To always be learning the newest vacation options is my full time job so when I continued to see the popularity rise for Virgin Voyages adult only cruise line, I knew it was time to see what all the fuss was about. So at the end of September we boarded the infamous Scarlet Lady.
The first thing I noticed that was different than other cruise lines is that they sent no luggage tags or documents prior to cruising. We simply had to upload information on the app and fill out a health questionnaire prior to arrival. When we arrived at the port we were early for our 3:30 boarding time due to having to get checked out of the hotel. Very early! We gave our suitcases to the porters who tagged our bags right there and promised they would be delivered to our rooms. That was it! To pass the time, we had two options.
1. There is a little diner within walking distance to the port to grab a bite to eat. 2. There was a free transfer that came to the port and would take you to a shopping and eating area close by called Bayside Marketplace.
Some great options to pass the time. Regardless, we made it back to the port about an hour prior to our boarding time and although they said the boarding times were strict, they were already boarding our group.
Check in and embarkation for the Virgin Cruise was the easiest and most organized of any cruise line. We literally showed our check in on the app, got our cute wristbands for the cruise and went through security. Easy Peasy! The wristbands you receive are your room key, your entrance to your booked experiences and the way you charge to your room.
As soon as we got on board, we were told our room was ready. We headed there and our bags had already arrived. The rooms are spacious and inviting. The beds are lower to the ground than most. The hammock on the Sea Terrace was a highlight! The rooms always had a fresh Carafe of water in them. Virgin Voyages is big about making a positive environmental impact so you will not find any water bottles on board. Instead they recommend bringing a reusable water bottle. There are stations all over the ship for water and even some stations have water with fresh fruit infused.
We quickly left the room because once you are on the ship you have to get any shows or classes you want booked. There is an advantage to getting on the ship early for this reason. These things do sell out. We did make a mistake by going to our room first because by the time we found the Red room, some experiences we wanted to do were sold out. Our mistake is to your benefit. Go straight to the booking area (at the Red Room) as soon as you board the ship.
Ok so now let’s talk food…this was a highlight of this cruise line for us. Everything is made to order on Virgin Cruise line. There are no buffets. There is a dining hall called “The Galley” where they make fresh food all day. There is everything from Sushi to burgers to tacos to pastries and so much more. This is a great place to grab dinner on night one so you don’t miss the sail away party. The restaurants (we did all but one) were all upscale delicious food. We gave the food, service and cleanliness of the restaurants 5 stars for sure! The fresh made to order food on this cruise line sets it far apart from other cruise lines! Another thing that sets them apart from most cruise lines is that Sodas, water, tea, lemonade are all included. No up-charge for those.
Next, we went to the Sail Away Party which should not be missed. Grab you a comfy seat about 30 minutes prior. They pass out Champagne the entire time once the party starts. They never let my glass go empty and even one of the managers brought me a glass. Another thing that sets Virgin Voyages apart is that instead of a cruise director, they have a Happenings Cast which is a group of entertainers that lead all the entertainment on the ship. They were fantastic. Insider tip…get to know them. Talk to them often. The more you interact with them throughout the cruise the more likely you are to get a special secret party invite.
There were SO many activities on the ship at all times. There were so many that I wanted to do that I just couldn’t fit in the schedule. They had a fun PJ party the first night, Painting classes, Bar walks, the fitness classes are free, Scarlet Night, Seven Seas Sippers Scavenger Hunt, Shows every night, a Casino and so much more.
Our last stop on the cruise was their island of Bimini in the Bahamas. This was a fantastic island with beautiful white sand beaches with plenty of seating, 2 large pools, bars, food (included in your price) and more. You have the option of taking the free shuttle over from the ship or renting a golf cart for the day. My favorite part of this day was the Float Pool Party.
I could go on writing about Virgin Voyages but for the sake of this post not being too long I will end with a summary of my thoughts. Virgin Voyages is set apart from other cruise lines in so many ways. Being an adult only cruise and therefore being more adult themed being the obvious one however, so many other things set it apart as well. The cruise is what you make it. The themes of the shows and general vibe of the ship are very modern. You can do everything from listening to live music at a bar to relaxing in your room in your own space to enjoying a show (some more adult than others). You make the cruise your own personal vacation in whatever way that works for you. I saw every age group from 20’s to 60’s. The cruise atmosphere was very diverse. The ease of embarkation and debarkation, the food and the lively entertainment won me over! We have already booked our next cruise for January!