For a Cool, Non-Cruise Approach
Promising an “Epic Sea Change,” Tom McAlpin, president and CEO of the new Virgin Voyages, launching in 2020, calls his guests “sailors” not cruisers. No kids are allowed onboard the new 2,700-passenger Scarlet Lady, so expect a cool 18+ sanctuary at sea. The Spice Girls’ Geri Horner even frolicked in a mock-up of one of the ship’s new, opulent Mega RockStar Suites at a recent media event. Sailors staying there can be rock stars too with a dedicated make-up and hair crew available upon request.
A fifth generation Floridian and former Disney Cruise Line executive, McAlpin is working closely with Sir Richard Branson, founder, Virgin Group, in dreaming up a litany of innovations at sea. As Scarlet Lady sails from Miami to the Caribbean and Bahamas, guests will dine in 20-plus complimentary eateries with a city-chic aura and greatly extended hours. No, sailors won’t find assigned dining times, a main dining room or formal attire.
While Cuba is out as a port of call, Bimini is in. On that small Bahamian island 60 miles east of Miami, Virgin Voyages is creating The Beach Club at Bimini, an exclusive beach-side experience for guests with programming expected to rival trendy beach clubs in Ibiza or Saint-Tropez. Onboard Scarlet Lady too, guests can lie atop a large netting area (as on a catamaran) and gaze down at the ocean. And the list goes on, with McAlpin innovating at every turn.