United Kingdom

Inside Sir Richard Branson's first cruise ship, Scarlet Lady

Sir Richard Branson has unveiled his first-ever Virgin Voyages cruise ship today in Dover.

The luxury 17-deck ship - Scarlet Lady - is the first of four Virgin Voyages ships that will come into service each year for the next four years. 

Newly-released photographs reveal some of the vessel's standout features, including marble-clad bathrooms, spacious suites, grand spiral staircases, elegant cocktail bars and an outdoor running track.

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Sir Richard Branson has unveiled his first-ever Virgin Voyages cruise ship today in Dover

Newly-released photos show the vessel's slick interiors, with this spiral staircase being one of the many standout features

On Scarlet Lady buffets are banned. Instead, there are more than 20 eateries to whet the appetite, ranging from brunch bars to swanky restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs

The interiors of the adult-only ship were masterminded by a team of top designers, including Tom Dixon 

The luxury 17-deck ship, christened Scarlet Lady, is the first of four Virgin Voyages ships that will come into service each year for the next four years

The interiors of the adult-only ship were masterminded by a team of top designers, including Tom Dixon.

The Roman and Williams design studio, known for its work with notable celebrity residences as well as eye-catching hotels like The Standard Highline in New York City, also got on board with the cruise project.

On the entertainment front, Sir Richard and his team have pushed the boat out. Travellers are told to 'grab your glad rags, throw on your dancing shoes and be prepared to be amazed'. 

Options on offer include music gigs, club nights, comedy shows and drag-artist performances.

Each ship contains 1,330 cabins and 78 Rockstar suites, two of which offer 'full rock star treatment', including in-room guitars and amplifiers.

Interior shots show how the suites come with floor-to-ceiling windows and the bathrooms have been finished with marble-clad walls, roomy showers and deep bathtubs.

A view of the outdoor running track on the Scarlet Lady, with prime sea views

Each ship contains 1,330 cabins and 78 Rockstar suites, with chic and modern interiors 

Globally the cruise industry is booming with passenger numbers almost doubling in the past decade from 17.8million in 2009 to a forecast 32million this year

Two of the Rockstar suites offer the full rock star treatment and come complete with guitars and amplifiers

Virgin Voyages promises to shake up the cruising industry with its new fleet. Pictured is the ship's upscale Mexican restaurant

The bathrooms aboard the Scarlet Lady look fit for a luxury hotel, with marble-clad walls, roomy showers and deep bathtubs

Virgin Voyages' on-board restaurant Razzle Dazzle features a vegetarian-friendly menu

Sir Richard says after five decades working in so many industries 'we can offer a voyage like no other'

On Scarlet Lady, traditional cruise buffets are banned. Instead, there are more than 20 eateries to whet the appetite, ranging from brunch bars to swanky restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs. 

The Scarlet Lady website states the ship 'will make sure you never run out of energy, with some of the best dining experiences on the high seas'. 

There is also a major focus on wellness with spas, gyms, yoga, wellness pools and even a mud room on board.

Traditional tourist excursions at local ports will be replaced with visits to exclusive beach clubs and more off-the-beaten-track experiences will be on offer.

And as you would expect from Virgin, the crew will be dressed in unique uniforms. 

Speaking at the Scarlet Lady's launch Sir Richard, Virgin Group founder, said: 'I have dreamed of starting my own cruise line since I was in my 20s and I'm thrilled that moment has arrived. 

This bar is called Draught Haus, which is located on deck seven

Sir Richard said at the Dover launch that the Virgin Voyages team has 'worked with some of the world's most sought-after designers, artists and architects to craft an extraordinary experience'. Above, a shot of the ship's spa area

Passengers can nip for a snip at the ship's salon. There is also a men's grooming area, for a 'tidy up, trim, or a full-scale wet shave'

Large windows allow plenty of natural light to flood in at one of the ship's dining areas 

A range of beauty treatments will be available on board the ship including manicures, pedicures and massages

The ship's sauna features giant windows looking out to sea (left), while the gym area includes an outdoor boxing ring (right) 

'The Scarlet Lady is truly special and we've worked with some of the world's most sought-after designers, artists and architects to craft an extraordinary experience. 

'The benefit of our five decades in business in so many industries is that we can offer a voyage like no other.' 

Scarlet Lady arrived in the UK after five days of sea trials out of the port of Genoa in Italy. She was built at the city's Fincantieri shipyard.

From Dover, she will head to Liverpool for two days before heading across the Atlantic for a star-studded reception in New York, and then on to Miami. In April she will set off from there on her inaugural passenger voyage - a trip around the Caribbean.

Routes on offer include a five-day sailing to Costa Maya in Mexico, Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, and a quick getaway to Key West and the Bahamas.

The ship will later be joined by Valiant Lady, which will feature seven-night Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona, Spain, when she debuts in May 2021. 

Routes on offer include a five-day sailing to Costa Maya in Mexico, Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, and a quick getaway to Key West and the Bahamas

A peek inside the Art Deco-styled bar at the Manor, the Scarlet Lady’s exclusive nightclub 

This is the Wake restaurant on Scarlet Lady. This eatery offers diners a dramatic view of the ship's wake

On deck five there is a spa area with the interiors 'inspired by an underwater cave'

Virgin Voyages says the ship features 'dazzling contemporary design' and will 'reinvigorate the cruise industry in the same way Virgin Atlantic did for aviation'

Scarlet Lady arrived in the UK after five days of sea trials out of the port of Genoa in Italy. She was built at the city's Fincantieri shipyard 

Virgin Voyages says the ship features 'dazzling contemporary design' and will 'reinvigorate the cruise industry in the same way Virgin Atlantic did for aviation'.

The new cruise line touts its use of Climeon, a technology that utilises heat generated from the ship's engines to create electricity, thereby decreasing the demand for fuel.

Virgin Voyages says it is working towards a 'net zero future' for the cruise industry. 

Globally the cruise industry is booming with passenger numbers almost doubling in the past decade from 17.8million in 2009 to a forecast 32million this year.

The latest cruise industry report reveals there are now 55 cruise lines globally with a total of 278 ocean ships and another 19 scheduled to debut in 2020, including Scarlet Lady. 

According to the same report the cruise industry is worth $150billion (£116billion) worldwide and sustains 1,177,000 jobs.