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HOW VIRGIN VOYAGES IS MAKING WAVES WITH THEIR CRUISING EXPERIENCE

Updated: Jan 11

Does the destination matter most to you when booking a cruise?


Personally, the cruise line is more important for me. Especially after the bad experience I had on MSC Cruises (see my honest review here) a few months ago, I feel that choosing the right cruise is just as important as the destination.



Virgin Voyages is a cruise line that I have been eyeing since 2022. The design of the ships, reviews I came across, the many perks offered (more about this below), all impacted my decision to book with Virgin Voyages. I was just waiting for the right time. Did you know that Virgin Voyages has also been nominated for 11 awards in 2023 alone? They are also the first brand to win 5 awards (Best Overall Cruise Line, Best Dining, Best Service, Best Cabins, Best Value for Money) from Cruise Critic Cruiser's Choice Awards.


These nominations encapsulate everything that makes us proud at Virgin Voyages, including our Michelin-star chef-curated menus, our epic entertainment, brilliant service, and our dreamy itineraries. We really owe it all to our fantastic Sailors and Crew who make each voyage unlike the last, and who both (literally and figuratively) keep us afloat.


I finally managed to book a last minute trip in December on the Scarlet Lady. I booked the Western Caribbean charm. The cruise was 6 nights, 7 days long and sailed out of Miami.


Below, you will find seven reasons why I would strongly suggest considering Virgin Voyages for your next cruise. Though I heard their ships are very similar, I wouldn't mind going back on board to another destination, simply for the wonderful experience we had.


1. GETTING A BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

One of the biggest factors that impacted my decision to book with Virgin Voyages is the benefit of having everything (or almost everything) included in the price. From gratuities to basics that would you would otherwise have to pay onboard other cruise lines, Virgin Voyages has it included for you.



Think Wi-Fi, beverages (essential drinks like juices and sodas), entertainment and access to over 20 restaurants (on other ships, you need to pay extra for specialty dining, so this was a great bonus). The group fitness classes was a nice touch as well, especially since they offered fun classes that makes working out even better. I loved that they have spinning classes, yoga, bungee classes and themed dance classes (ie: have your own boyband). I would only have preferred to see better timings offered for some of the classes, as some tend to be very early in the morning and others interfered with other interesting activities.


Though for the specialty restaurants, you need to make reserve a slot on the app in advance, you will notice that they fill up quick. Don't worry, as you can sometimes walk-in to see if anything becomes available or check throughout the week to see if any more slots open up. We managed to secure a reservation at all the restaurants, including visiting Razzle Dazzle and the Wake twice (once for brunch, once for dinner) during our sailing.


2. FEELING AT PEACE

Another perk for me was the no-kid policy. What better way to relax on a vacation than not having to worry about being surrounded by crying babies and energetic toddlers running around. Virgin Voyages also allows you to bring your inner child back, by offering an arcade on-board, lots of board games to keep you busy, fun games with the hosts and other sailors, and so much more.


There is a good variation in activities offered, from themed nights, to themed games, keeping a good balance between interests. There is also lots of spots around the ship to sit back, read a book or simply chill. Need I say more?


3. REDUCING WASTE, ONE MEAL AT A TIME

Virgin Voyages does not offer buffets on-board. Instead, you can find meals in smaller portions, which I find is a great way of trying different items, while also reducing waste. I personally loved having access to so many options and found that it was a great way of ensuring there is something for everyone. Additionally, I loved how there were several healthy, vegetarian and vegan options on-board. Although halal meat was not offered, I still had a choice of what to eat and where.


4. FEELING LIKE ROYALTY WITH THEIR LOYALTY PROGRAM

I was treated to an exclusive $100 bar tab due to my status. Though it was my first sailing with Virgin Voyages, I was able to do a status match to score Deep Sea Blue Extras on-board. Want to feel like VIP? Some perks of the Sailing Club include expedited boarding a free upgrade to premium Wi-Fi, a $10 specialty coffee credit each day, among other perks.


5. CHAMPIONS OF THE SEA

Any brand that makes sustainability a priority is a huge plus for me. There were many times where I could see the efforts Virgin Voyages has set in place, from the designs of the ship, to the environmentally-friendly takeout boxes used, to seeing the material from which things are made of on board, it was clear to me that the brand cares about the environment and is contributing to a better planet.


While doing further research about the brand, I have also found that Virgin Voyages commitment to create "An Epic Sea Change For All." They have removed all single-use plastics, but has also pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. They have tested sustainable marine fuels recently and have a "Sea Change Fund" program onboard that supports mangrove reforestation in the Caribbean.


6. A SHIPLOAD OF LOVE


Good vibes ONLY! A zero judgement zone. Wear what you like. Dress up if you feel like. Virgin Voyages does not judge. It's a welcoming place, where you are free to do as you please and meet others who are open-minded. The staff are very friendly and fun to be around as well, which makes the experience just that more memorable.


Something that really added the WOW factor to my experience was the friendliness of others on board. Usually when I'm sitting at a restaurant and there is someone on the table next to us, they don't tend to interact or care to talk to us (that is my experience on other cruises I've been on). However, on Virgin Voyages, I found that it was very easy to make friends. They even encourage you to meet others, as they organize several events that allows you to work with teams and they have a social culinary experience at the Korean BBQ restaurant (Gunbae). One of the best parts of that is that you also come across people coming from all walks of life.


7. KEEPING IT TRENDY

Your ship card is a bracelet, called The Band. It's a fashionable piece, made from approximately 6 grams of recycled ocean plastic. The Band looks has a nautical rope design, and a silver anchor to keep it all together. I was pretty impressed with it and found The Band to be very comfortable too. It is super convenient, as you don't need to take it off. It is also waterproof, and is easily scanned for onboard purchases.


Additionally, their room was very comfortable. We got the Insider cabin, and I was very happy with the amount of storage space, the extra space inside to walk around and the fact that the bed can be converted to a sofa.


The comfort level is completely controlled by you, through the touch of an in-room tablet. You can change your lights to fit your mood, from zen, to pump it up, to having choosing which lights you want on/off in the room.


There is also a good mix of different movie genres to choose from. The cabin also includes very cute details, such as nice art pieces that add the perfect touch of the sea and is available for purchase, if you wish.


There are several aesthetic photo ops across the ship, making for the perfect "Instagrammable" spots to snap a few pictures and capture the memories made aboard, such as at the entrance of the Manor (my personal favourite).



Let me know what factors impact your decision when choosing the right cruise for you!







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