If you’re here, it’s because you’ve either already booked it or you want to know a little more before you decide. You’ve probably heard that Virgin Voyages is different and I wouldn’t blame you for wondering “how different are we talking?” And oh my, it IS different. But, so am I and you might be too. If so, this could be the refreshing change you’re looking for in cruising.
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Ready to Sail Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady?
Whenever something is new, there’s always the vision versus the experience and it takes them a little time to create synergy between the two. I was so excited at the promise of what Virgin Voyages was proposing that I couldn’t wait to get on. Yet, it took well over a year for us to finally take the plunge and I’m pretty glad we did because they seem to have worked out a lot of the kinks that I heard about before cruising.
For starters – our Scarlet Lady Embarkation was pretty smooth. We arrived at the port about an hour after our scheduled arrival time, parked, walked over with our carry-ons, whooshed up the escalator and were at our room within minutes. AND we weren’t even Rock Stars! The hardest part of that entire process was figuring out how to wear the wristband. (Don’t worry, I’ll come back to that in a second.)
Here’s what you need to know to breeze right through boarding also:
- Once you’ve paid for your booking, you should download the app and login. FInish setting up all needed information – just follow the steps. Setup your passport information, emergency contact, wallet, etc.
- Use the app to pre-book your experiences. You can book dining reservations 45 days prior to your sailing. You will also be able to pre-book your arrival time.
- Have your passport ready as you approach and provided that there are no tech or human issues preventing further processing, you should be given your bands and be on your way quickly. (Yes, passports are required on Virgin Voyages.)
Remember, the app can be your best friend while cruising. You can order bottle service just by shaking your phone 3 times to make the magical button appear. You can keep track of your agenda and charges on it.
You can also use it to connect with new friends you make along the way by sharing your QR code. This even lets you book dining and shows altogether.
But, also remember that your experience with technology and travel in general can vary and nothing is perfect.
FYI – How to put on your band:
Your first impulse will be to adjust the friendship bracelet style strings by sliding the knots. Don’t do that just yet. Instead, swing the end over your wrist, and wrap around twice until you can hook the anchor onto the loop. Voila! You’re a Sailor now.
You will be greeted by 2 completely memorable Happenings Cast members – another big difference from your usual cruise where you might see a cruise director instead.
You will arrive on Deck 7 in the Roundabout (Atrium) and notice a difference immediately. The glitz of the normal 3 story cruise atrium will not be greeting you, instead, you feel like you just entered a yacht club.
The Scarlet Lady
Scarlet Lady is adorned by a beautiful mermaid design on the bow by artist Toby Tinsley. She serves as a powerful spirit guide and is inspired from the figureheads often seen on historic vessels. Each of the Lady Ships has her own guide, for instance, Valiant Lady is represented by a black mermaid with the energy of a woman moving confidently towards her dreams. The Resilient Lady features a Latina mermaid that is the guardian of her ship carrying her sailors towards incredible adventures. Be prepared for these characters to come alive through the entertainment on board that tells their stories.
Scarlet Lady Itineraries
Scarlet Lady has 4 itineraries to look for that will take you to that signature stop – The Beach Club at Bimini. The Beach Club will either remind you of Ibiza or make you feel like you’re there. If you want to experience the highlighted “Bonfire” and sunsets then look for the fall and winter itineraries that stay until 10pm or Midnight. I personally would think this stop is much more fun into the evening hours.
- Fire and Sunset Soirees – These 4 Night cruises run Wednesdays to Sundays with a stop in Key West, FL.
- Riviera Maya – 5 Night cruises that take you to the beaches of Cozumel, Mexico..
- Mayan Sol – 5 Night cruises to explore Costa Maya, Mexico.
- Dominican Daze – 5 Night cruises to visit Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
FYI – Cabin Numbers and Deck Layouts
Your cabin numbers breakdown according to the following: Our cabin was 14326A.
First 2 numbers – tell which deck # you are on. Deck 14
Last 3 numbers tell how far forward – 326 is all the way forward near the Captain’s Bridge.
A – port side
Z – starboard
Don’t worry, the directional signage was very good and easy to see as you exited the elevators. Not so good when looking for a public bathroom in public areas though. Look for a small sign that says Head, the directional arrows on it don’t stand out well but they’re there.
Virgin Voyages Cabins
It can be hard figuring out which cabin is right for you on any cruise. On Virgin Voyages, everyone is a sailor, well, unless they are a Rock Star. The main difference between the 2 is the cabin you choose.
Budget friendly cabins will make you a Sailor. These include Insider, Sea View, and Sea Terrace.
If you prefer a suite, then you would be a Rock Star and get many perks included with it.
Included For Every Sailor:
- Plentiful US and UK Plugs and USB’s
- Roomy Rainshower – red flower hair wash, conditioner, and body wash
- Tablet that controls mood lighting, room temperature, and easy access to service requests.
- 43” 4K TV
- All restaurant access
- Group Workouts
- Essential Drinks (soda, juice, coffee, tea, water)
A Sea Terrace includes:
Plenty of wardrobe space and drawers, thin hangers
Toilet in separate closed glass door but opening to bathroom area is open.
-1130 sea terrace cabins on decks 8 – 14
– 95 sea view cabins
– 105 insider cabins
– 46 solo traveler cabins (that means you can pay a solo traveler price, no extra charges!)
2 Tips for Choosing a Cabin:
If you like quiet, Deck 14 forward was perfect for it. 14 Midship experienced a little more noise.
Sea Terrace XL gives you a little more space but is only in the forward area.
There are 63 Suites which can make you a Rock Star.
Perks of being a Rock Star:
- VIP pathway to the ship during embarkation.
- Richard’s rooftop access – their own private members club with drinks, sun beds, and more.
- Early booking of dining reservations, spa, shore things (excursions), and tattoos.
- In-room bar.
- A RockStar Agent at your disposal to help ensure you get Rock Star treatment.
And an additional 15 Mega Rock Star Suites – all on deck 15.
- Mega Rock Stars get additional perks such as, daily bar tab, daily spa access, valet parking at Terminal V in Miami, bottomless in-room bar, and Premium Wi-Fi.
- Outdoor peek-a-view shower – wash under the moonlight.
Rock Star Suites
Brilliant Suite – open floor plan facing the sea with terrace sun chairs.
Cheeky Corner Suite – open bedroom overlooking the wake of the ship with an expansive terrace.
Seriously Suite – most popular!
Sweet Aft Suite – right at the center of the aft of the ship for the best photos of the wakeview from the bed or even from inside the shower.
Mega Rock Star Suites
Massive Suite – additional music room, private hot tub, circular conversation pit, stargazing loungers, and 2 full length hammocks.
Fab Suite – open wall for separated bedroom/living room areas and extra half bath, stargazing loungers, and champagne table on terrace.
Posh Suite – separate bedroom/living areas and half bath, stargazing loungers, and champagne table.
Gorgeous Suite – open floor plan with lounge and bedroom areas and extensive terrace.
Virgin Voyages Specialty Packages, Add-Ons, and Loyalty Program
This new way of sailing is still developing so be on the lookout for changes to the experience. Here are some recently announced features:
Add a Splash of Romance Package – For $200 you can add this limited special experience to your voyage which includes:
- A dedicated check-in experience.
- Additional “recognizable” wearable that triggers surprises and delights.
- Kick Off Morning Juice Cabin Drop – cold pressed juice delivered to your cabin every morning.
- One Complimentary Three-Hour Thermal Spa Pass per Sailor.
- One Complimentary Shake for champagne delivered wherever you are.
- Exclusive Sailaway at either the Perch or Richards rooftop depending on
- the number of bookings and at Virgin Voyages’ sole discretion
- Aphrodisiac Food Cabin Drops
Virgin Voyages Sailing Club – Coming in 2023, they will be adding a variety of perks and benefits that start right now..
- Perk 1: Sail in 2022 and get Deep Blue Extras which include an exclusive cocktail event, access to RockStar agents, and a complimentary bottle of Moet & Chandon.
- Perk 2: Book in 2022 during the Red Hot Booking Bonus Months of August 30th to November 15th and receive exclusive on board credit and bonuses towards 2023 status/benefits plus a chance to win an epic Virgin Group Travel Giveaway.
- Perk 3: Match and Sea More! If you’re already in a cruise line rewards program, they are going to match your current status when you book. Submit your loyalty proof.
Depending on when you book and travel, there may be exclusive offers to watch for which could include a Bar Tab Bonus, creating a circle with friends/family for extra credits, or “My Next Virgin Voyage” which can include reduced deposit, onboard credits and more.
Dress Code & What to Pack
If you’re wondering what is the dress code on the Scarlet Lady, you might like hearing that there isn’t one. Do what feels good to you. Dress up or down. The one thing you might want to remember is to bring something RED for Scarlet Night especially but any other night also.
You might also want to pack your cutest or most comfortable pajamas for the Ultimate Pajama party usually on the first night. Again, go with what’s in your comfort zone or push it a bit.
Commitment to Sustainability
Many people don’t want to cruise because of the damaging effects that the industry has caused to the environment. Virgin Voyages has taken steps to be more sustainable and reduce its environmental impact with a goal of being at zero carbon emissions by 2050. These include:
- No single-use plastics on board. (Straws, water/beverage bottles, condiment packets, shopping bags, food packaging, and even beverage stirrers. Recyclable and reusable products only.
- Ships designed to be more energy efficient.
- Sustainably sourced products used on board.
- Reef-safe sunscreen.
- Gratuities included in the voyage fare, the only additional tipping requested is for ocean conservation partners.
The cabins have presence sensors that automatically detect when you have left the cabin and go into energy saver mode. The blinds close and the AC adjusts to an eco-saver temperature. When you return, you will notice the lights turn on and the blinds open as the door opens.
Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady Review
The big question is what is it on Virgin’s adult only cruise?
It’s kind of amazing.
There is a big difference in the kind of events and noise levels. It’s not all debauchery but there is a little naughtiness. There is an overall feeling of inclusivity and freedom for all. There’s no kids so I personally enjoyed having the day to do as I please and not shuffle to drop off and pick up my children from one event to the next or kids clubs. They love cruising just as much as we do yet we have never been on a cruise without at least one of them with us. If there was a prescription written for some “Me time”, then this was just what the doctor ordered.
Overall, most of the food is very good and the entertainment showcases very talented artists in every aspect. The selection of activities may delight you as some will make you feel like a kid again at summer camp while others can have a very adult nature. It really depends on what you expect from yourself while in this space.
You could easily spend your time relaxing away from the fun and games without noticing any of it or you can dive right in and be a part of it all, on stage, in secret parties, and dancing the night away.
If you’re ready for a new and different experience where the cast makes everyone feel like a Rock Star then give it a try. It’s best to expect a lot of the unexpected, release some of your cultural and societal norms and wonder (or wander) around with new eyes.
While you’re enjoying lots of play time and immersive experiences, you still have luxurious surroundings, and food to suit any taste or dietary needs. Be prepared to jump on the teeter totter, keep a ball from hitting the floor, or experience the best pool party at sea. You can also just sit on your balcony swaying in your hammock with a sea view. It’s your vacation SO the choice is yours.
We have so much more to talk about when it comes to truly enjoying sailing the Virgin Way, so be sure to check out our Instagram for videos and come back for our next posts that will tell you more about the Entertainment, the Dining, and of course, the Beach Club!