Virgin Voyages is a new cruise line for guests 18 and older. I was excited to give it a try on a 4 night sailing from Miami.
My sister and I traveled from NY to Miami the day before the cruise – which is always the best idea so you have a cushion in case of travel delays. We had a 2 pm embarking time so after a relaxing morning at the hotel, we made our way to the port. A rapid test was required at the port. We had received an email the day before with a form to complete for the text.
Virgin Voyages just opened their own terminal at the port of Miami. It was so nice. Plenty of space and very well organized. There were plenty of crew members available to provide directions. From start to finish, it took us about 20 minutes from arriving to the port to getting on board.
On your Virgin Voyage you will use “the Band.” You wear it all the time throughout your voyage. It is your room key and you will use it for any purchases you make on board.
We went right to our cabin and our room attendant came right over to introduce herself. The room is set up as a queen bed but can be split into two single beds that meet at one end. We asked if we could have the beds made up with our feet at the meeting point which was no problem at all. Our attendant showed us two buttons in the room. If you press the “do not disturb” button, a red bar lights up under your room number outside. If you press “please service,” a blue bar lights up to indicate you would like your room made up. Our attendant explained that she should be in once a day to make up the room but if you needed anything else, you can make a request in the app or on the tablet in the room and it will be dropped off to you.
With the bed made up as two singles, there was plenty of space in the room. Storage was a little lacking. There are some shelves and a closet area. Suitcases do not fit under the bed so you need to stand them in the closet area. The bathroom was definitely my biggest negative to the room. It was super small. As my sister said, “You could sit on the toilet and put your feet in the shower.” We made it work but it was tight. The balcony had my favorite feature of the whole room – the hammock. It was so comfy and easy to get in and out of.
After dropping our carry on bags, we went up to the Galley to grab something to eat. There is no buffet on board. Instead, there is a food court type area. Right now (due to COVID), you chose a table and a server will come and take an order for anything available in that area. You can order from multiple areas at the same time. We ordered a burger and fries. They were made fresh and arrived nice and hot.
Then we went exploring a bit and found a cabana type seating area on the top deck. It was also time for a cocktail. There are no beverage packages on Virgin. You can pay per drink on board or you can add money to your “bar tab” prior to your cruise and Virgin will give you a bonus. The amount of the bonus will vary based on the current promotion. We added $300 and Virgin gave us a $100 bonus. You can share it within the cabin – and we discovered it is basically an on board credit so you can use it for other items, such as spa treatments. Tips are all included with drinks which made it so easy. They just scan you band and you are good to go. No little pieces of paper to sign or tips to add.
Since cruises have restarted after COVID, the traditional muster station drill has been revamped. For Virgin, there is a video that you need to watch either in the app or in your stateroom. We grabbed a drink and a seat and put it on in the app. Virgin made their safety video into a rock music video. It was amusing and as is their theme, it was something different. At 4:30 we needed to go to our muster location where they checked us off, gave a brief lifejacket demo, and we were done. Easy and fast.
After we finished that we went to our cabin to find our suitcases had arrived. We unpacked and relaxed a bit – yes, I was in the hammock – until it was time for dinner.
Our dinner for tonight was at Extra Virgin, their Italian restaurant. We were travelling with 4 other friends, and we had all decided to eat all together this night. The food was excellent, with the exception of one dish of mine. I had a braised meatball appetizer which was outstanding. For my pasta dish, I had spaghetti with clams. They make their pasta fresh. The portion was huge though the clams were a little small. For my main course, I had a brussel sprout dish over polenta. This was a miss for me as it was very spicy. For dessert, we all had the affogato which is made table side. You can chose from three fresh made gelatos and then there are toppings and a shot of expresso poured over. I had vanilla gelato with pine nuts.
After dinner, Sue and I hit the casino for a little bit. It is smaller than other ship casinos, but it is smoke free which is a plus in my book.
Then we decided to have a little ice cream snack before bed. The name of the ice cream shop is “Lick me ‘til…Ice cream” Yes, you read that right. Little innuendoes like that were common throughout the cruise so the easily offended may not want to sail. To me, it’s all in good fun. And the ice cream was yum. Again, it is fresh and they have some interesting flavors although I went with a more typical butter pecan.
And with that, we called it a night for day one.
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I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.