VIRGIN VOYAGES: NOW I UNDERSTAND
Updated: Jan 27, 2021
I am the antithesis of “cool.” After almost 60 years on this earth, I have come to relish my geekiness. So, when, two or so years ago, Virgin Voyages announced the debut of “an Adults-Only and Rebellious Luxe cruise experience,” my reaction was “no way, no how. I can’t think of a single person to whom I can offer this product.” Well, I decided to be an openminded, big girl. I took the Seacademy training and wonder of wonders, I get it.
Low passenger count and large staterooms are characteristics I ascribe to “luxury.” With a maximum capacity of 2770 passengers and 1150 crew and average stateroom size running from monastic cubicles of 105 sq feet to verandah quarters of 265 sq feet, clearly, one needs to look to other differentiators to place Virgin Voyages in the premium market. That unique quality seems to be personal choice. The large passenger count allows for the economies of scale necessary to produce the wide range of offerings on board.
There are over 20 eateries on board Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages’ first ship. The restaurants range from full service, lengthy dining experiences to grab and go food truck equivalents. No buffets and everything is made to order! Each menu offers vegetarian and vegan offerings. And, the dishes are actually unique to each outlet, not just recycled versions of the same basic item. I reviewed the menus and they actually have stuff I want to eat….real food, not the overly constructed avant garde art works which are de requerir for the Michelin set.
I love that group workout classes are included in the fare, as well as wifi, gratuities and an expanded list of beverages. I get ornery when I have to pay $3 for the watered down diet coke which I MUST have a lunch. Actually, the copious workout offerings and venues look amazing, as long as I don’t have to deal with the narcissistic lunkheads who often inhabit fitness studios.
Virgin really disrupts when it comes to entertainment. Gone are huge production shows. “In” are multiple options using cutting edge technology and immersive performances. If you wonder what the previous sentence means, so do I. Hopefully the flowery but ambiguous descriptors will translate to really entertaining stuff where the technology adds to production instead of dominating it. I look forward to the drag brunch, but will pass on the tattoo parlor.
Who doesn’t love a private beach experience? Each Caribbean sailing includes a day at Beach Club at Bimini topped off by a bonfire farewell. There are also options for a Bimini cultural tour as well as a two tank dive.
You can tell I don’t drink much, as I have left this for last. Tons of venues, each having its own vibe and menu. You will find me at Sip Lounge imbibing Moet & Chandon bubbly. Virgin Voyages prides itself on reasonable beverage pricing and offers a prepaid bar tab.
If Virgin Voyages delivers on its promises, this will be a great escape for the young and the young at heart. Even curmudgeons like me can escape our own heads and kick loose. I just pray the staterooms have good soundproofing.