Is a Virgin Voyages Cruise For You?

If you’re curious about what it’s like sailing on Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, read on…

After I completed my four Virgin Voyages certifications and achieved Gold Tier status, I was invited to attend their live training and experience the cruise line. My friend and I recently set sail on the beautiful Scarlet Lady ship from Miami. There were three ports during our 5-night Dominican Daze sailing, Miami (at the start), Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and Bimini, Bahamas.

This was my first mass-market cruise sailing since the pandemic. (I’ve sailed on two European River Cruises since the pandemic). I was really curious about this adults-only cruise. The Scarlet Lady is large and in charge…at full capacity, she holds 2400 people on board, with 1100 crew. Our sailing had 1800 people on board, but it never felt “crowded”.

This ship definitely stood out for us with its superyacht-inspired atmosphere, upscale dining, free Wi-Fi access, design-forward staterooms and wellness activities…AND NO KIDS!

Diversity and inclusion are ingrained into the DNA of Virgin Voyages: people can and are encouraged to be themselves (you will see crew members with tattoos, people who identify as males wearing skirts, etc.) If this offends you, this cruise is not for you. And don’t worry about packing your formal attire… there are no dress codes for guests!

The Cabins

The cabins are similar to what you might find in a boutique hotel on land. The cruise line’s in-cabin tech features also stand out: All staterooms feature free Wi-Fi access; you can choose a movie on their in-room tablet to screencast on the television; and electronically controlled blackout shades and mood lighting round out some of the top tech perks.

You will receive a wearable technology device that will act as a cabin key and make onboard payments, among other features. Like other cruise lines, Virgin’s ships offer four different cabin categories, although their names are a bit more unique: Insider, Sea View, Sea Terrace and RockStar Quarters. All cabins include rain showers, flat-screen TVs, minibars, hairdryers and safes.

We chose a Sea Terrace cabin. Here are a few pics of our cabin and how they arranged it for us. The hammock on the balcony was the best part! So relaxing!

The Food

Serving great food is another one of Virgin Voyages’ top priorities. The ships are home to more than 20 casual eateries and specialty restaurants, all of which are included in your cruise fare.

Virgin has not only done away with the buffet, but it has replaced it with a better option that leads to less food waste. The Galley, Scarlet Lady’s buffet replacement, is more of a food hall or an upscale mall food court.

It offers a number of choices — tacos, sandwiches, a full diner serving all-day breakfast, ramen noodles, salad shop, dessert bar, and more — that are all centrally located on the 15th floor outside the pool deck. Passengers bring up the menu (all the eateries are on one big menu) and order from a waiter or waitress at their table. Eventually, this will probably be app-based.

Scarlet Lady also has a number of other casual, but fancier-than-a-normal cruise ship options dotted around the ship as well as a fun ice cream shop called, “Lick Me Till…Ice Cream”. If that offends you, this cruise is not for you!

They also have a best-at-sea-class coffee shop. There’s also 24-hour room service where most items are included but for-fee extras like alcohol can be ordered as well.

The highlight of the ship may be its sit-down restaurants. These are the equivalent of the added-fee eateries most cruise lines offer but they’re all included in your fare.

The Wake serves up steak and seafood, Pink Agave treats diners to tasty Mexican fare, Gunbae offers savory Korean dishes, Extra Virgin plates up fine Italian food and Razzle Dazzle Restaurant is the go-to option for those seeking healthy, veggie-forward meals.

Taylored Tours Tip: When you eat at Pink Agave, be sure to order the street corn. And the bacon at Razzle Dazzle is sooo good!

More casual options include The Dock House (Mediterranean cuisine), Sun Club Cafe (poké bowls), the Pizza Place, the Social Club Diner (classic carnival snacks and treats), Noodle Around (ramen and soups), a 24-hour American diner.

When it comes to drinks, you will find a coffee bar, a beer taproom, a Champagne lounge and a martini and cocktail bar, among other options throughout the ship.

Speaking of Champagne, when the Virgin Voyages Sailor App is shaken, a secret Virgin Voyages Champagne button is revealed and, with just one press, a bottle of Möet Chandon Impérial® will be delivered to you!

We found the quality and the variety of the food and drink to be top notch (and a very good price point). My friend is a Sommelier and she was impressed with the wine selection and the pricing.

We pre-purchased a $300 bar tab (Virgin had a special promotion and added $100 to it) and we drank at least a bottle of wine each night with dinner, plus cocktails at the pool and beaches, specialty coffees and smoothies, and we still had some money remaining at the end of our cruise.

Taylored Tours Tip: Try the Popcorn Old-Fashioned at Razzle Dazzle’s bar.

The Entertainment

The ship really comes into its own at night, with live music, a DJ, dancing and impromptu performances taking place in almost all the public spaces.

The evening entertainment aboard Virgin Voyages’ ships runs the gamut from plays to risqué performances…some of the shows are called, “Just the Tip(s)” and “Never Sleep Alone”, in which resident sexologist, Dr. A, dispenses her unique brand of fearless and playful advice in this interactive, late-night cabaret that puts you at the helm of your sexual destiny. It’s not for the faint of heart!

You will find all of the daily activities and evening entertainment on the app, and I highly recommend that you book the shows you want to see as soon as you board the ship.

Taylored Tours Tip: Be sure to snap your pic at the sparkly entrance to the Manor, the epicenter of nightlife aboard Scarlet Lady, boasting a nightclub over two floors.

Scarlet Night

One event that you can’t miss on Virgin Voyages is the Scarlet Night Party. Literally, you can’t miss it unless you are in your cabin the entire evening!

One night of the cruise, Scarlet Lady transforms for a ship-wide party. From decorations around the ship, to flash mob style performances, to an unforgettable pool party, the Scarlet Night Party is definitely one of the best things to do on Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady. Don’t forget to pack your red!

The Activities

One of Virgin’s core focuses is wellness, which is evident in the number of relaxation- and health-related amenities available on the cruise line’s ships. On board, you will find a large gym with weight and cardio equipment, an area that hosts group fitness classes, a jogging track, an outdoor yoga deck and a juice bar.

We took a HIIT class, a Barre class, a Spin class, and a 90’s Boy Band Dance Class (it was hilarious!).

Taylored Tours Tip: Don’t forget to pack your legwarmers and headbands! Sign up for the 80’s inspired VHS Workout (Videos/Headbands/Simmons)…including a cart full of Shake Weights adding to the throwback fun, as do the costumes worn by many passengers who attend.

The Athletic Club is described as an “adult playground,” with a full-size basketball court, adult-sized seesaws, boxing classes and large daybeds for resting. Each ship also features a large pool surrounded by lounge chairs.

For ultimate relaxation, cruisers can book a treatment at the spa, wind down with a manicure and pedicure or treat themselves to a blowout, brow shaping, beard trimming or haircut.

Or, for a truly memorable experience, visit one of the most unique offerings on Virgin Voyages’ ships: the onboard tattoo studio. The facility allows travelers to memorialize their trips (or something else special to them) in ink.

The Laughs

Just because Virgin Voyages sails kid-free, no one said you had to act like an adult. In fact, Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady offers a number of amenities where you can let loose and act like a kid again. After all, you are on vacation!

One of our favorite activities was karaoke at The Groupie Lounge. Neither of can sing so this was extra hilarious! This would be so much fun with a group of friends.

The Places You’ll Go

Virgin Voyages has a wide variety of “Shore Things”, what Virgin calls excursions – – They find some off the beaten path type tours – sustainable and eco-friendly are the focus – – but fun and interesting is also a priority!

The second port we visited during our Dominican Daze sailing was Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. We met some of the friendly locals, explored the town, and the rest of the day was beach time.

Taylored Tours Tip: Before you board the ship in Puerto Plata, spend some time at the pool in Taino Bay (it’s free and it’s lovely!).

All good things must come to an end, and what an ending it was! On the day before our cruise ended, we stopped at Bimini Beach Club in the Bahamas, which is a stop on most of the Virgin Voyages cruises.

My friend and I opted to relax and enjoy the beautiful beach and crystal blue waters. But some chose to snorkel at a shipwreck with sharks, participate in water sports, or rent a golf cart to explore the island. This port was amazing!

Is This A Cruise For You?

What questions do you have for me about sailing on a Virgin Voyages cruise?

As a Virgin Voyages First Mate Specialist I’d LOVE to share my knowledge and help you fall in love with this exceptional adults-only cruise line with my expert planning help.

I will support you throughout the process by answering your questions, perhaps before you even ask them! Wouldn’t you rather email or call me vs. waiting on hold for a random customer service agent or emailing a generic inbox?

Travel involves a lot of decision making. My experience makes it easy for me to breakdown your options and help you make informed decisions.

I believe deeply in the power of travel. Anything I can do to get you out exploring the world makes me happy! So, what are you waiting for? Taylored Tours is on standby to help you plan next Virgin Voyages cruise. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. All you need to decide is when you want to go and who you’d like to travel with!

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