Table-top dancing, champagne on demand and a strict adults-only policy — it sounds more like an after-party than a pleasure cruise through the Caribbean.
But a cruise ship from billionaire Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson was never going to follow the same, safe formula we've seen on cruise ships before.
Sir Richard has promised to "disrupt" the cruise industry when his four-year-old venture Virgin Voyages dispatches its first ship, the adults-only Scarlet Lady, to the high seas next year.
In Sydney today to announce a new partnership between Virgin Voyages and Virgin Australia — which will fly Australian travellers to Miami to board the ship — Sir Richard told news.com.au how the Scarlet Lady was in a league of her own.
"She is very 'Virgin'," he said. "She's going to be a fun cruise for people to go on. If they want to dance, there's plenty of dancing. If they want to chill, there's plenty of chilling.
"I think there are some people who would never dream of going on cruises and all our research suggests people are willing to give Virgin a try when we launch a new business and generally they're happy with the results."
The 110,000 gross tonne, Italian-built Scarlet Lady — which is the first of four ships on order by Virgin Voyages — will set off on her maiden voyage to the Caribbean from Miami in April 2020.
Accommodating 2770 passengers, which the company refers to as "sailors", the ship is designed to look more like a sleek, luxurious yacht than a mega-cruise ship.
It features 1330 stylish cabins with mood lighting, 78 "Rock Star" suites and four "Mega Star" suites that come with standing hot tubs and guitar-lined music rooms.
Gone are the massive buffets — the Scarlet Lady has more than 30 more intimate restaurants instead. A "Shake For Champagne" service lets cruisers have bubbly delivered to them, wherever they are, in moments with a literal shake of their smartphone. In a nod towards Virgin's rock n' roll heritage, there is a tattoo parlour on board, as well as a vinyl record store, and there will be plenty of on-board revelry, Sir Richard said.
"I'm a great believer that every table should be made to dance on and in our Rock Star suites we even have stairs going up to the table so people can get up there and dance," he said.
"The nice thing is we're trying to treat everybody as rock stars. We've got big verandas where people can sit outside their suites looking at the beautiful views they're going to enjoy as they travel around the Caribbean."
Virgin Voyages chief commercial officer Nirmal Saverimuttu told news.com.au this was a ship for people who would not typically consider a cruise holiday.
"Virgin is a mindset, it's for people seeking that cooler, hipper, younger-feeling experience," he said.
"A lot of people afraid of 'mass'. We've seen a trend in the industry towards bigger and bigger ships, so we built mid-size ships so we can offer more intimate spaces.
"We don't have big dining halls, or big buffets — our biggest restaurant has 200 seats.
"We put bars in our restaurants, and no one has bars in their restaurants on ships. But if you think about how you live your everyday life, in London or New York or Sydney, we always go to the bar in the restaurant and have a drink before (a meal)."
From today, travellers can buy packages through Virgin Australia Holidays to experience the Scarlet Lady for themselves.