I just returned from my very first Virgin Voyages cruise: a 5-night Dominican Daze itinerary on the Scarlet Lady. I swam in the clear warm waters of Bimini and slid down natural rock slides at Damajagua Waterfalls. I drank frozen cocktails by day and champagne by night. I sang karaoke and danced in my pajamas. The whole experience was absolutely amazing.
But sailing with Virgin was quite different from sailing with other, more traditional cruise lines. To make the most of my trip, it was important to know a few things ahead of time.
So here are my top six tips for making your next Virgin Voyages cruise an unforgettable one.
Forget What You Know About Cruising
Virgin Voyages really aimed to set themselves apart from other cruise lines, and in my opinion, they succeeded. From the décor to the dining to the entertainment to the activities, the whole experience is definitely cruising done differently.
Every space is infused with style and panache. Red lights and electronic music are omnipresent; at one point, I commented to a fellow passenger that even the elevator feels like a club. It’s almost as if you’re on an enormous superyacht instead of an ocean liner. Arrive open-minded and be ready to party.
Make Dinner Reservations Ahead of Time
My second tip is an important one, and that is to book dining reservations well ahead of time – I mean well before you even board the ship. Part of what makes Virgin different as a cruise line is that they don’t have a main dining room or even a buffet. Instead, they have a variety of specialty restaurants that are included with your cruise fare – even an upscale steakhouse and a Korean BBQ. But there are no set dining times and if you don’t secure a table beforehand, you might not get to enjoy every restaurant you want at the times you want.
So, when the window opens (usually about thirty or forty-five days before your cruise), get on the Virgin app and reserve your dining quick. It’s very simple, but the best times book up fast. And you don’t want to board without those reservations in place, or you might get stuck at the burger joint every night.
Pack for Special Virgin Voyages Events
My third tip is to pack for special Virgin Voyages events. I don’t mean formal night – Virgin doesn’t have those. I’m talking about two special Virgin-specific events that take place on their ships.
First, there’s the Pajama Party. It’s held on the first night on the top deck, so pack some jammies that you’ll be comfortable showing off on the dance floor.
The second event is Scarlet Night. I don’t want to talk about Scarlet Night too much because I feel like so much of the excitement of the evening was is in the surprise – something different and shocking around every corner! But you’ll want to wear something red: a dress, a shirt, shoes, whatever. Just make it scarlet.
Splurge on Extra Activities
My fourth tip is to spend a little extra cash for some of their extra-special onboard activities. Now, you don’t have to spend extra money to have a good time on a Virgin Voyages cruise, because there are a lot of included activities – yoga every morning, karaoke every night, and a ton of free games at the Social Club. But there are some experiences that cost just a little bit more for a lot more fun.
The two extra activities I paid for were the Plate, Snap, Eat: Foodie Photo Workshop, where you learn how to take amazing Instagram-worthy food photographs, and the Painting and Boozy Bevvies class, where I got bottomless bubbly and painted a beautiful canvas that I got to take home.
So when you get on board, scroll through the app and see what’s on offer. Then reserve what looks good immediately, because space in these special events is limited.
Leave Your Inhibitions Onshore
My fifth tip is to leave your inhibitions on shore. From the moment you step foot on a Virgin Voyages ship, you’re in a judgement free-zone. The vibe is inclusive and free-spirited and just a little bit naughty (I mean, it is kid-free!). But above all, it is so, so fun.
Plan Your Virgin Voyages Cruise With Me
Finally, if you really want to make the most of your cruise, book with me. Did you know that in addition to being a cruise blogger, I’m also a legit travel advisor with Novel World Travel? And as a member of the Virtuoso consortium, I can get you access to special rates and inclusions on your next Virgin Voyages trip that you won’t be able to find elsewhere.
Plus, I’ll remind you of all the important stuff you need to do when you need to do it – like pack your special jammies and sign up for restaurant reservations.
So shoot me a message and let me know when you’d like to set sail!