Travel Retail Highlights

At sea with the Scarlet Lady

One of the most eagerly anticipated new cruiseship launches of the year took place on 6 August as Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady made her maiden voyage from Portsmouth. It features an innovative offer and groundbreaking design from retail partner Harding across 550sq m of space. For Harding, the opening represents a “radical step change” in its approach to cruise retailing, as it targets a new cruise customer “that is right and relevant for the Virgin Voyages brand”.

Dash of colour: Accessories (above) and fine jewellery (below) occupy prime space at the heart of the onboard offer on the ‘adult-by-design’ Virgin Voyages vessel

Harding has worked alongside Virgin Voyages for four years to deliver a range of ‘adult-by-design’ retail spaces. Harding said the spaces are unlike any brand solutions it has created before. These target a curious and ‘craver’ experience-led demographic, the result of guest surveys, focus groups, brand roadshows and partnership discussions. The tax and duty free offer features over 50 first-at-sea brands including Vivienne Westwood, Davines, Kat Maconie and MAC Cosmetics. Harding also exclusively revealed the Chanel Les Eaux collection onboard. A further highlight is a striking pop-up store from luxury brand Bvlgari, featuring collections including B.Zero1, Bvlgari Bvlgari, Serpenti, Divas’ Dream and Octo. A strong focus on sustainability is also a central feature, said the partners. Harding and Virgin Voyages have committed to reduce single-use paper and plastic through the supply and distribution chain onboard, including bags. Only if a customer requires a bag will they be given one, and in these cases, Turtle bags or paper bags will be made available.

Virgin vinyl: Exclusive limited-edition records are available as part of an eclectic range; below, Virgin branded merchandise

Innovative materials, textures and colours combine to create theatrical and modern retail spaces, noted Harding. These include an onboard vinyl store and karaoke studio. An exclusive limited-edition red vinyl of The Sex Pistols LP is available from launch, with only 1,000 copies available and 30% of the sales going to Ocean Unite. Ocean Unite works to unify and amplify key ocean messages and engage decision-makers through its network. The organisation aims to protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030 through a network of support for marine areas and building ocean resilience. Harding Managing Director James Prescott commented: “With operations in the US, UK and Europe, working with Virgin Voyages over the last four years and through the COVID pause on such an important journey for both our brands – and cruise retail as a whole – has been an incredible experience.

Bvlgari burns bright: The pop-up concept offers an elegant luxury experience

“Bolstered by Harding’s global presence, we’re looking forward to working closely with the Virgin Voyages team as we embark on Scarlet Lady’s maiden voyage and as we look to curate more innovative retail experiences. We are also looking forward to the launch of both Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady in the near future, where we are curating further enhancements relevant to Sailors.” Virgin Voyages Senior Director of Hotel Partnership Management Sally Barford added: “Harding has been a fantastic partner and really helped us out the boundaries of the retail offering on cruise ships. We challenged the team to help us curate a bold and refreshingly different collection of brands that offer our sailors the flexibility and diversity of the high street at sea.”


The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 299 | 17 August 2021

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 15 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd). © All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Publisher. To find out more visit and to subscribe, please e-mail

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