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The world of ocean cruising is about to be turned upside down – and I am here for it! In October 2021, after MANY months of anticipation, Virgin Voyages, an adults-only cruise line, will be setting sail with its first ship, the Scarlet Lady. But you might be wondering, what is Virgin Voyages and how is this new cruise line different?
A New Adults only Cruise Line: Virgin Voyages
I am set to sail on Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady in January of 2022, and just toured her during the September 2021 New York City showcase. I have also completed all agent training (to date) on the Virgin Voyages brand. Of course, I cannot wait to sail this incredible new cruise line!
What is Virgin Voyages?
You are probably already familiar with the Virgin brand – the Virgin Atlantic airline, and Virgin hotel chain created by the iconic Sir Richard Branson. Last May I stayed at the Virgin Hotel Dallas, and it was such a fun experience! Great service, fun decor and amazing food – Just like my experience on this newest cruise line!
Virgin Voyages is a new cruise line for adults ONLY (age 18+).
Virgin is aiming to be a floating boutique hotel catering to sophisticated adults who like whimsical touches, but the finer things in life. So this is not some crazy spring break/Girls Gone Wild ship, in fact the target audience is around age 45!
The inspiration for the ships is boutique glamor, much like sailing on a well-appointed yacht (although these ships are huge!). Sophisticated with elevated food, making guests feel like a rock star for their vacation. Virgin is committed to the best emblements of luxury products (the service, quality, and attention to detail) but in a less formal and stiff environment.
As an adults only ship, all the spaces are for grown ups to play! There are basketball courts, outdoor fitness equipment, a huge gym, group fitness space, tons of bars, and hot tubs everywhere. The food and entertainment is also created ONLY for adults.
Virgin Voyages is setting out to do things differently- and in turn attract a wider audience of both seasoned cruisers, and first timers as well. It seems like they have taken the best of cruising and elevated it. All while taking what folks don’t love about cruising, and turned it on its head!
What makes Virgin Voyages Different?
Besides being adults only, there are several differences that veteran ocean cruisers will notice right away. Here is a list of things that make Virgin Voyages unique:
- No buffets – that’s right, all restaurants are ala carte, and there are even some food-truck type eateries for a quick meal or snack.
- No set main dining tables and times, and no specialty restaurant upcharges – All of the Virgin Voyages’ restaurants are in fact specialty restaurants, open to all sailors on board. For dinner, you can make a reservation (or walk in and maybe wait a bit) just like you could at your favorite neighborhood eatery. On board the inaugural ship, The Scarlet Lady, you will find Mexican, Italian, Vegetarian, and a Steakhouse restaurant… just to name a few! On a 5, 6, 7 night voyage, you will have a new place to eat every night of your stay, with whoever you want, at whatever time fits your schedule.
- Longer port stays – Virgin Voyage sailors will enjoy late nights at the Beach Club at Bimini and overnights in Ibiza. This will allow you to really explore the destination!
- In most cabins, the beds convert to sofas for additional living space during the day. This is applicable in interior rooms, sea view (porthole) and sea terrace (balcony). The larger suites have couches and additional seating next to the bed.
- No drink packages – just reasonable priced beer, wine and cocktails. This allows you to spend YOUR money on whatever type of drink YOU want. No restrictions, and also no tips above the listed price. Most cruise lines do add an auto gratuity to anything you purchase on board. On Virgin Voyages, a $9 glass of wine, costs just that – NINE DOLLARS. Also worth noting, about 47% of their drinks cost less than $10!
- Tattoo Parlor and Blow Dry Bar on board – what other ship has these?
- Free WIFI – Yes, all guests can access free WIFI. Suite guests can enjoy premium WIFI.
- No gratuities – the service charges are already included in your cruise fare – see below.
- Many cabins for solo travelers (and no single supplement on these rooms). On the Scarlet Lady there are 46 solo cabins – six with a sea view and forty interior. Pay a fair price for one guest and enjoy the solace of your own oasis at sea!
Is Virgin Voyages All-Inclusive?
Like mentioned above, Virgin Voyages has a different payment model than some traditional cruise lines, but like most mass-market ocean cruises, it is not quite all inclusive.
So you might be wondering, what IS included with your Virgin Voyages cruise? Again, Virgin’s goal is to not nickel and dime the sailors, and Virgin’s philosophy is that anything you have to pay “extra” for, should be worth it.
I like that!
What’s Included with Virgin Voyages:
All gratuities – this is huge! Usually its $13-$17 per person, PER DAY in shipboard gratuities but this is already included in your cabin fare. There is also no automatic gratuity on beverages. I heard there is also no cash tipping allowed on board (like at Sandals or Beaches) but I would like to see how this does in fact play out.
Wi-Fi – Included for all both on board and at the Bimini Beach Club. I would like to think I live in a world where I can go 5-7 days without internet, but let’s be realistic here. Plus having wi-fi makes a work-cation at sea possible!
Group Fitness Classes – This is also a place where some lines upcharge, but with Virgin Voyages, it’s all included.
Soft drinks – On most cruise lines (with the exception of Disney Cruise Line) soft drinks are NOT included with your cruise fare. But on Virgin Voyages they are.
All Dining – Yes, all on board dining venues are included, no upcharge restaurants!
Planning a cruise can be tough. There are so many cruise lines, some are big, some are small, all include different things! Of course, there is your budget to consider as well!
For those reasons, it’s always best to consult with a travel professional to help find the perfect cruise for you next vacation. And the best part? My services are free!
Who should book Virgin Voyages?
Sailing on a cruise line catering to adults only would be the perfect vacation for social groups, bachelor/bachelorette parties, destination weddings or girlfriend getaways!
But honestly, if you are 18 or over, Virgin Voyages has something for you – whether you want to party all night or tuck away in a corner with a good book, I am confident you will enjoy the Virgin Experience.
And I’m not just saying that! A Virgin Voyage is YOUR cruise in a sophisticated but relaxed environment. You can do it how you want! Want to sleep in? Great, there are still fitness classes offered all day and afternoon. Want to get up early and seize the day? How about sunrise yoga at dawn? That’s just one example of how Virgin can meet the needs of all its sailors – so you can enjoy YOUR vacation.
Virgin Voyages Lingo
Of course when shaking up an entire industry, you need a whole new vernacular to go with it! Virgin does things their way, including some new lingo. If you need to translate from Virgin Voyages to English, here is a translation guide:
Sea Terrace = Balcony Cabin
Sea View = Porthole Cabin
Sailors = Cruisers
First Mates = Travel Agents
PS Virgin Voyages loves travel agents and just like the first mate supports the captain, they know agents are the way to go when booking a cruise!
Sailor Loot = On Board Credit
Bar tab = Monies in your account for drink purchases
Aquatic Club = Pool Area
Richard’s Rooftop = Private sun deck area for Suite guests
Sea Blazer = A 2021 sailor
Circle = Social Groups Cruising together
Rock Star Agent = Concierge service for suite guests (kind of like a butler)
Three New Virgin Voyages’ Ships
I am sailing the Scarlet Lady in January 2022, and I toured the ship in September 2021 when it was docked in NYC for a few days. I will be getting out a full review of that ship (it needs its own blog post).
After its stint in New York, the Scarlet Lady will sail down to Miami where it will be doing 4-7 night sailings in the Caribbean. With itineraries like Mayan Sol and Dominican Daze, there are different voyages each week. But each Caribbean sailing will stop at the Beach Club at Bimini, Virgin’s private beach club in the Bahamas. Bimini sounds awesome, and I cannot wait to go – will have to do a full review on that after I visit in January!
In March 2022, the second ship, the Valiant Lady will debut, sailing Spring/Summer 2022 in the Mediterranean out of Barcelona. These are the itineraries that will include an overnight in Ibiza! I cannot wait to book one of these for myself.
In August 2022, the third Virgin Voyage’s ship will premier – the Resilient Lady who will be sailing the Southern Med out of Athens!
So lots of great things to look forward to in Virgin Voyages’ future.
Tips for Sailing Virgin Voyages: What to know Before You Sail
Having toured the ship, having done all the trainings for Virgin Voyages, and having attended countless webinar trainings on the brand, I can offer you some tips to maximize your cruise experience on Virgin Voyages:
- Download the Virgin Voyages app and pre-book as much as you can. There are so many fun things on board you don’t want to be shut out. Through the app, you can also order on demand food, to be delivered anywhere on the ship (They had this at Virgin Dallas it was awesome)
- Speaking of the app – open it, shake and champagne will appear. For reals – try it!
- Book more than 180 days in advance to receive an automatic 10% discount on your cruise.
- Pay in full over 180 days in advance to receive an ADDITIONAL 10% discount on your sailing. You can combine these two promotions
- Book a sailing to sail in 2021 to become a Virgin Sea Blazer – this means you will receive a bonus $125 bar tab on your $300 bar tab purchase, on every cruise you take, FOR LIFE! No limits!
- Consider booking one of the many suites – you get so many great perks including premium Wi-Fi, 24/7 concierge service, private airport transfers in Miami, access to Richard’s Rooftop, VIP Access at the Beach Club at Bimini, and Priority Access to everything you can pre-book.
Check out my full ship tour:
On a professional, and personal level, I am so excited about this new age of cruising and the introduction of Virgin Voyages to the mass market, ocean cruising scene. I cannot wait to go, and even better get YOU all booked on board. I know my clients are going to love sailing the Virgin way!
Are you a cruiser? Do you want to sail on Virgin Voyages?