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Red sky at night delight for Scarlet Lady after spending summer in the city

Scarlet Lady

Portsmouth waved goodbye to Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady in spectacular fashion on Friday 3 September, lighting the Spinnaker Tower red as she headed across the Atlantic to New York after spending three months in the city, winning the hearts of local residents who enjoyed the familiar sight of the newest kid on the cruise block sailing in and out of the harbour.

Over 8,000 passengers enjoyed the Summer Soiree Series, which saw Virgin Voyages launch their world’s first commercial sailing from Portsmouth.

A pop-up terminal was created to host passengers, known in Virgin parlance as sailors, keeping strict Covid-19 health protocols in place after the Center for Disease Control (CDC) cruise restrictions in America curtailed plans for stateside launch, sailors instead enjoyed a season sailing in domestic UK waters.

Scarlet Lady brought a much-needed boost to the city after a challenging year, and we were honoured to receive an open letter of thanks from the Virgin Voyages team.

The letter read:

Ahoy Portsmouth

For the last month, you’ve welcomed us to your home and you will forever have a place in our heart. We couldn’t be more grateful for your support as we sailed for the first time. 

You have an incredible history, Thousands of sailors have seen the world after sailing from this port and come back with tales to tell. We’ve added thousands more to those that had epic experiences and journeys of a lifetime that all started right here from your home. 

While Scarlet Lady is saying Bon Voyage after a brilliant Summer Soiree season, we can’t wait to see you next year when our second ship, Valiant Lady, makes her debut, right here. She’s quite the head turner too, and there’s nowhere else we’d rather start her off. 

Thank you. 

Sea you soon



Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port’s director said: “Seeing Scarlet Lady in the port has been the result of years of hard work, from securing investment to extend our cruise berth to accommodate larger ships, to building confidence with the Virgin Voyages’ team that we could look after their world first sailing.

“Everyone at the port stepped up, during the most challenging time, to make sure this was a success and I’m so proud of their hard work and professionalism.

“It has also been impressive to see the Virgin team in operation too, some spending months in the city to make sure everything went smoothly, becoming very fond of Portsmouth in the process.

“We want to become the port of choice for luxury, boutique cruises, and with plans for a terminal extension underway we’re on our way there.

“We’re looking forward to seeing Virgin’s new build Valiant Lady in the city next year, and welcoming back the team. In the meantime, the hard work continues as we continue to build our position as a major player in the cruise industry.”