Virgin Voyages recently announced the breadth of its onboard eateries, which include an expansive array of restaurants ranging from haute cuisine to casual fare. With a total of 20+ food choices onboard Virgin Voyages’ first ship, Scarlet Lady, the company released new designs for their restaurants, seaside lounges and casual eateries by their Creative Collective, which includes world-renowned designers from Roman and Williams, Tom Dixon, Concrete Amsterdam and Soft Room, amongst others.
Virgin Voyages does not believe in paying more for great food and ditched the traditional upcharges levied when dining in specialty restaurants at sea. Virgin Voyages has designed all eateries on board to offer exceptional made to order eats and opted to include all restaurant food in the voyage fare.
“We want our eateries to delight and ignite serendipitous experiences for our sailors, so have set out on a mission to capture the spirit of dining in the best cities of the world and bring it to sea,” said Tom McAlpin, president and chief executive officer for Virgin Voyages. “Because food is the fuel for our bodies and souls, and we’re Virgin Voyages, naturally it all had to be included within your ticket price.”
The Virgin Voyages Rebellious Luxe experience is rooted in the modern romance of sailing: a thoroughly new take on the formal grandeur and opulence of the ocean liner heyday when ships were at the forefront of both technology and luxury. Virgin Voyages will offer sailors a uniquely elevated and boutique Adult-by-Design experience for the 18+ traveler. Virgin Voyages aims to be one of the cleanest fleets at sea, with a ban on single-use plastics for its sailors and no buffet on board the ship, the company will significantly reduce waste and reinvest savings into clean technology and quality products for its sailors. The Scarlet Lady is designed to reflect a yacht’s sleek luxury and will set sail from PortMiami for the 2020 season with 2,770 sailors and 1,160 crew on an unforgettable journey to the Caribbean, she will also be the newest ship sailing to Havana on select voyages.
There’s a Virgin twist on everything you’ll see aboard the Scarlet Lady, which means there will be no stuffy formalities, boring buffets and no main dining rooms. Sailors are not going to want to leave our ship after they experience how we’ve designed our restaurants and tasted the dishes we are going to be serving up in 2020,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.
Virgin Voyages will bring city-like eating to sea and throw out the traditional cruise dining rule book, with no buffet, no main dining room, no forced formal wear, no assigned seating, no assigned dining times and enhanced the choice for sailors to grab a bite by keeping restaurant doors open until well into the night and in some cases the early hours of the morning.
With beautifully-designed eateries setting the stage, Virgin Voyages has expanded its Creative Collective to include the world class AvroKO Hospitality Group, AvroKO's strategy arm, Brand Bureau (BB), and their very own Michelin-starred chef Brad Farmerie. BB took the reigns creating the strategy for the entire on-board food and beverage experience, viewing it as its own small city and thinking through what experiences the people of that city would want and enjoy. Chef Brad Farmerie of AvroKO Hospitality Group came in to help develop the overall culinary programming strategy and identify culinary experts in the various cuisine types to execute each of the exciting menus. AvroKO Hospitality Group’s portfolio includes Saxon + Parole, Genuine Liquorette, and Ghost Donkey.
“When working with the Virgin Voyages team, we were inspired by some of the best dining spots around the world but also had to gaze into what the future of dining would look like to bring the most alluring restaurant concepts to sea,” said Executive Chef Brad Farmerie from AvroKO Hospitality Group. “Each restaurant will not only serve delicious food, they will also have a unique vibe and energy to them to satiate sailor’s hunger for excitement and restoration while on vacation.
From experimental and haute cuisine to healthy quick bite options, the onboard eateries are tailored for sailors to realize new experiences that are grounded in core values of discovery, transformation, intimate connections and Vitamin Sea - the brand’s approach to well-being for people and the planet - whilst always being never normal.
Sailors can dine at a table or opt to enjoy their meal at the bar, with nearly all restaurants on board featuring a bar. Each restaurant will be helmed by a leading chef who leads their kitchen with passion and artfulness. With a made-to-order philosophy around food, Virgin Voyages pledges to never have to sacrifice quality for a quick bite.
Situated in a 5,866 square foot restaurant at the aft of the ship, designed by Roman and Williams, Wake offers sailors a dramatic view of the ship’s wake. Serving a theatrical take on steak and seafood, Wake is the most glamorous restaurant on the ship with an experience inspired by The Wolseley - London and The Grill - New York, a dramatic grand staircase. Offerings include a raw bar (design inspired by the bow of a speedboat), land and sea classics, a table-side cocktail cart and a Sommelier led Magnum program.
With an interior scheme that nods to the namesake, the bold camouflaging of ships from WWI using patterns of black and white paint, Razzle Dazzle was designed by Concrete Amsterdam. With vibrant and creative twists on vegetarian fare and a juice bar. Razzle Dazzle delivers a healthy dose of nice with just the right amount of wrong. The “nice” menu offers plant-based vegetarian and vegan dishes including must have muchies such as the Impossible Burger. The “naughty” side enables sailors to order meat “add-ons” and offers to spike their healthy smoothies with boozy shots.
To live up to the boldness of its name, Razzle Dazzle will not simply brunch but rather Drag Brunch, where sailors are treated to a performance by the Scarlet Lady’s resident drag performer and friends. For a small fee, sailors can opt to enjoy bottomless drag-inspired cocktails like the “Yasss Queen” and the Razzle Dizzle, a CBD infused cocktail.
The Test Kitchen
The Test Kitchen will offer sailors innovative and avant-garde cuisine in a clean and modern space designed by Concrete Amsterdam. Inspired by Escoffier’s Ma Cuisine, this laboratory-like eatery is part cooking school and part restaurant, making it the ultimate place for discovery through cuisine with an atmosphere that is educational, experiential and social all in one. The chef-driven set menus are presented in the form of an ingredient list to Sailors who will discover how the chef combines the list of flavours throughout the course of the meal.
This eatery hosts a number of different experiences throughout the voyage from cooking classes, to mixology school to coffee labs, and even a few late-night lock-ins, where sailors will be invited to raid the chef’s fridge and dig into a midnight feast.
Geonbae, the equivalent of the expression bottoms up in Korean, is a Korean BBQ restaurant designed by Soft Room. Hosted by the loudest servers at sea, each meal will begin with a complimentary round of soju for the table and throughout the evening sailors are encouraged to take part in lively Korean drinking games. A social, hands on, interactive, fun dining experience, Geonbae features specially engineered flameless grills built into each table and invites Sailors to literally play with their food as they cook their perfect BBQ.
An elevated Mexican restaurant designed by Tom Dixon, Pink Agave transports sailors to the vibrant streets of Mexico City through immersive void lighting. Offering a wide variety of Mexican specialties that inspire sailors to discover authentic Mexican flavors including tlayudas, memelas, sopes, tortas, esquites, and tamales. Pink Agave’s dishes can be paired with a cocktail from the Scarlet Lady’s expansive collection of mezcals, or signature Agua Fresca cocktails. Pink Agave is designed to be a lively shared plate restaurant experience, where the DJ amps up the energy of the room as the evening hours slip away.
Extra Virgin is the ships trattoria serving regionally-inspired and approachable food, deeply rooted in Italian culinary traditions with handmade fresh pasta made daily. A meal begins with shared antipasti followed by approachable pasta-centric favorites. Extra Virgin features a wide and wonderful world of amari and digestivi and traditional Italian aperitifs designed to stimulate the appetite. The wine list will be designed with a unique infographic system to help sailors better understand Italian wines and enable them to navigate to the perfect bottle. The integration of a Coravin at the bar will allow sailors to taste rare Italian wines by the glass. Extra Virgin will offer an Aperitivo hour each day with drink specials and small plates.
The dock is a perfect place to hang day and night. Set in the ship’s sun-dappled lounging area at the aft of the ship on deck 7, The Dock is a beach club-inspired space designed by Roman and Williams. Carts of Mediterranean small plates, salads, dips and mezzes provide perfect graving options throughout the day. Flame grilled to order skewers provide filling hot options for those wanting a substantial bite to eat.
Modeled on popular food halls where visitors can taste a cornucopia from different restaurants, The Galley will be the main space for the quick and casual meal throughout the day. The food hall will feature a mix of more than eight shops and food carts, each offering a unique concept with irresistible signature dishes that changes to suit the time of day. The Galley’s concepts include a dedicated bakery and pastry shop, a panini shop, a burger grill, a taco shack, a sushi bar with bento boxes, a noodle bar, a soup and salad stand, and a 24-hour American diner.
The Pizza Place
No pre-cooked pizza slices sitting under warming lamps will be found on Scarlet Lady. The Pizza Place delivers the quick, easy and deliciously satisfying meal. Sailors can choose from the classic menu or allow them to design their very own bespoke pizza. The Pizza Place features a brilliant beach club-inspired design with white and pastel colored furniture hues and navy striped accent pillows and hammocks for lounging. This casual chill out spot is a great lunch time destination, as well as the perfect late-night, post drink, hunger buster go-to.
More details on the new lifestyle brand’s experiences will be revealed throughout the coming year. Those interested in Virgin Voyages can enter to win a tasty free voyage (open to residents of US and Canada only) now through November 16 by visiting www.virginvoyages.com and opting into the sweepstakes by entering their email address.