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What went wrong? - Scarlet Lady and "Project Mile"


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Just wanted to start a discussion as someone who was/is very excited for Virgin Voyages and thinks it has potential to disrupt the market despite existing faves.


Biggest confusing point for me so far has been the ship design itself....not even the decor which it seems is polarizing, but the actual planning/design/blueprint/structure of the vessel.

In case any one is not familiar, Virgin built the Lady ships' designs based off of ship-builder's, Fincantieri's "Project Mile" innovative new design for vessels, allowing ships to have a wide, never before seen open-air promenade. 


The first line to bring this to market was of course MSC, with the MSC Seaside class, which in my opinion had a home-run with this and did a great job (rendering of the open air promenade and advantages of Project Mile shown below):

MSC Seaside - Itinerary Schedule, Current Position | CruiseMapper




What feels a bit confusing is why Virgin Voyages decided to design their ships with the "Project Mile" prototype (which by the way has the con of having a narrower main-body as shown above), while taking away the advantages of such a design by not positioning this space for al-fresco dining, nice walks and views, an additional pool area, etc. and instead, covering it up with lifeboats as MSC cleverly navigated around! It felt like that's the whole appeal of that type of ship design and wanted to pose the question in case someone with more experience/knowledge about this topic could answer it.


Arrival of Virgin Voyage's SCARLET LADY into Port Miami - 3/7/2020 ...

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Cuba becoming off limits, as well as a poor ship design, and not understanding the Florida market: much the same way, the MSC continually has done so, including with the Seaside that was actually built for Miami.

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I'm not sure we'll ever know why Virgin designed the ship the way it did when the Caribbean was the planned itinerary. Obviously all ship builders have a stock design and each cruise line can modify that design to suit their own tastes. 


I agree with you that Virgin missed some unique outdoor dining opportunities when they eliminated the 'boardwalk' area that is very well executed on the Seaside. But if it was on Scarlet Lady, then the similarities would have been much greater. Beyond the paint scheme, Virgin does want their ship to stand out and not 'look like another cruise line's ship.'  Virgin looks like they wanted more control over the guest's dining experiences by moving everything inside, especially with the clubs, lighting and music.


The one place Virgin really got it right are the aft cabins, those balconies are absolutely huge and we ended up upgrading to a Sweet Aft Suite for our rebooked cruise in 2021.  


The one place they really got it wrong for a Caribbean based ship was the pool. That lone pool is useless for a ship that will regularly be in upper 80's to 90 degree (F) weather.  We only rebooked because of the cruise credit offer they gave us and the fact that the food looks like it will live up to the hype. 

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