Now that travel is coming back stronger than ever, you should definitely start making future plans and if you still don't know why a cruise is a great option, start here.
If you know anything about a British guy named Richard Branson and his VIRGIN brand, you know that he does not do anything by the book. So, when it came to designing his first ship, he broke all the rules!
When the opportunity to spend a day with Scarlet Lady presented itself, I had to seize it! After all, she is the new kid on the block and her adults-only rule was super appealing to me. Virgin Voyages is setting themselves apart and they have marketed this cruise as totally different from your typical cruise vacation and I was excited to see what that meant.
For starters, you must be at least 18 years or older to sail with Virgin so leave your kids and grand-kids at home because you will not be babysitting on this ship. It isn't your grandmother's cruise either, there aren't any buffet lines, but rather a food market style galley with different options, part of 20+ eateries onboard. This cruise is for the young or young at heart because if you are on the wild side, you can get a tattoo at the onboard parlor or attend a drag brunch. The entertainment is different than the typical broadway style shows offered on most cruises with an interactive performance in the likes of Cirque du Soleil. The rooms are very modern with super high tech features and the company is big on sustainability with practices like zero single-use plastic onboard and recycled bracelets and keys. I think I have your attention now so let's talk about this ship more.
When I arrived at the port of Miami, I knew exactly where my ship was because she stood out amongst all others with her red and gray paint coat and the slick shape of the vessel! As soon as I stepped foot onboard, the whole vibe of the ship consumed me. Myself and other travel advisors were greeted with smiles from the crew and I couldn't stop drooling over the aesthetics of the interior and the mood lighting changes throughout the day. Think Nikki Beach meets Bagatelle! The cabins are also very functional with room controls and a modular bed in the more basic categories. I must admit that I was skeptical about the convertible beds when I first saw them on the brochure but experiencing the room totally changed my mind and I understood why it made sense. The suites look like nothing I've ever seen with the Massive Suite onboard equipped with a music room, a full bar and the coolest balcony fit for a rock star.
If Drag Queen brunches are not your thing, you can expect different pop-up shows throughout the day with live bands and dance groups or a serenade from different entertainers onboard. If you need something a bit more upbeat, you can check into a private Japanese-style Karaoke room at the Groupie to sing your heart out or the Manor to dance the night away. Do not miss the Duel Reality show in The Red Room, a modern fast-paced retelling of Romeo and Juliet, it will literally take your breath away! You can also try your luck at the casino or detox at the fully equipped gym or spa. Rumors are that there is also a resident sexologist onboard at a late-night cabaret that puts you at the helm of your sexual destiny and apparently it’s not for the faint of heart (let me know in the comments if you get to experience it).
I was also pleasantly surprised to see a M.A.C. Cosmetics store right across Squid Ink (the tattoo parlor) for anyone looking to feel a bit more glamorous or who may have forgotten to pack their makeup essentials.
My favorite spot on the ship, The Manor entrance.
One word: Amazing! I already mentioned that there was no buffet on this ship but let me tell you about the options on the menu (if I can get to all of them in this post). There are so many spots to grab a bite, a drink or sit down for a meal that I'm not sure you can experience them all on a 4 day cruise. As a foodie myself, I was overwhelmed and very impressed by the array of choices and the quality of the food offered on the ship but you cannot expect anything less from the Michelin-starred chefs behind the menus. From Korean BBQ, which stole my heart, to Veggie-Forward, an elevated Mexican restaurant, to Champagne bar and Coffee shop, Tap room for beer, there is truly something for everyone. Specialty dining also include, a Steak and Seafood restaurant, an Experimental Cooking restaurant, an Outside Mezze lounge, a Mediterranean restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a Hawaiian Poke Bowl spot, an all day Burger joint a Martini and cocktail bar to name only a few. You can grab a late night snack at the noodle bar, the pizza shop or a BLT at the 24/7 diner and EVERYTHING is made to order! Did I mention their partnership with Moët & Chandon which not only allows you to drink from your specialty champagne table in your room but pretty much from anywhere else through the app on your phone. You just have to shake it for champagne! Not too shabby huh?!
I know that the elephant is in the room, you know it too so let's get into it. The Pandemic has forever changed the way we live and even more so the way we travel and cruise lines especially have had to adjust their sails, pun intended. As with all other lines, Virgin Voyages requires that all guests and crew be fully vaccinated to follow CDC guidelines and they even provide free testing at the port for their "sailors". My experience with the process was extremely seamless and the results to my test were delivered in a timely manner (approximately 30 minutes) before I could board the ship. Their wellness plan is extremely detailed, and while masks are not required on the ship, they are highly recommended. On my visit, they were mandatory unless eating or drinking, which made me and all the other advisors onboard feel much more comfortable.
I will not push anyone to travel who isn't comfortable doing so yet but if you are ready to start exploring the world again, a Virgin Voyages cruise should be at the top of your list! Even when my ship did not leave port, I got a taste of the Virgin experience and I cannot wait to sail with them in the future to one of their very exciting destinations which include ports like a private beach club in Bimini, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Puerto Plata, Mykonos, San Juan, Dubrovnik and Cannes. If you follow me on Instagram, you can check out my Virgin Voyages highlight reel to get a feel of what my experience was like. As always, I will be more than happy to guide you through an amazing trip with Virgin Voyages or anywhere else your curiosity may lead you. Welcome back to the world!