If you’re planning a Virgin Voyages cruise, you might be feeling overwhelmed. Are reservations necessary on Scarlet Lady? Does Virgin Voyages have a sailaway party? Maybe some activities seem a bit risqué for your taste. After sailing Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady several times, we decided to put together a list of seven “dos and don'ts” to prepare you for your cruise.
Do sign up for the Grog Walk on the first or second night of the sailing, especially if you’re traveling solo
Billy and I are not big fans of sugary mixed drinks, so we don’t usually do pub crawls unless we are traveling with others, but this was suggested as an alternative when a tasting we had signed up for was canceled, and I’m glad we tried it (and not just for the food stop we made in Pink Agave).
I got to try a very strange, yet surprisingly delicious cocktail that I probably would not have ordered otherwise, and we found it to be a great way to get acquainted with what was at all of the bars and lounges that we would want to go back to later. We even “rediscovered” a bar that we had seen when we toured the ship but completely forgot existed on our first and second sailings. We also made several new friends that we had a blast hanging out with throughout the cruise. This is partially thanks to Virgin building in some social aspects, including challenges that you complete in order to get your drink, like drawing people you're with.
Looking for opportunities to socialize that don’t have to involve alcohol? There are plenty of other activities to enjoy such as afternoon tea or a painting class. For a more high energy atmosphere, check out the karaoke party at The Social Club, which features the same great selection of songs you can find in the private karaoke rooms at the Groupie but with an audience to cheer you on!
Whether you can’t get the reservations you wanted, or you just forget about it, don’t sweat it. Most of the time, walk ups have been easy to come by. In our experience, if a restaurant was busy on a particular night, there was always plenty of availability at another restaurant, and the one we initially tried would be less busy the following night. For the most part, we’ve had no problem being seated right away when showing up without a reservation as a party of 2 - 4 people at the time we like to eat (usually between 7:30 and 8:30 pm). If you are sailing with a larger group, try and get your reservations in, or chat with someone at one of the restaurants on the day you arrive.
Do try to log into the Virgin Voyages WiFi at the port to make reservations via the app before boarding
Workout classes and entertainment cannot be booked until you board the ship and connect to the WiFi. There is a trick though. Once you arrive to the terminal, look for a network called, “AHOYMIAMI”. Once you connect to that network you can reserve things just like you’re onboard. This is helpful for booking shows or classes that might fill up quickly once everyone is on the ship.
Sailors traveling in standard cabins can use the app to reserve dining 45 days prior to departure (60 days for those booked in Rockstar and Mega Rockstar Quarters). Shore Things (Virgin's term for excursions) are also bookable on the Virgin Voyages app prior to sailing (120 days for standard cabins, or 135 for Rockstar and Mega Rockstar sailors).
You may be ready for a deck party at sail away, and this is another area where the way Virgin Voyages does things in a different way that came as a pleasant surprise. Instead of a DJ or calypso band by the pool, on our sailings we enjoyed a live funk band while sipping sparkling wine. What’s better? For the duration of the party complimentary sparkling wine is complementary and when you finish a glass, you are quickly brought another one. As a bonus, Scarlet Lady’s departure happens a little later than most, which means sailors either get to see the sunset over the horizon, or the beautifully lit Miami skyline at night.
Do linger for a bit when you see people hanging around holding a musical instrument or carrying something that looks like a prop
We truly enjoyed all of the unique entertainment options we got to enjoy on Scarlet Lady, and The Phantom Folktales Players (produced by PigPen Theatre Co.) completely blew us away. While it is worth attending the one or two scheduled shows they have per sailing (for which the time can be found in the lineup section of the app), the best way to enjoy what they have to offer is by catching some of the pop-ups they do around the ship. These whimsical performances, which can be musical, theatrical or both, do happen quickly and only when people are watching, so you may have to slow down a little and pay attention to what is going on around you to catch one.
Don’t be afraid to sit up front at one of the sexier shows, Never Sleep Alone (NSA), even if you are not into audience participation
One of the best things about this adult themed show is that it is highly interactive, and therefore, always a little different.
If my use of the word “interactive” makes you want to find the table furthest away from the stage, allow me to reassure you that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Before the actual show starts, two performers that assist the sexologist will talk to each audience member as they sit down and ask them to rate how adventurous they feel on a scale of 1 to 10. They write the answers down so no one is pressured (or even asked) to go up on stage if they don’t want to, regardless of where they sit. This, like the grog walk, is a great example of Virgin excelling at the social aspect of cruising.
On Virgin, your Bar Tab is like onboard credit for drinks. You can pay as you go like any other line, but if you know you’ll be spending at least $300 at the bar, there is a way to save some cash. For every $300 you prepay before your cruise, you’ll get at least $50 in bonus Bar Tab. This amount is sometimes increased with promotions so you can save even more. The easiest way to do this is to have your travel agent handle it. The same awesome people at TouringPlans Travel who book our trips can help you with this.
More Virgin Voyages Info and Tips
This list just scratches the surface when it comes to what Virgin has to offer. Fortunately, we have much more to share:
The best way, however, is to let us help you. In addition to the assistance of our awesome travel partners at TouringPlans Travel, you can join us onboard! Come along for CruiseHabit’s Virgin Voyages Group Cruise in July, and we will show you how to make the most of what Scarlet Lady has to offer. You’ll also be able to take advantage of exclusive special events and savings.