Cruise, Travel, Travel Reviews

Is Virgin Voyages The Right Cruise For You?

Virgin Voyages set out to revolutionize cruising as we know it but is it the right cruise for you?   If you’re looking for a ship that caters to the masses, with main dining rooms and buffets, Broadway-style entertainment, and family-focused, then Virgin Voyages is probably not the cruise line you’re looking for. But if you’re seeking to sail with a cruise line committed to sustainability, welcomes everyone with open arms, and encourages First Mates and Sailors to be their authentic selves, entertainment and restaurants beyond extraordinary, and a totally relaxed, laid-back atmosphere then Virgin Voyages is indeed the right cruise for you. I recently sailed on the Scarlet Lady, one of two ships currently sailing with one more launching before the year is out and a fourth anticipated before the year’s end of 2024 to see for myself what it was like to experience what it was like to sail the Virgin Voyages way when I stepped onboard the Scarlet Lady. 

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“This is not your grandma’s cruise” – Richard Branson’s Adult Travel

Founder Richard Branson has always been known as a particularly colorful, even eccentric entrepreneur with countless business ventures, from an airline and railroad to a chain of hotels and resorts, a space travel company, and more.

All this has always reflected not only his entrepreneurial spirit but also his love for travel.

Although the company claims that the trips are suitable for people of all ages, what they offer is clearly aimed for the young at heart.

There is no fixed dress code, and buffet meals have been replaced by a variety of restaurants with cuisine from around the world.

DIning on the Scarlet Lady

“We’ve thrown out the book of formalities and said goodbye to bow ties and buffets,” says Tom McAlpin, chief executive of Virgin Voyages. “Instead, our ships are adults-only, with a no-tipping policy, and boast some of the best dining options you’ll find at sea or on land, including Gunbae the world’s first Korean BBQ on a cruise, as well as the -the great tequila collection.”

In addition, the Scarlet Lady ship is equipped with all kinds of gyms and facilities so that guests can keep in good shape during the voyage. There’s also an entire dedicated deck with bars, a casino that is smoke-free, and an ultra-slick, chic nightclub that’s all 70s in style.

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There’s a wide variety of adult-oriented evening shows and performances are also available with the Red Room performance venue transforming every night depending on the show whether it is the one-of-a-kind Dual Reality to an interactive, audience participation dance through the ages show and party to truly something for every style and taste. Shows not your things? There are live bands throughout venues on the ship, a live DJ that welcomes you on board in the Round About, and who can resist Drag Queen Bingo? 

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“We focus on the young at heart, the people who want to come and have a good time,” says McAlpine. “They don’t want all that formality, but they still want luxury.

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Unusual appearance

Virgin Voyages has abandoned the customary cruise ship design. Instead, to give their décor a more modern air, they hired upscale hotel and restaurant designers. With an emphasis on sustainability, they have also adopted environmentally friendly goods and energy-efficient appliances. With mood-matching lighting, cutting-edge technology, and your very own hammock on the balcony for you to relax in, the cabin design was inspired by superyachts.

Cabin Scarlet Lady

Cabin Scarlet Lady

Cabin Scarlet Lady

Cabin Scarlet Lady

Cabin Scarlet Lady

 

Without kids cruising

Dining on the Scarlet Lady

Together with Viking Cruises, Virgin Voyages is the only other major cruise line with an entirely child-free policy. You must be at least 18 years old to sail.

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Dining on the Scarlet Lady

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Amusement aimed at adults

Virgin Voyages encourages their passengers to bring their “inner child” along despite the fact that the cruises are child-free and provide a variety of adult-friendly activities.

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You won’t find any Broadway-style productions here; instead, the entertainment is cutting-edge and features a lineup akin to a festival. Shake for Champagne is a cutting-edge, on-demand phone application that delivers the bubbly to you, helping you get in the mood.

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The Manor, a two-story venue with three bars that bears Branson’s first recording studio’s name. Enjoy great wine, artisan beer, cocktails, and live music performances here before the venue magically morphs into a nightclub for its late-night vibe.

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For aspiring singers, there is a karaoke bar called the Groupie. For a vintage music experience, visit their vinyl shop, which was designed as a tribute to Virgin Records.

Bimini Beach Club

Bimini Beach Club

Bimini Beach Club

Bimini Beach Club

Every Scarlet Lady cruise docks at Virgin’s exclusive beachfront club, Beach Club in Bimini, in the Bahamas, where you can party the night away with DJs Mark Ronson and Diplo as the headliners.

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Visit Squid Ink, the first tattoo shop at sea, if you want something to remind you of your vacation forever. Here, you have the option of getting a piercing or having your design colorfully produced in vegan ink.

 

Newly designed dining

DIning on the Scarlet Lady

Traditional cruise dining is becoming less popular among cruise lines. Virgin Voyages, on the other hand, has fully abandoned the stale clichés. There is no buffet or major dining room on their ships.

DIning on the Scarlet Lady

Instead, you can pick from more than twenty restaurants where nearly everything is included in the price. This is a notable divergence from the majority of other cruise companies, where there are sometimes surcharges for specialist restaurants. A steakhouse, Korean barbecue, refined Mexican food, and a restaurant with a concentration on vegetables are among the dining alternatives.

DIning on the Scarlet Lady

There are no set dining hours, and their 24/7 dining is ready to accommodate if you have a craving in the middle of the night. 

Dining on the Scarlet Lady

DIning on the Scarlet Lady

What is contained

Along with all meals, Virgin Voyages has also included Wi-Fi, gratuities, soft beverages including juices, sodas, teas, and coffees, as well as group exercise activities like yoga, cycling, and HIIT courses all included with your Virgin Voyage cruise.

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Drink packages are not available but passengers can prepay a bar bill for alcoholic beverages and for every $300 spent, an additional $100 is added as a bonus. The best part is it can be shared and you do not have to book it for every person in your cabin thus saving you hundreds of dollars in the long run.  

Cabin Scarlet Lady

Virgin Voyages’ goal of developing a distinctive cruise experience has undoubtedly been accomplished. and unlike the preconceived notion that I had before sailing on the Scarlet Lady, ship is not filled from stem to stern with the younger set but rather the young at heart set with ages ranging from 18 to folks in the ’80s and even ’90s.  Many are said to be looking for a less conventional cruise experience, some are complete novices.

What are the most well-liked activities at Virgin Voyages?

Dining on the Scarlet Lady

It is difficult to predict which activities will be the most popular, but the nightlife is anticipated to be one of the ship’s main attractions thanks to its abundance of bars and lounges and unique nighttime entertainment options, such as aerialists, comedy, pop-up music, interactive theater, and more. (There won’t be any standard large-scale production shows.) The fleet is also being built with the “Vitamin Sea” idea in mind, which places an emphasis on wellness and leisure during the day. The cruise line anticipates that passengers will engage in a variety of detox and retox activities throughout the day.

Bimini Beach Club

Is Virgin Voyages The Right Cruise For You?

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Since cruise lines want to appeal to a wider audience with a more laid-back attitude and sense of fun, the industry has been moving away from its stereotype of dress requirements, formal meals, and ballroom dancing. Virgin Voyages, a newcomer to the industry, has however set out to dramatically upset the market with its cruising strategy.

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Virgin Voyages’ president and chief executive officer, Tom McAlpin, calls their cruise itineraries “rebellious luxe,” or unpretentious sophistication.

“This is not your grandma’s cruise” – Richard Branson’s Adult Travel