Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages has thrown out the traditional cruise dining rule book and will launch groundbreaking restaurants to rival the food scene of world famous cities.
Set to disrupt the cruise cuisine industry, Virgin Voyages’ first ship, Scarlet Lady will offer more than 20 restaurants, seaside lounges and casual eateries when she launches in 2020.
“There will be no stuffy formalities, boring buffets and no main dining rooms,” said Branson. There will also be no assigned seating and no assigned dining times with restaurants open well into the night. And no extra charge for any of the specialty restaurants.
Instead guests will be able to savour experimental and haute cuisine to healthy quick bite options with a “made-to-order” philosophy throughout the ship.
The most glamorous restaurant is Wake offering a “theatrical take on steak and seafood” inspired by the Wolseley in London and The Grill in New York. Wake will also have a raw bar, a table-side cocktail cart and a sommelier-led Magnum program.
There’s also Razzle Dazzle offering vegetarian fare with a twist – delivering “ a healthy dose of nice with just the right amount of wrong.”
To live up to its name, Razzle Dazzle will host “Drag Brunch” with shows by the ship’s resident drag performer.
Then there’s Test Kitchen, offering avant-garde cuisine in a modern space inspired by Escoffier’s Ma Cuisine. The laboratory-like eatery will function as part cooking school and part restaurant with cooking classes, mixology school to coffee labs. There will also be a few late-night lock-ins where guests can raid the chef’s fridge and tuck into a midnight feast.
For a touch of Asian fare, there’s Geonbae (bottoms up in Korean), a Korean BBQ restaurant hosted by the loudest waiters with each meal beginning with a complimentary round of soju at each table. Throughout the evening, guests are encouraged to take part in lively Korean drinking games to liven the dining experience.
There’s also an elevated Mexican restaurant called Pink Agave offering Mexican specialties like tlayudas, memelas, sopes, tortas, esquites and tamales. Dishes can be paired with a cocktail from the ship’s expansive collection of mezcals. Pink Agave is designed as a lively shared plate restaurant experience where the DJ amps up the energy of the room.
For guests who want to hang out day and night, there’s Dock on deck 7 with carts of Mediterranean small plates, salads, dips, mezzes and flame grilled to order skewers for those wanting a more substantial bite to eat.
There is also The Galley., a food hall comprising a cornucopia of different restaurants for casual dining. There’s also a bakery and pastry shop, a Panini shop, a burger grill, a taco shack and sushi bar with bento boxes.
No ship is complete without a pizza joint. In Scarlet Lady, there’s The Pizza Place where guests can design their own bespoke pizza, freshly made while they wait. The Pizza Place will have hammocks for lounging and be the casual chill out spot and late-night, hunger buster go-to.
Scarlet Lady’s inaugural voyage in 2020 will be in the Caribbean with 2770 sailors (guests) and 1160 crew.