artists and DJ sets, plus special itineraries featuring personal appearances from talent including Mark Ronson, Diplo, MK and Sofi Tukker.

Design-led interiors onboard Scarlet Lady (Virgin Voyages)

The big news for regular cruisers is that tips – usually £10-£15 added onto passengers’ onboard account every day unless they demand otherwise – are all included in the basic cruise price, as are all exercise classes, wifi, food and basic drinks (soft drinks, coffee and water).

There are more than 20 dining options on the ship (Virgin Voyages)

Sir Richard said: “I have dreamed of starting my own cruise line since I was in my 20s and I’m thrilled that moment has arrived.

“The Scarlet Lady is truly special and we’ve worked with some of the world’s most sought-after designers, artists and architects to craft an extraordinary experience.

“The benefit of our five decades in business in so many industries is that we can offer a voyage like no other.”

Virgin Voyages is also one of the first cruise lines to use Climeon, a technology that uses heat from the ship’s engines to generate electricity, making it more fuel efficient.

A three-night “Sneak Peak Cruise” starts at £760pp for an inside cabin departing 26 March.

Scarlet Lady’s sister vessel, Valiant Lady, will launch in May 2021 with seven-night itineraries around the Mediterranean.

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