Known for their innovative array of sleek, chic, exclusively adults-only ships, Virgin Voyages has been making waves in the industry with their distinctly modern style of cruising.
Cruise.co.uk specialist consultant Ava North has had the pleasure of voyaging with Virgin Voyages, not once but twice! In this blog, she discusses her two trips with Virgin Voyages, including some of her favourite spots to eat onboard, sizzling entertainment plus highlights of some of the excellent itineraries Virgin Voyages offers their sailors.
Read on to get the lowdown on what it’s really like to cruise with Virgin Voyages…
Scarlet Lady, Caribbean – November 2021
From Chilling at Bimini Beach Club to snorkeling the SS Sapona in the Bermuda Triangle, a Caribbean Voyage with Virgin Voyages should be at the top of your Bucket List. In November 2021, my partner and I had the most amazing holiday.
We started our trip with a night stay in Key Largo and the following morning we drove in a Red Convertible Mustang (got to do it in style) all the way through the Florida Keys down to Key West which was such a great add on before our cruise and I definitely would recommend the journey. We then had a lovely 2 days back up in Miami before boarding Scarlet Lady for the ‘Mayan Sol’ itinerary.
I had previously been on Scarlet Lady for her launch back in February 2020 and I loved the experience so I was very excited to spend 5 nights onboard with my partner. We loved everything on board and tried to see everything. We played basketball in the ‘Sports Area’, played games in ‘The Social Club’ and did a spot of shopping on the ‘High Street’.
The ports of call on our Voyage were Costa Maya in Mexico and Bimini in the Bahamas. In Costa Maya, we did an excursion in which we went on a bike ride to a beach bar and got the opportunity to go out to sea in a glass-bottom kayak.
It was such a great experience and we even got to see the fish swimming below us. Bimini is where Virgin’s private Beach Club is located, but before we headed to the beach club we joined another excursion that took us out to the site of the shipwreck of the SS Sapona which is located inside the Bermuda Triangle.
I have got to say that I was probably a little nervous as it was a completely new experience for me but it was a highlight of the ship as we also got to swim with sharks too. My partner was in his element, he loved every moment of it as he is an explorer at heart. After the rush of swimming through a shipwreck and with the sharks we welcomed a nice chilled afternoon at the beach club where the food and soft drinks are included (as they are on the ship).
Whilst on board we met some great people who we are still in touch with, this was all because of ‘Gunbae’ which is the Korean BBQ Restaurant, and what an experience it is: you all sit around the table and cook the food in front of you, the different flavours get your taste buds tingling and the game 3-6-9 (Sam-Yuk-Gu) gets you clapping. I definitely recommend you make a reservation for Gunabe on any cruise with Virgin Voyages.
We were so sad to leave the ship at the end of our Voyage but we knew it wouldn’t be too long until we were back onboard.
Valiant Lady, Mediterranean – May 2022
From driving an ATV up the mountains in Sardinia to trying to get that perfect pic at the leaning tower of Pisa, ‘The Irresisitanble Med’ itinerary on board Valiant Lady in May was definitely something to write home about!
We embarked in Barcelona and decided to fly out a day early in order to see the sights and it’s just the loveliest city. We decided to take a trip on the Montjuïc cable car to get a full panoramic view of the city and WOW it did not disappoint, continuing the WOW Factor, we then made a stop at Camp Nou and did a full stadium tour, it was just fantastic. We then headed back to the hotel to get ready for an evening in Las Ramblas where we met Anne (also from Cruise.co.uk) and her husband for dinner to experience the local Spanish Cuisine.
This cruise was a little different as we were lucky enough to have some of my colleagues on board. We had the most amazing week onboard as the atmosphere on board was so vibrant. This all started at Sailaway from Barcelona port, the champagne was flowing around the pool and the tunes were booming. It was a great start to the holiday and so much fun to have several of my colleagues there and their partners/friends.
The amazing ports of call on this Voyage were Marina di Carrara (Pisa), Cagliari (Sardinia), Corscia and then an overnight in Ibiza. To get to Pisa we decided to do this by ourselves and got the train which wasn’t too far and a short walk to the Leaning Tower, we then of course got a lovely Italian Lunch before heading back to the ship. In Sardinia, we did an ATV excursion with Virgin (for the ATV excursion you need to book early as it sells out), we went in convoy up the mountain tracks and it was so much fun.
For our overnight in Ibiza, we decided as a group to grab taxis from the port and head straight to the Sunset Strip in San Antonio, we had drinks at Savanah and watched as the sun set out to sea.
The vibe on board is very relaxed and also super fun. From quizzes in the ‘Loose Cannon’ to Karaoke in ‘The Groupie’ there is something for everyone. There is even a Tattoo Parlour on board called ‘Squid Ink’, and I, of course, had to get a tattoo on board as they are the first Cruise Line to offer tattoos at sea. And in true Cruise style I got an Anchor on my wrist.
The biggest night on board is Scarlet Night, it all starts down at the Dock House, moves through the ship, and ends up around the pool where the party really gets started. From dancing around the pool to jumping in the pool fully clothed, it’s a night not to be missed. And if you still want more, you can head to The Manor for the after party which is where you can get some pics in the famous glittery tunnel.
Food, Food, and More Food!
(With over 20 eateries available onboard and all included!)
Here are some top tips from my experience onboard:
The Wake – If you like Steak and Seafood then this is the restaurant for you, with amazing choices of starters, mains, and desserts the sides are also super tasty. If you can’t decide I recommend getting a dish each and an extra to share to make sure you really get the most out of your experience at The Wake.
Pink Agave – For all you spicy lovers out there, this is the place for you. I can’t handle too much spice so my water glass was regularly filled by the amazing wait staff. Even though it was too spicy for me (I have a very low threshold for spice), I just couldn’t stop eating it because it was just so tasty.
Gunbae – This is one of my favourite restaurants onboard, not just because of the food but the incredible atmosphere. From playing the drinking game with the host to cooking the food in front of us, it’s just the best experience and the whole restaurant just comes alive with the sound of everyone laughing, clapping, and shouting Gunbae.
Extra Virgin – Extra Virgin is one of the best Italians at sea. We went to Extra Virgin as a big group of 12 and it was the best night. We pretty much ordered everything on the menu to make sure we all tried everything and your tastebuds truly came alive. This is one restaurant you want to make sure you visit whilst on a Virgin Voyages cruise.
The Test Kitchen – This is such a unique dining venue and whether you end up loving the food or not, you will definitely love the experience. If you are on a voyage of 7 nights or more then Virgin will usually change the menu halfway through the voyage so you can pick the best menu choice for you to ensure you maximize your experience.
The Dock House – The Dock House is great for any time of the day, you can go for a lunchtime snack or tapas whilst you sail away. The mezze-style food is incredible especially the prawns so it is a must-do whilst on your cruise.// END - About the Author ?>