NEW YORK — As the Scarlet Lady moves from concept to full-fledged cruise ship, the next frontier — and the next reveal — for Virgin Voyages is dining.
The cruise line presented the looks of several restaurants during a high-octane evening in New York that began with a press conference, moved on to a multicourse dinner with a troupe of drag queens as the emcees, and culminated in a set by rocker Joan Jett.
Virgin said it engaged its “creative collective” of designers to conceive buzzy, fun eateries and partnered with chefs such as Brad Farmerie of Public and Saxon + Parole.
The line took inspiration from the great restaurants of major foodie cities, said Nirmal Saverimuttu, head of sailor experience and chief commercial officer.
In turn, he added, “we hope to inspire the cities that inspire us.”
What you won’t find on the ship is the main dining room, a buffet, or upcharges for speciality dining.
The restaurants have different high-concept designs, but the connecting thread seems to be a commitment to chic, clean, modern lines that appeal to sophisticated grownup tastes (no kids are allowed onboard). One point the Virgin brass made: bars are located inside each of the restaurants.
The restaurant with the most outer design is Razzle Dazzle, where the walls have bold, geometric patterns of black-and-white paint inspired by ship camouflage from World War I and a bar done up entirely in slick Virgin red. The menu will include a “nice” side with veggie and vegan offerings; the “naughty” side includes meat add-ons and the ability to add alcohol to the healthy smoothies.
This is also the location for a Drag Brunch, featuring the ship’s drag queen — yes, there will be a drag queen in residence — and cocktails like the Yaas Queen.
The laboratory-inspired Test Kitchen will be home to chef-table dinners and cooking, mixology and coffee-brewing classes. Passengers enter through a hallway papered with a Periodic Table of foodie elements.
Pink Agave is the ship’s Mexican restaurant; think upscale Mexico City for this look. “Authentic dishes that put an elevated twist on Mexican food,” Saverimuttu said. Virgin said it’s “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.”
There will be a Korean barbecue restaurant, Geonbae, where guests can cook at their table and enjoy a complimentary round of soju. Extra Virgin is the cruise line’s take on a trattoria.
The dock will be the Scarlet Lady’s al fresco lounge area. Galley will be more like a food hall than a buffet, featuring at least eight shops and food carts. Wake, situated in the ship’s aft section, will be the ship’s most upscale restaurant.
The Scarlet Lady is expected to make its debut in 2020.