A fresh take on cruise ship interiors

How Virgin Voyages simplified the procurement of a complex specification with high-end furniture from over 50 brands to create modern spaces for a new kind of cruise ship.

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Project summary

  • Furniture and decorative lighting for atrium area and hospitality spaces
  • Finding product alternatives to meet tight deadline and budget
  • Coordinating deliveries from more than 50 suppliers to the shipyard in Italy
  • Communication with the client remotely from project start to finish

With the 17-deck tall Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages set out to create a modern cruise ship experience for millennial sailors. “Virgin was very intentional about providing a different experience across the spaces”, explains Akilah Saxton who was brought into the project as Senior Procurement Manager for all public areas of the ship.

Virgin Voyages’ new cruise ship ‘Scarlet Lady’ docking in Liverpool.
Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images for Virgin Voyages

Design studios including Roman + Williams, Tom Dixon Studio and Softroom for London created the concepts for the more than 20 restaurants and bars on the ship, each with a very distinct interior but united in their design-led, modern approach – none of the studios have ever worked on cruise ship interiors.

“Clippings is the one-stop-shop. If you need strategic sourcing, they can do strategic sourcing. If you need help with budget management, they help you figure out whether you budgeted properly. They can do purchase orders, phased delivery and project reconciliation. You can get everything from Clippings”

Part cooking school, part eatery the Test Kitchen features turquoise leather bar stools by Johanson.

That meant a complex procurement challenge for Akilah: “The quantities per piece were very small with so many designers specifying totally different products”. She got Clippings on board to supply loose furniture from high-end furniture brands for the common areas like the impressive atrium as well as various hospitality spaces.

A reliable partner simplifying communication and logistics

Akilah was keen to avoid going to every brand directly to save time and effort. That’s why she chose Clippings because our team could handle these relationships for her. “We felt this was a great opportunity to consolidate.” It also saved her from having to negotiate payment terms with each individual supplier.

The Pink Agave restaurant, serving Mexican dishes, was designed by Tom Dixon.

The team of Virgin Voyages, based in the United States, was operating in start-up mode and tracking and chasing each order would take up a big share of their time. Instead, our procurement manager Sebiha became the single point of contact for Virgin Voyages and took over on the coordination with more than 50 brands on the specification.

You have to ask yourself what’s the hottest and try to tackle things. But I knew that I had support and that I could rely on Clippings.
Akilah Saxton, Senior Procurement Manager for Virgin Voyages
Improving lead times

The clock was already ticking when Akilah started working on the specification. “We were just late – with a capital L”, she recalls. Delays would have been costly: every day the Scarlet Lady would stay longer in the shipyard than agreed with the wharf would accumulate extra fees. The Clippings team helped her to find alternatives to the originally specified products to get lead times down, making sure they matched the style of the interior and would arrive on time.

Product suggestions

Akilah trusted Clippings to doublecheck that fixed upholstery furniture was IMO-certified, which means that they met the fire regulations standards by the International Marine Organization. When products on the original spec turned out to have been discontinued, Sebiha suggested alternatives. Likewise, when pieces earmarked for indoor areas had to move to outdoor areas, she found suitable replacements.

Managing logistics

All products were to be shipped to the Fincantieri wharf in Genoa, Italy, where the Scarlet Lady was built band fitted out. Clippings project manager Emelie organised phased deliveries and consolidated orders to ensure the logistics team at the shipyard could manage the influx of goods.

Draught Haus, a craft beer bar that mixes pub and beach vibes.

“When you wake up in the morning, you have priorities.”, says Akilah. “You have to ask yourself what’s the hottest and try to tackle things. But I knew that I had support and that I could rely on Clippings. They hadn’t delivered for me before but at every point, they had been reliable. I could literally embarrass myself by bringing a supplier on board that makes me look bad. Clippings got the job done.”

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