A Virgin Voyages cruise is unlike any you’ve been on before. They market themselves as different from other cruise lines and back that up with unusual pricing, creative entertainment, no drink packages, and an onboard environment that isn’t for everyone but (hopefully) speaks to the guests (Sailors in Virgin Voyages language) they’re trying to get on their ships. Below are five things you need to know before booking your first Virgin Voyages cruise.
Related: Joel’s first impressions of Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages first ship
Adults Only, Please
Virgin Voyages cruises are not for everyone. Specifically, they’re not for kids. Unlike other cruise lines that allow guests under 18 but don’t have (m)any on board — I’m looking at you Silversea, AMAWaterways, and American Queen (among others) — Virgin does not allow Sailors who are under 18. If a guest isn’t 18 by the day it’s time to board the ship they’re out of luck.
Being adults only, a Virgin Voyage cruise is a completely different experience from what I’m used to. There is far less noise, much fewer people fighting for chairs around the pool, much less sidestepping of children and as a result, fewer spilled drinks. Simply being an adult isn’t necessarily the only criteria you need to consider when you’re deciding whether a Virgin Voyage cruise is for you. Everything about Virgin encourages (maybe requires) Sailors to be young at heart and as you read on, that will become abundantly clear. Virgin isn’t for everyone.
Like Madonna, Virgin Wants You to Express Yourself
Virgin Voyages cruises are filled with Sailors and crew who express themselves in unique and colorful ways. Other cruise lines force crew members to cover up any tattoos but Virgin allows their crew to have any tattoos on display. Speaking of other cruise lines, how many bearded crew members have you seen on board? Not many. That isn’t the case on a Virgin Voyages cruise. Sailors have plenty of chances to be themselves, too. Theme night parties and shows that encourage individualism are plentiful onboard a Virgin Voyages cruise.
Virgin Voyages cruises prices are unique and at first glance appear to be more expensive than the competition. However, in the end prices are comparable when you consider the $600 value of stuff everyone buys on other cruise lines but is included by Virgin. Things like “basic bevvies” (soda, coffee, still and sparkling water, non-pressed juices, coffee, and tea), WiFi, gratuities, group workouts, and food from over 20 eateries including six restaurants that would be “premium dining” on every other cruise line.
Related: Fine Dining Options on Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady
Related: Casual food options on Scarlet Lady
Related: Virgin Voyages Drink Packages
So there’s no drink packages? Correct. Before you click away in shock and disgust, give this idea some thought. Virgin certainly did. There is a LOT to like about this concept. First, on other cruise lines, if there’s only one person on a reservation who normally wears out the drink package, guests are still forced to get the package for both. Bam. Money ahead. The drinks are fairly priced (and the prices are in plain sight, no shenanigans) and are made with much better alcohol than what is served on other lines. Usually when I’m on a cruise I drink enough to make the (expensive) drink package worthwhile but on the Virgin Voyages cruise, I didn’t feel like I needed to drink as much. Better quality alcohol, fewer drinks… Goodbye hangover and hello memory of what I did on board.
Virgin Voyages Put WHAT on a Cruise Ship?
Be ready for unique experiences on a Virgin Voyages cruise. Remember listening to music on those frisbee like things that spun around on a machine? You’ll love spending time at Voyage Vinyl, a record shop at sea with a great collection of, well, vinyl to listen to and purchase. If you’re an audiophile you’ll want to check this out (and bring your wrist band so you can buy that album from your childhood).
Remember that mention of expressing yourself? The first tattoo studio at sea lives on Virgin Voyages cruises. Squid Ink is the perfect place to commemorate your vacation, whether it’s your first tattoo or an addition to your collection. There was some speculation I might come home with one, but alas, there wasn’t enough time… On this cruise.
You Don’t Need Rolls of Quarters
Remember spending hours (and lets not even talk about money) at the arcade? If you’re like me, some of your favorite memories are of getting the high score and hoping the power doesn’t turn off at the end of the night so it would be there as proof the next day. The major cruise lines have arcades, of course, that’s nothing new. But on a Virgin Voyages cruise that arcade is, drum roll please… Free. To manage your expectations, there are no tickets for cheap rewards. No skee-ball, or guitar hero, either. There are a handful of the classic arcade games that you can play till your heart is content without worrying about how many quarters you have in your pocket. Don’t blame me when you realize the games seem to move a lot quicker now that you’re not a teenager.
Virgin set out to be rebels in the cruise industry and they succeeded and if you’re open-minded and young at heart, there is a lot to love about being on a Virgin Voyage cruise. Ready to start planning your cruise? Use the contact form or call Joel (844-483-6669) for free information, advice, and assistance planning your next getaway.
About the Author
Joel is a co-owner of JJ Travel Associates (a Dream Vacations franchise), blogger-in-chief at JoelKnowsTravel.com, lover of all things travel (especially UNESCO World Heritage Sites), wannabe comedian, and the person you should call if you're thinking of planning a vacation.