by Dayna Engberg

The Best New Cruise Ship of 2021

Recognized by Cruise Critic’s international team of editors in the 13th annual awards, the Best New Cruise Ship of 2021 has been announced and let’s just say that “amazing” is an understatement. Adult-by-Design. Over 20 different dining and drinking establishments. Ultra-chic designs by Tom Dixon and all the Rockstar-worthy interiors, like top-tier suites complete with electric guitars, private hot-tubs and tables specifically designed to withstand those wild, 4:00am dance parties. There’s even an onboard record store stocked with a selection of vinyl, including some of your favorite artists on Virgin Atlantic Records. That’s right, it’s the new ship from Virgin Voyages: Scarlet Lady.

“In a field that was surprisingly crowded, with a number of great new ships debuting this year, Scarlet Lady stood out for bringing new concepts to sea designed to give guests witty and smart features and options,” said Cruise Critic Editor-in-Chief, Colleen McDaniel. “We loved Scarlet Lady’s design-forward take on bringing even more fun to cruising.” Want to learn more? Join us as we step behind the velvet rope and talk some serious ship about the brand’s coolest new cruise vessel.

Lick Me Till Ice Cream


With Richard Branson at the helm, Scarlet Lady pushes all the boundaries of a traditional cruise ship with seductive, adult-by-design details at every turn. It’s the kind of cruise ship where you can truly live the celebrity lifestyle from sun-up to sun-down. (Or from mid-afternoon to sunrise; they won’t judge.) This is a ship loaded with tap rooms, Champagne lounges, cocktail bars and nightclubs featuring menus by some of the industry's most renowned mixologists, from the Bar Lab and the Cocktail Cartel to international bartending icons like Julia Momosé and Charles Joly.

Go on a barhopping pilgrimage, sipping your way through a number of venues from stem to stern before hitting up Squid Ink, the onboard tattoo parlor. (Okay, maybe not in that order.) However you choose to spend your Rockstar-worthy vacation, Scarlet Lady has it all. It even has its own satellite internet connectivity to provide passengers with ultra-fast, free onboard Wi-Fi — especially useful for sharing those coveted selfies from the dazzling infinity-room entrance to The Manor, the ship’s alluring, 70s-themed nightclub.

Their wellness and personal style spaces on board also provide a proper dose of Vitamin Sea. For the 'do nothings', 'do some things' and the 'do literally everythings', they have a way to sweat (or chill out) that suits you. From an outdoor jogging track, boxing ring, and HIIT workouts to meditation, sun-rise yoga and hot stone massages at their Redemption Spa.

The Test Kitchen


Although you’ll find a lot of things on Scarlet Lady, a buffet won’t be one of them. There isn’t a stuffy main dining room, either. Instead, you’ll find more than 20 distinctive eateries developed by a Michelin-starred chef collective, including big NYC names like Brad Farmerie of PUBLIC and Sohui Kim of The Good Fork and Insa.

Not only will you eat well, you’ll also have plenty of places to choose from. There is steak and seafood, elevated Mexican, vegan-friendly, an experimental test kitchen, Hawaiian poke, elevated Italian, casual Mediterranean, ramen and miso, Japanese bento, Korean BBQ, classic diners and more. The onboard dining options are astounding. From elaborate brunches to late-night bites and everything in-between, all eateries are included, with no upcharges for specialty dining.

Onboard Casino


It comes as no surprise that Virgin Voyages would knock it out of the park with their onboard entertainment. These performances are more Burning Man than Broadway, with plenty of showstoppers and none of your grandma’s showtunes. The lineup is a postmodern zeitgeist of electrifying new technology and stunning choreography, familiar tales with fresh Cirque-du-Soleil-style twists, a hilariously sexy cabaret, immersive acrobatics and a music-video-meets-nightclub dance party.

Because entertainment is at the core of Virgin’s being, the shows don’t stay in the theater, either. Think dazzling mixologist tricks, ethereal popup performances throughout the ship, an arcade bursting with retro nostalgia and a casino boasting plenty of table games and a staggering 115 slot machines separated into different districts, like Little Asia, Ocean Drive and Adventure Alley. There are even private karaoke rooms if you want to make your own entertainment. Ashore at Virgin’s exclusive Beach Club at Bimini, the nightlife rivals that of Ibiza, Saint-Tropez and Mykonos with Grammy-award winning resident DJs like Diplo, Mark Ronson and Sofi Tukker.

From the festival-grade entertainment to Michelin cuisine, chic accommodations and overall elevated vibe, we can’t wait to experience Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, departing on various Caribbean itineraries from Miami, Florida.

Ready to book your own voyage? Check out this special offer and recommended itineraries.


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