When it comes to adult only cruising, there is one brand that comes to mind and it is a Virgin Voyages cruise. Every single ship is a new build with the latest in stabilizing technology and the only - yes the ONLY cruise ship on the market that is carbon-neutral, making them the most environmentally friendly Cruise at sea-Virgin Voyages.
As a travel agent, I could write a book about my experiences as a sailor on a Virgin Voyages cruise. As your travel advisor and a sailor, I am loving what Virgin Voyages cruise line is all about and how they have changed the game for cruising.
Here is what you need to know about a Virgin Voyages cruise:
- Age requirements
- Ships and Destinations
- Entertainment (find info on Scarlet Night here)
- Activities on and off ship.
Expect the unexpected, keep your mind open, and get ready for the sail of your life on a Virgin Voyages cruise.
Age to board:
All passengers must be 18+ to board any of Virgin Voyages cruise ships - no exceptions. If leaving from the United States, an 18 year old must be voyaging with someone who is 21 or older. If leaving outside of the United States, an 18 year old is able to book their own trip.
Ships and Destinations:
There are two ships sailing as of November 2022 with two more unveiling in 2023 and 2024!
Scarlet Lady & Valiant Lady: are nearly identical ships and have similar itineraries. You can find them both in Miami during the winter months offering 4,5,6, and 8 night itineraries. During the spring through fall, one of the ships heads to Europe for 7-night itineraries
Caribbean destinations: Mexico, the Bahamas, Mexico, Honduras, Key West, and more! Every Caribbean sailing stops at The Beach Club at Bimini, which is a private club included in your fare. Food, amenities, and entertainment are included. Your bar tab works here as well!
Every Caribbean sailing stops at The Beach Club at Bimini which is included in your fare. Access, activities, and food is all included. You can use your bar tab here as well!
European destinations: Departs from Barcelona’s port. Several locations in Spain, France, and Italy and every itinerary has an overnight in Ibiza.
Launching May 2023 and offers two itineraries out of Athens, Greece. One itinerary has several stops in Greece and one in Turkey, with an overnight in Mykonos. The second itinerary has two stops in Greece and two in Croatia, with an overnight in Dubrovnik. In the winter, she heads to Australia and New Zealand for 10 night itineraries!
Launches December 2023 and ports in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She will have destinations including Aruba, St. Kitts, Curacao, Martinique, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, St Lucia, and Antigua.
Keep an eye out for transatlantic voyages during the ship’s seasonal repositionings and the exclusive repositioning cruises while ship’s get to their final destination (Check out destinations such as Dubai, Singapore, Bali, and Australia repositioning cruises!!) They are only offered 1-2 times per year and there is no guarantee that they will return the following year.
How am I even going to fit all of the information about food into this post? The food is TO DIE FOR! It is so delicious and everything is made to order so that they can reduce food waste by completely eliminating buffets! So what in the world do they do for food? Their alternative to buffets is The Galley, which is Virgin’s food hall! You guys - I literally had spicy ramen for breakfast every single day and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss it!!!!!
The Galley Tip: they have daily specials which are inspired by the port you are at for the day! Ask the crew about them!!
In addition to the 24/7 Galley, there are several other sit-down Michelin star restaurants which live up to the hype. I cannot even get into every single restaurant/eatery because you’ll be reading this all day so here are some tips for the on board eateries:
- Get the Philly Hot Dog from The Social Club! Such an underrated quick-bites spot!
- There are veggie/vegan/gluten free options at every restaurant and marked appropriately, even at The Social Club (hot dogs) and The Wake (seafood and steak)!
- There is rumored to be secret menus at the sit down restaurants (shh, I know nothing!). Find the crew and get to know them, ask them about it!
- The Dock: another underrated spot. Their food is to DIE for. Extra special to that goat cheese polenta I still think about all the time!
- The Test Kitchen has two different menus on longer voyages so take a peek at which menu you’d like to go to (or schedule both!). I was least excited for this restaurant because I can be picky, but I had SO MUCH FUN at this spot and the food was amazing.
- Razzle Dazzle: This veggie-forward restaurant was not one that I looked forward to, but it has my favorite two meals! Their dessert is to die for. I was utterly shocked that this ended up being my favorite spot, do not miss this one!
- So many more, for a more comprehensive list, book with me and get my “Insider Tips” sheet after booking!
I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS SECTION - if you read anything in this post - READ THIS INFO!!!! So if you read all the reviews, this is what either makes it or breaks it for cruisers. Virgin does not have traditional entertainment or entertainers and that is one reason that I ADORE this cruise line. As stated above, expect the unexpected.
Scarlet and Valiant have nearly identical shows while Brilliant and Resilient will have different shows! There are more than this, but I wanted to highlight a couple of my favorites:
- Ship Show: dinner and a show concept (included in your fare!) with a hilarious moderator and RIDICULOUSLY talented humans. I’m talking insanely beautiful voices, skilled dancers, a hula hoop connoisseur, and a roller-skate duo that blew my mind.
- UNTITLED DANCESHOWPARTYTHING: The execution and talent in this show is truly unmatched. In my 26 short years, I have never seen such passionate performers who go up there and just do their thing. You stand during this show and the performers utilize the entire room and all the space in the confines of the area. The stage moves. The guests dance and sing and have the best time. It ends in a dance party where all the performers are on the floor with you and it is an absolute blast!
- Dual-Reality: a Romeo and Juliet themed cirque show that has another group of wildly talented performers. In this show, you sit down and are separated into two “houses” and feel very engaged in the story from the beginning. The acrobatics in this show kept me on the edge of my seat.
Entertainment for Resilient Lady and Brilliant Lady have not been entirely revealed yet as of November 2022. Keep an eye out on my instagram for recent updates!
The Happenings Cast:
The Happenings Cast replaces a typical “cruise director”. What better way to hear what the heck a Happenings Cast is, than from a member herself: Lucia, who was The Flare during my sailing, describes the cast and her role as the following:
“The Happenings Cast is made up of 13 unique individuals with different specialities and overlapping skills. We all rotate through hosted events and pump people up at parties. We all have tickets to secret shows and dispense helpful info about entertainment, eateries and ship hangouts. As The Flare, I was hired for my easy humor, dance moves, and social warmth. I get to teach 80’s aerobic dance moves in colorful sweatbands, tell ancient star stories under the night sky, host music trivia in a packed Social Club, and lure Sailors to the Manor dance floor in sparkling angel wings and face jewels. I’m on call for almost every Happening on board so it’s definitely one of the most versatile roles. Working for Virgin is such a breath of fresh air, because I can bring all these different facets of myself and perform while actually getting to know people and play a role in making their voyage special.” -@looshbgoosh on instagram! Give her a follow!
My favorite thing about this cast (and the rest of the crew on board) is that they are so GENUINE. They seem to have so much fun and I just adore every one of them! Now, I can’t tell you too much, but as you saw above, there are secrets on board. There are lots of secrets and you should get to know the happenings cast to find out more 🏴☠️ (if you know, you know) 🤐
You cannot write a blog post about Virgin and not write about Scarlet Night - the most insane ship wide event/party out there. Ours started with dancing and a “wedding” and ended in a pool with all of our clothes on - and THEN it continued to the club after that. And there was SO MUCH in between. There were assigned missions, secrets, and so many laughs. I want to go on all the voyages to experience all there is on Scarlet Night because I know I only saw a sliver of it. This night exceeds any expectations or experiences you have ever had on a cruise ship as long as you choose to make the most out of your night. Here are some tips to make the most out of your Scarlet Night. Some of these may sound vague, but I’m not giving out all the secrets here. You have to experience it to understand it!
- Wear red - it doesn’t have to be fancy at all. Some wore sparkly, floor length dresses, some wore t-shirts, some wore speedos, some wore feather boas. Be comfortable, its your night!
- Wear a bathing suit under your clothes. Don’t be like me and forget to do that (twice lol!)
- Listen for the dolphin noises on the speaker - something is coming
- Get to know the happenings cast - again, that’s all I can say
- Keep an open mind and go with the flow. The evening is what you make of it
Virgin’s onboard nightclub. Now normally, I wouldn’t include this in a review because a club is a club is a club. But not on Virgin. In typical Virgin style, it is so much more than that. You walk inside this glamorous, instagrammable runway of lights to get into a two story club that is always bumpin’ (also the location of several shows and activities) Almost every night of the cruise, there was pop-up entertainment that brought the night to a whole other level. Performers would come in and create space for dance battles - which you could respectfully decline if you don’t want to do it! They would come in these extravagant outfits and blow us away with their talent (as always!). Do you remember in middle school when you did “parachute” under that large canopy? Well that made an appearance at the Manor one night! Nothing is impossible on this ship.
I found the clientele on all voyages to be respectful of others and truly, everyone wanted to have a good time. As a young woman, there is always a level of awareness and potential uneasiness when you are out drinking with strangers, but I didn’t feel an ounce of that on this ship. There was no judgment for the underdressed, bad dancers of the group (pointing at myself here), and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so SAFE.
The Daily Lineup:
Once onboard, you will be able to see the schedule for your sailing. Every day, there are near-hourly events that you can choose to go to! There are a few for-purchase but there are so many that are included. Here is a very small list of some that are offered on board:
- 5 Step Skincare: Wellness Workshop
- 80s workout
- Sunrise Yoga
- PJ Party
- Bingo with the Hostess (member of the Happenings Cast)
- Just the Tip(s) with Dr. A (a singles-only event)
- Grog Walk Pub Crawl for $45, includes several alcoholic beverages. This is an AWESOME way to meet people on night one of the cruise!
- Stargazers - a night time gathering talking about the stars
Otherwise known as off-ship excursions. There are so many options! They even offer excursions in repositioning and transatlantic cruises when they are only in each location one or two times! It was a personalized, small group experience and there were added things that I wouldn’t expect and that wasn’t advertised. For example, our tour stated we would see a WWII shelter. When we got to the location, we learned that we were touring a woman’s home that had a built-in WWII bomb shelter - that was actually USED during WWII. It was such a humbling, special experience. She even had goat cheese and wine for us at her rooftop garden. I was comforted to know that because it was through Virgin, if there was a problem or delay, I wouldn’t be left behind in an unknown location. And as the Virgin way goes - they hire locals from the area to provide genuine, authentic tour experiences.
Even though I’ve written this long post about Virgin Voyages, there is still so much more that makes it special. The crew being one of those. I could write an entire blog post on the cast and crew, and maybe I will someday. You truly have to step on board these ships to feel the essence of Virgin, and I hope you do. Please reach out to talk about booking