People get tattoos for all kinds of reasons. Self-expression. Honoring a loved one. Showing the world your steadfast devotion to Tweety Bird. Or, as of 2020, because you’re on a cruise ship and there’s nothing better to do.
Virgin Voyages — Sir Richard Branson’s foray into the cruising industry primed to set sail in 2020 — announced this week that it’s introducing the first-ever tattoo parlor at sea aboard the forthcoming Scarlet Lady, cleverly called Squid Ink. So when an Instagram selfie just isn’t quite enough to tell the world you were on a Virgin cruise, now every time you look at your ribcage, you can remember those seven magical days you spent floating around Nassau.
The tattoo shop is partnering with renowned tattoo artist Lou Rubino, Jr. of World Famous Tattoo Ink and Freshly Inked Magazine. He’ll be personally selecting the steady hands tasked with permanently marking your skin on a listing cruise ship and already has Spike TV’s Ink Masters’ Sarah Miller, surrealist specialist Arlo DiCristina, and illustrative specialist Jime Litwalk committed to guest stints in 2020. In addition to the special guests, two full-time staff artists will be onboard at all times.
“World Famous… has been working with sailors, pirates, and rock stars for over 50 years,” Rubino said via a press release, though he did not expand on where, exactly, he found said pirates. We’ll assume he did a lot of work for Bobby Bonilla in the ‘90s. “Partnering with Virgin Voyages gives us the unique opportunity to bring color to places people never thought possible.”
So if you ever doubted someone’s ability to put a tattoo on the top of your scalp, apparently Scarlet Lady’s artists will prove otherwise.
Additionally, if a week in the Caribbean led you to think a tongue piercing was a good idea, World Famous Tattoo Ink has you covered. It’ll also offer body piercing and permanent makeup treatment, giving Scarlet Lady the cruise industry’s largest selection of souvenirs that keep on giving.
While you’re welcome to get your seven-day-cruise girlfriend’s face tattooed on your back, the ship will also have special commemorative tattoos available only onboard the ship. In case you feel like advertising for Virgin Voyages for the rest of your life.
To celebrate the announcement, Soho Ink at 285 Lafayette Street in New York City will be giving away free nautical micro-tattoos to the first 100 people who ask for one. Post a pic of your new ink on Instagram, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a free voyage aboard Scarlet Lady, where you can complement your free tattoo with one on your other butt cheek.
If you can’t make it to Soho Ink, you can also register to win a free voyage (and a free micro-tattoo while onboard) at www.virginvoyages.com.
Even if you don’t win, this new ship looks like nothing the industry has ever seen and might be the most eagerly anticipated new ship in history. Since taking a sail around the Caribbean on the Scarlet Lady will clearly be the “it” vacation of 2020, it’s perfect justification for getting a souvenir of it tattooed on your neck. Or, maybe, somewhere a little more subtle.