Virgin Voyages, the “adult-by-design” cruise line slated to launch their first ship, the Scarlet Lady, in 2020 has spent the last two and half years teasing followers with enticing details around the experience sailors can expect on their unique line. While the Virgin Voyages team revealed some public spaces, only recently did they give us an idea of what we can expect inside the uniquely designed cabins and “RockStar Suites.” Want a “Peek-a-View” outdoor shower at sea? That’s an option.
RockStar Suites on Scarlet Lady
While there are eight different suite types to choose from, there are some common threads. Scarlet Lady’s RockStar Suites are all designed by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio and feature retro-futurism with iridescent elements where colors change depending on the viewing angle. These “dichroic” designs echo the deep blue sea. Each suite will feature a “sea terrace,” adjustable and controllable blackout curtains, and a gold-plated vinyl record player accompanied by an en-suite collection of classic records. The materials and accessories are distinct as well, with yachting and maritime queues, marble-clad bathrooms and terrazzo flooring around bespoke Tom Dixon furniture pieces.
Technology continues to head to sea as all of Scarlet Lady’s suites are equipped with mood lighting that automatically adjusts to match the time of day and can be controlled with in room tablets. As is expected, suites also feature premium linens and a plush European king bed plus upgraded bath amenities.
In addition to the tangible amenities in the rooms, all suite guests enjoy VIP perks including a “Rockstar Coordinator” (personal assistant), private transportation, a “personal wardrobe team” to help guests pack and unpack, complimentary pressing service, nightly swimsuit drying service, and early access to onboard entertainment and restaurants, as well as access to Richard’s Rooftop – a suite area for privileged guests to enjoy by day or night.
Choose Your RockStar Style – Eight Suite Types
Scarlet Lady offers a total of seventy-eight RockStar suites of eight distinct types (though it appears there will be more than eight categories – there is a difference). Below are the descriptions for each type, straight from Virgin Voyages.
- Massive Suite – The largest of the RockStar Suites is 2,147 sq. ft. including an expansive sea terrace complete with an outdoor Jacuzzi, a dining table for six where a staircase to help sailors make their way to dance on top of the table, a private outdoor shower, hammocks and a catamaran net for stargazing, circular sea bar loungers and a meditation area overlooking the ocean. Inside the suite that sleeps six is a living room large enough for entertaining, a music room and bedroom.
- Fab Suite – At 950 sq. ft., an open wall separates the space into distinct bedroom and living areas, featuring an extra-long sea terrace with an outdoor shower, stargazing loungers, a hammock and a champagne table.
- Posh Suite – This 833 sq. ft. suite features a fully stocked bar, record player, spacious living room, a peek-a-boo shower for gazing out at the ocean and an sea terrace complete with lounge chairs, outdoor shower and champagne table.
- Gorgeous Suite – The 570 sq. ft. suite features an open plan lounge and bedroom, a luxurious bathroom with a window to see the sea, an expansive sea terrace featuring an outdoor shower, lounge chairs and a hammock.
- Brilliant Suite – The 482 sq. ft. brilliantly designed suite has an open plan featuring a stocked bar with record player and sea terrace complete with a hammock swing chair.
- Cheeky Corner Suite – Ranging between 607 and 847.8 sq. ft, the Cheeky Corner Suites’ wrapping panoramic views from the corner of the ship provide the perfect views of the sea with direct views of the sea, larger balconies with sofa loungers, interconnecting doors able to connect with adjacent sea terrace cabins and more.
- Sweet Aft Suite – Between 416 and 661 sq. ft., this suite is positioned centrally at the aft of the ship, and provide the most-Instagrammable wake view directly from the bed or even from inside the shower. Guests can enjoy more views from the suite’s sea terrace.
- Seriously Suite – Between 352 and 357 sq. ft, the Seriously Suite is the most popular RockStar Suite. The space features an open plan lounge and bedroom, sea terrace with chairs, plus a luxurious bathroom with a window to see the sea.
The Massive, Fab, Posh, and Gorgeous suites make up the 15 “Mega RockStar Suites” that come with some additional perks, including stocked bars and a RockStar Services Crew to cater to any needs in sailors’ “riders”.
More on the Massive Suites
On any ship there is special attention paid to the most glamorous of accommodations, and on Scarlet Lady, those are the two Massive Suites, taking up 2,147 square feet (~200 square meters) each and located directly above the bridge. Each boasts its own music room, (doubling as an extra bedroom) stocked with guitars and an amp. At the center of the suite is a circular oversized couch, ideal for conversation and cocktails from the in-room bar. Rockstars can get ready for their days and nights in a glamorous bath and dressing room area complete with a hot tub, vanity, two full-sized wardrobes and a marble-clad bathroom with a Peek-a-Boo shower that overlooks the bedroom and out to the ocean. The terrace has a private hot tub for, “friends, family and groupies alike”, as well as a Peek-a-View outdoor shower, a circular conversation pit, a lookout point with loungers and two hammocks. Finally, sailors in the Massive Suite can climb a staircase to the top of the runway outdoor table for dining and dancing.
Clever Cabins: Putting Space to Work
As opposed to the luxe focused RockStar Suites, the cabins on Scarlet Lady have been designed with function and mobility in addition to style. They present unique elements like flexible furniture and hi-tech controls to make the rooms accommodate enjoyment, and not just sleep.
“We wanted this to be a place people actually wanted to hang out in,” said Jamie Douglas, Senior Product Design Manager for Virgin Voyages, “The cabin feels like a reflection of modern city living. A design that works harder with what are normally constricted spaces.”
Cruise ship staterooms have traditionally been rectangular and modular, so to counter that, Scarlet Lady cabin layouts aim to optimize space with an angled wall that is, according to Virgin Voyages, “hardly detectable, [but] vastly alters the room.” One element of that change is in the Seabed, engineered and handcrafted by German-based, Walter Knoll designers. In night mode the Seabed is a normal place for two to sleep, but in day mode turns into a daybed and a couch at 90 degree angles.
Most rooms will feature 43” 4k televisions, mood-lighting, and electronically controlled blackout shades. These systems are tied together along with air-conditioning to allow for “Eco Modes” which auto-adjust for energy conservation when sailors aren’t present - and Virgin Voyages has made sure that if you’re charging your own tech in the stateroom when you leave it will stay topped-off. These features and more can all be controlled through an in-room tablet.
Room With a View - Or Not?
So many of the public areas on Scarlet Lady offer a connection with the sea, and like many modern ships, 93% of the rooms will have sea-views, and 86% will have terraces (verandahs) with outdoor hammocks. There will of course be a selection of inside staterooms for both solo travelers as well as “Social Insider” rooms, which feature bunks.
Billy’s Take on Virgin Voyages Staterooms & Suites
It’s to no one’s surprise that Virgin Voyages has taken to some outrageous features in their first suites, but we’ll admit we’d not spent this much time pondering shower views until recently. The design aesthetic as well as the technology are, to us, appealing, and reminiscent of many modern boutique hotels in large European cities (try a pre-cruise stay at a Citizen-M and you’ll see what we mean). None of that however changes the fact that there isn’t a significant deviation in what we see other lines doing with suite only spaces (in this case, Richard’s Rooftop), but that’s okay -- the suite life does help subsidize the experience for us plebes.
As for where we’ll be staying, after years of trying to remember to go with industry trends and use the term stateroom, we see that Virgin Voyages has taken to calling their accommodations cabins. While the nautical nomenclature may be largely insignificant to sailors, we can be we won’t be the only seafaring wordsmiths backspacing across stateroom in the inevitable rush of excitement to come when bookings open up February 14th (or February 10th for those who deposited early). Perhaps staying in one of these “cabins” will make it easier. There’s only one way to find out, but I digress.
We absolutely love the idea of the bed swinging out of the way to make more space and become more functional. It seems that in most double-occupancy staterooms the couch is never used at the same time as the bed, so we’re all for this idea and bet it spreads to other lines - though in the photos we did wonder where we’d be sticking our empty suitcases in 2020. The technology in the rooms is another element likely par for the course in future cruise ship design. We saw some of these same things recently on Celebrity Edge (including the Eco Mode, controllable curtains, etc). We also saw vanities that slide out of the way on Edge (flexible furniture) and can’t help but feel these types of changes are obvious wins for guests and cruise lines alike. While we can’t wait to see what’s next for Virgin Voyages, we’re also excited to see at least two cruise lines rapidly innovating in ways that leave many of us wondering, “why hasn’t it been this way for years?” Competition and innovation are best friends, and we’ll be competing to reserve our berth in just a couple of weeks.
What do you think? Will you be ready to book on February 14th? Does Virgin Voyages look like something you'd check out or do you think it's a lot of fluff? Comment below, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter.