Recently I was contacted by Virgin Voyages asking if I’d be up for joining them on an all expenses paid trip to Portofino to check out their new cruise liner - The Scarlet Lady - being built in their Genoa shipyard.

Hmmmmm tough decision.. NOT!

In truth though, I was a little sceptical. Cruise liner? I mean, I associated cruising with being 60 and retired. I was assured by Virgin that this wasn’t a cruising experience like any other, that the decor was very cool and they were shaking things up. It was adults only, designed with the millennial traveller in mind.

I got it, I mean Virgin are known for disrupting industries and it’s been a brand I’ve been a long time fan of. So I agreed (the idea of a trip to Portofino also swayed me a little hehe)…


Our first stop was in London, where as part of London Fashion week, Virgin Voyages were announcing their new uniform designed by none other than London’s own Gareth Pugh at the Royal Opera House. The night was filled with fun, I met Billie Porter (who taught me the tricks on how to wear high heels because I most definitely cannot), Cristina Aguilera performed and the new uniform was revealed!

Think capes, superhero swag and a lot of fun. What a night!

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Uniform reveal party @ LFW - Gareth Pugh


After a fun filled night at the Royal Opera House for the uniform reveal we had an early start to jump on a plane and head to Genoa, where the Scarlet Lady (the Virgin cruise liner) is currently under construction. Virgin put us up in the gorgeous Imperiale Palace Hotel in Portofino for the duration of the trip. I’ve visited Portofino once before with hubby for our ten year anniversary so it was so nice to go back. It’s GORGEOUS!

On the trip with me were fellow influencers Bright Bazaar, 2LG studio, Mary Elizabeth and Karin Bohn. They were all so lovely.

The day we arrived we wasted no time in getting down to the hotels’ private lido for a quick dip in the sea…



On our second day in Genoa we drove over to the shipyard where we finally got to set eyes on the Scarlet Lady!

The ship is still under construction but we got suited up in protective gear and headed on board to see it come to life. I’ve never been on a cruise ship before so it was really interesting to see how it feels. The interiors they are putting together look INSANE. Some spaces have been designed by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio - a favourite of mine, alongside Roman and Williams in New York, Concrete Amsterdam, Softroom in London, and WorkAC in New York. What’s really interesting is that to shake things up Virgin Voyages used designers and architects who have never worked on ship design before. A risk that is seriously paying off.

The design of the ship is all about ‘Grit and Glamour’. Half luxury, high end spaces, half casual hang outs. It’s basically Shoreditch on Sea!

Think coffee shops, Ice cream parlours, retail spaces, outdoor hangouts - there’s even a tattoo parlour on board called ‘squid ink’. I mean, this is Virgin, would you expect anything less?!

It was amazing to see how it’s all coming together…



Here’s a look at what’s being created…

I mean have you ever seen anything like it on a cruise liner?!


What I really love about Virgin Voyages is that they have decided to wrap all costs into one. Now I didn’t know this but usually when you take a cruise you pay for your cruise but then on board you’re hit with another set of costs - one for a drinks package, one for tips etc…

Virgin have made it super simple by wrapping everything up in one price. So that mean on board all soft drinks, food and tips are included! The only thing you pay for is booze, which is fair. I love the transparency of this. Plus, it excited me a lot that I could go to any of the below eateries and stuff my face all included!


Another cool fact? Scarlet Lady has a female captain. Now if that’s not reason enough to book now..


After our tour around the ship we were treated to a little ship of our own, a vintage sailboat trip around the coast of Portofino. This beautiful sailboat has had the likes of JFK and Marilyn Monroe on board… and now ME!



Honestly? I’m totally swayed. I’ve already been researching how long my mum would babysit the kids for so that Jason and I could go on a Virgin Voyage with our mates - imagine it? BLISS!

You can find out more about the cruises they have planned and see more of the Scarlet Lady’s gorgeous design by clicking here.

See you cruising sometime soon?

S x

Sarah Akwisombe