Largest ever cruise ship to dock in Portsmouth dwarfs buildings as it sails into harbour

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Virgin Voyage's luxury cruise ship Scarlet Lady arrives into Portsmouth for the first time. The 110,000-tonne liner is the largest ship to have ever docked in the city, bigger than both of the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers. Picture date: Monday June 21, 2021. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Scarlet Lady is the largest ship to have ever docked in Portsmouth. (PA Images via Getty Images)

An 110,000 tonne cruise ship which is the biggest to ever dock in Portsmouth dwarfed the city as it sailed into harbour on Monday.

Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady wowed onlookers as it overshadowed buildings in the south coast city, even looming large over the Royal Navy's largest aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The 909 foot ship – part of Richard Branson's Virgin cruise empire – boasts more than 20 restaurants, a night club, a tattoo studio, and even its very own high street.

Eateries on board range from brunch bars to restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs, including vegetarian-forward cuisine

Virgin Voyage's luxury cruise ship Scarlet Lady arrives into Portsmouth for the first time. The 110,000-tonne liner is the largest ship to have ever docked in the city, bigger than both of the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers (pa)
Virgin Voyage's luxury liner is bigger than both of the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers (pa)

There is also a major focus on wellness with spas, gyms, yoga, wellness pools and even a mud room on-board.

Named after an early Virgin Atlantic plane, the boat has previously only sailed from homeports in Miami and San Juan.

Prices for a three-night stay in a two-person cabin start at £998.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, said the company are keen to set sail as soon as COVID restrictions allow.

"Virgin Voyages has been looking forward to sailing and we’re excited to announce our plans to sail from the UK," he said.

The 17-deck ship has space for 3,000 passengers but will operate at reduced capacity to allow for social distancing and guests will have to wear face coverings at times.

The Rockstar Quarters cabins were designed by Tom Dixon and guests booking the exclusive suites enjoy marble clad bathrooms and exclusive access to private areas onboard (Virgin Cruises)
The Rockstar Quarters cabins were designed by Tom Dixon and guests booking the exclusive suites enjoy marble clad bathrooms and exclusive access to private areas onboard. (Virgin Cruises)
The Virgin Cruises website shows the inside of a Sea View cabin on board the Scarlet Lady (Virgin Cruises)
The Virgin Cruises website shows the inside of a Sea View cabin on board the Scarlet Lady. (Virgin Cruises)
Virgin Voyage's luxury cruise ship Scarlet Lady arrives into Portsmouth for the first time. The 110,000-tonne liner is the largest ship to have ever docked in the city, bigger than both of the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers. Picture date: Monday June 21, 2021. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Virgin Voyage's luxury cruise ship Scarlet Lady arrives into Portsmouth for the first time. The 110,000-tonne liner is the largest ship to have ever docked in the city (Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)

Branson added: "Our team has curated such a fantastic experience for our sailors and know this is a holiday they will love."

Speaking at the ship's official launch last year, Branson told reporters: "I have dreamed of starting my own cruise line since I was in my twenties and I’m thrilled that moment has arrived.

“The Scarlet Lady is truly special and we’ve worked with some of the world’s most sought-after designers, artists and architects to craft an extraordinary experience.

“The benefit of our five decades in business in so many industries is that we can offer a voyage like no other.”

Read more: Locals abused and intimidated after hundreds descend on town for Christian festival

At 110,00 tonnes the 277 metre-long commercial vessel vastly outsizes the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier that sell sail from Portsmouth on its maiden voyage last month.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will exercise with naval vessels from the US, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea along its route around the world, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, the ship's commanding officer and captain, has revealed.

Watch: HMS Queen Elizabeth departs Portsmouth for its maiden voyage

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