Hell’s Kitchen woke up this morning to a new neighbor. Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady arrived at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal just after midnight — becoming the first ship to berth at Piers 88/90 since USNS Comfort docked in April 2020 at the height of the pandemic. The Scarlet Lady is here to party — she won’t be taking passengers on a cruise.

Virgin’s Scarlet Lady at Pier 88 early this morning. Photo: Phil O’Brien

New York is preparing to bring sailings back to the west side. We reported last month that Norwegian will make the first sailing from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on September 26 to Bermuda.

Scarlet Lady arrived into New York yesterday — initially docking at Bayonne, New Jersey. The ship had sailed from Portsmouth after spending a summer in the United Kingdom. The 2,800 passenger liner enjoyed a summer season sailing in UK waters after the CDC cruise restrictions in America curtailed plans for a stateside launch. The brand new luxury liner had originally been scheduled to make Miami its base, with regular cruises to the Caribbean — however, the pandemic scuppered those plans.

Virgin’s Scarlet Lady berthed next to Intrepid Museum this morning. Photo: Laura Hickman

The ship is 909 feet long — which compares to the mere 822 feet of Intrepid berthed on the next pier. Virgin shares in their “sassy stats” that the mega-cruise ship’s total electrical power is 48,000kW (enough to power a small US city).

However, don’t pack your bags yet — as Scarlet Lady isn’t taking on passengers for a trip! The ship has berthed for a “limited and exclusive series of events” from Thursday, September 16 to Saturday, September 18. “It’s an opportunity to experience Scarlet Lady, giving you all the vacation vibes without leaving Manhattan. Dive in and explore our amazing lineup of must-attend events spanning food, music and culture,” say organizers Thrillist and Virgin Voyages.

Virgin’s Scarlet Lady at Pier 88 early this morning. Photo: Phil O’Brien

The Revvel event is offering a “Feeling Nauty Drag Pool Party” hosted by Trixie Mattel and The House of Yes, and a music festival starring Major Lazer Soundsystem. There’s the chance to dine at one of the six restaurants on board. The “Sweat and Sip Workouts” offer the opportunity to join “the influencers you watch at home” for an “epic workout party.”

VIP customers can chose to stay overnight on the Scarlet Lady. “If you’re the kind of person who sees the break of dawn as their curfew, then Virgin Voyages has got you covered,” said the organizers of the three-day landlocked party.

Pier 88 is getting ready to welcome passengers again — even if they won’t be going anywhere. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Virgin Voyages say that all attendees will require proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 antigen test to attend any of the events.

At the end of August, the CDC issued new advice to recommend travelers who are at increased risk for severe illness avoid cruise ship travel, regardless of vaccination status.

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