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The Scarlet Lady

Dominican Daze… a perfect description for Virgin Voyages’ dreamy 5 night getaway to the Caribbean. Setting sail from Miami, I had the pleasure of joining the Scarlet Lady and her crew on a journey to the Dominican Republic and The Bahamas – and it’s one that I won’t forget. From the second you enter the terminal, you are greeted with friendly faces and an instant feeling of luxury. The vessel itself breaks all stereotypes and feels more like a floating 5 star hotel than a cruise ship. The cabins are pristine with modern features such as iPads to control the mood lighting, the movies and even the curtains.

Decked out with 20+ eateries (with Michelin chefs behind the menus) Virgin Voyages really have pulled out all the stops when it comes to the dining experience. Moving away from the typical buffet style food you would usually have on a cruise, the restaurants serve full meals and the level of standard is exceptional. A particular highlight would have to be The Test Kitchen where you are served 6 experimental courses, each paired with your desired choice of beverage. Dressed in laboratory style attire, the staff prepare dishes in front of you and the menu is full of surprises to say the least. Another memorable culinary moment was Gunbae; a Korean BBQ which transports you to Asia and hosts staff that hold such passion for their cuisine. Every restaurant has such impeccable interior design that not only the memory of the food stays with you, the setting that you experienced it in does too.
 
The level of entertainment on the boat was diverse and far reaching. Starting with an afternoon performance of Darillo, a Brazilian born singer who performed in solo with an acoustic guitar. He had a beautiful voice with hints Of Newton Faulkner about him and a very accomplished guitarist too. The set was a very chilled with songs ranging from Lionel Ritchie to John Mayer, a fine way to spend the afternoon with a cocktail or two..
The ship has a bespoke boutique like theatre titled The Red Room. A state of the art space with multiple layouts that immerses you In the performance on a far more intimate level The Red Room showcased two shows during the voyage, Ships in the Night and Duel Reality.
 
Ships in The Night Is an eclectic and unusual view of us as individuals and how our lives pass by and rarely touch each other. This was set to a soundtrack of songs from Adamski ,Super Tramp,Bowie, Charlie xcx, Miley Cirus., Culture club and Sylvester. The use of cutting edge visual technology and immersive choreography guided you through this pensive journey beautifully.
 
The second show by the 7 fingers team was Duel Reality. This was loosely based on the Montagues and the Capulets and the love story of Rome and Juliet. The struggle of the waring families Is set in a gladiatorial arena where battles are represented by acrobatic competitions. The stunning array of juggling, acrobatic and balancing performances during the battlesIs are truly breath taking, from the coolest hula hoop routine to a see saw showdown and gravity defying trapeze. This Is really a new interpretation of a classic and performed by a remarkably talented troupe.
Through the voyage members of both cast will appear around the ship dancing, singing and tirelessly bringing good vibes to all and ending up with a final spectacular on the Top deck party for The Scarlet Night where all cast and passengers Revell in the ships amazing top deck pool for one last party.
 
If you haven’t had enough entertainment from the shows there Is the Manor, this Is a two story club that has Its influence set circa 1976 around New Yorks legendary Studio 54. This has a an old school table service and three bars to choose from. Then DJ spins tunes from back In the day from the likes of Earth Wind and Fire, Rick James, Chic and Moroder This is all set to the back drop of a state of the art disco light rig giving the audience a real chance to get the party started.
 
The bar showcases the house band, that play 2 sets a night with all the classics hits and a big selection of Spanish hits as well. The band are great players and rock hard, and again lead by the unique voice of Darillo. Also in the bar, early evenings offer a sing along set with your Latin hostess and with all the Latin classics to get you In the mood for the evenings festivities.
 
If all of this has left you still needing more music there Is always the opportunity to be the star of your own show in the Karaoke arena. There are several pop up karaoke spots during the cruise but If you wan to get serious about It you can book a session at The Groupie.This Is a bespoke set of studios/lounges with great Mics and PA so you can feature In your own version of a Star Is Born.
 

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The Scarlet Lady is a ship that you never want to get off… but when you do, finding yourself on the tropical shores of the Dominican Republic or the Bahamas isn’t a bad alternative. Being chauffeured to Virgin’s private beach club in Bimini means that, whilst the adventure can continue island-style, you really don’t have to lift a finger. The white sand and crystal waters that surround you are the perfect accompaniment to the Caribbean style lunch that the chefs prepare for you and then serenaded with a ukulele led band of minstrels on the beach at sundown.
 
It really is impossible to summerize the experience that is a Virgin Voyage. The attention to detail and level of service and entertainment that the crew provide makes the cruise truly spectacular and I know I’ll be returning for more.
 
By Gary Wallis 
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Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!