Virgin Voyages Preview: First Ship, Wellness Spaces

Virgin Voyages, the new adults-only cruise brand from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, announced a number of new details over the weekend, including the name of its first ship, wellness-focused onboard amenities and a single-use plastics ban.

The first ship for the new cruise brand, which is set to launch in 2020, will be named Scarlet Lady. The name first appeared on one of the earliest planes to fly for Virgin Atlantic, and the Scarlet Lady branding will also be paired with a “Scarlet Squad” staffing initiative that aims to drive recruiting, supporting and mentoring female shipboard talent.

Virgin made the announcement at an event that saw the flooding of the new ship’s drydock – a major construction milestone – as well as the steel-cutting for Virgin Voyages’ second ship, which is slated for delivery in 2021.

“Vitamin Sea” Program

Also at the event Virgin Voyages announced a number of new wellness offerings, which will form its “Vitamin Sea” program.

Designed to be part of the brand’s appeal to the adults-only market, the program will include group fitness classes (complimentary with the cruise fare), as well as a number of wellness-focused public spaces. These include the Crow’s Nest, a sundeck for sunrise and sunset yoga with 360-degree views; The Runway, a running track in Virgin’s signature red; and The Athletic Club. Linked to both the Crow’s Nest and The Runway, this space will have an outdoor training zone, including a boxing ring, strength and gymnastics equipment designed to be reminiscent of a 1920’s-era New York sports club, oversized gaming, relaxation cabanas and a “sporty” bar.

Also on tap is The B Complex, a space with areas for strength, spin, yoga and cardio training, all with ocean views. All gym spaces here will have Technogym ARTIS, a sustainable fitness technology.

To cool off, there will be a Well-being Pool near a Gym and Tonic bar, which will serve fresh cold-pressed juices. Also nearby will be MyBeast, an adult playground and fitness apparatus with a Venice Beach vibe.

The ship’s spa, dubbed Redemption, will be set on deck 5. Inspired by an underwater cave, the spa will have a hydrotherapy pool, mud room, salt room, cold plunge pools, quartz beds and a full lineup of spa treatments. The space will also host evening spa parties complete with a DJ in the thermal suites.

Single-Use Plastics Ban

Finally, at this weekend’s event Virgin Voyages announced that the company will sail with no guest-facing single-used plastics, making it the latest cruise and hospitality brand to do so.

There will be no plastic straws, bottled water, other beverage bottles, condiment packets, shopping bags, food packaging, stirrers and take-away coffee and tea cups onboard, with those items replaced by recyclable and reusable materials. Guests will have access to complimentary filtered still and sparkling water at all bars and restaurants, as well as at water stations throughout the ship.

The move makes Virgin the latest cruise brand to ban single-use plastics. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. – which includes Royal Caribbean International, Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, TUI Cruises and Pullmantur Cruceros – is eliminating plastic straws fleetwide by the end of this year, as part of a move toward a comprehensive plastics elimination program companywide. Hurtigruten, an expedition brand, announced a plan to ban all single-use plastics by July 2 a couple of weeks ago. Similarly, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and U by Uniworld are also eliminating single-use plastics by 2022 as part of a push by their parent company, The Travel Corporation. In the hotel space, Marriott, Oetker, Bahia Principe, Melia and Iberostar have made similar moves, as well as Hilton at its Asia-Pacific properties.

The first sailings for Virgin Voyages are expected to open for bookings by the end of this year.

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