When I heard that Richard Branson had launched Virgin Voyages aiming to shake up the cruise industry, I was very hopeful. We have cruised before and were hoping his vision for cruising could eliminate some of the things we didn’t like.
So we got a good deal and booked a Virgin Voyages cruise out of Athens to visit Croatia, Montenegro, and Greece. And while we were on that cruise, we liked it so much that we booked a cruise out of Barcelona to visit France, Italy, and Spain. Now we have been on two completely different cruises and wanted to share our Virgin Voyages review.
This article is a comprehensive review of Virgin Voyages cruises, but in short, we love that Virgin Voyages has the most inclusive pricing and the fewest upcharges on board, and is adult-only.
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In this Virgin Voyager Cruise Review, we are going to be covering every aspect of their cruises that you need to know. We’ll talk about the destinations, the ships, onboard activities and amenities, dining, entertainment, pricing, and more.
Virgin Voyages Reviews & Awards
It appears we are not the only ones who love Virgin Voyages. Most recently, they won 2023’s Cruise Critic’s Best Overall Cruise Line and Cruise Critic Best Dining, Best Cabins, and Best Value-For-Money awards. This makes them the first cruise line to win all five Cruise Critics awards in a single year.
Watch Our Full Review on YouTube on Virgin Cruises
Virgin Voyages Review: Overview
As mentioned, Virgin Voyages launched in 2020 with only two ships in their fleet. While their beginning was small, the company’s determination to set itself apart from traditional cruise lines is catching momentum. Even with the pause in traveling due to the pandemic, Virgin Voyages now has 4 ships in their fleet, and it won’t be a surprise if they add more in the near future.
Why Virgin Voyages?
With other cruise lines, your base price is only the start of what you are going to pay. With Virgin Cruises, your pricing includes tips, taxes, Wi-Fi, and all restaurants.
The only things you need to plan on paying for are some drinks and excursions.
We loved that the alcohol was affordable and we only paid for our spa treatments on board and excursions.
I felt some guilt going on a cruise knowing its negative environmental impact. The good news is through innovative and sustainable technologies, banning unnecessary single-use plastics, and thoughtfully sourcing food and retail merchandise, Virgin is working hard to have Net Zero Carbon emissions by 2050.
So even if a Virgin Voyages Cruise still has a negative environmental impact, it’s nice to know that by giving them our business we are supporting the innovation to get the industry cruising in the right direction.
Virgin Voyages had chefs from Michelin-star restaurants create the food concepts and it was clear from our first meal. There are no buffets and no specialty restaurants that cost extra, in contrast to other cruise lines that are constantly trying to upsell you.
We made dinner reservations in the Virgin Voyages app in advance of the cruise and were able to make changes as we went, making additional reservations at the restaurants we loved and change times when needed. (More on the restaurants below.)
This is not just an adult-focused cruise line; there are no kids allowed. The minimum age is 18. We personally like kids, but we loved that everything felt like it was made for us.
With no kids allowed, the cruise entertainment, food, and amenities are all tailored to an adult audience. We noticed this in the health and wellness offerings as well, including group fitness classes and the different workout areas.
Each Virgin Voyages ship has a sleek design with a luxurious atmosphere. A majority of the cabins and suites offer guests balconies and ocean views. When on a Virgin Voyages ship, you will find a balance of relaxation and play with several pools, bars, workout areas, and restaurants.
Virgin Voyages Food Review
Let’s talk more about one of the most important parts of any vacation, the food!
So when I think of food on a cruise things have been hit or miss on other cruise lines.
We had a completely different experience on a Virgin Voyage.
There are over 20 dining options to choose from on Virgin Voyages ships created by Michelin-starred chefs. Some of the restaurants include steak and seafood, Italian, vegetarian, hibachi, Mexican, and even an experimental kitchen.
Another great feature is you can find a good selection of food around the clock! Most restaurants close at 10, but the burger bar goes till 11:30pm and there is a 24-hour dinner.
You can order as much food as you would like including multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
The Wake Review
The Wake is a popular steak and seafood restaurant that serves breakfast, brunch, and dinner.
Make sure you grab reservations for both brunch and dinner at The Wake. We loved the Roasted Bone Marrow, New Zealand Lamb Chops, Brown Butter Roasted Wild Mushrooms, and asparagus for dinner and the eggs benedict.
Razzle Dazzle Review
For vegetarians, Razzle Dazzle is a great option as a majority of the menu excludes meat. Razzle Dazzle has a casual dining atmosphere with a unique menu for breakfast, brunch, and dinner.
This was our first dinner on board and we ended up coming back again for brunch and again for dinner. One benefit is the staff recognized us and were great each time.
For brunch, service starts with offering coffee, tea, juices, and a selection of pastries. The wild mushroom frittata was the best breakfast item of the trip for us. The chicken biscuit and watermelon appetizer and the probiotic hash were excellent.
We loved the braised lamb shank and the braised leak dish for dinner.
Make sure you ask for the secret menu!
You may have guessed by the name that Extra Virgin is an Italian restaurant. When dining at Extra Virgin, you will find classic Italian dishes such as meatballs, homemade pasta, cheese and meats, calamari, and unique Italian tapas.
Everything at Extra Virgin was delicious. Every time we visited we ordered a ton of food.
Our favorites included a cheese and charcuterie board, beef carpaccio, meatballs, calamari, fired artichoke, gnocchi, a NY Strip, and gelato affogato, which they prepared custom tableside. Honestly, one of the best Italian restaurants I have ever been to.
If you crave Mexican food while on a cruise, then head to Pink Agave. This is an intimate and luxurious Mexican restaurant that serves classic Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, tacos, guacamole, cochinita pibil (smoked pork), chorizo, and seafood.
We really liked the drink selection including spiked agua frescas. We both ordered passion fruit agua fresca, but one with vodka and one with tequila. The appetizers were great, especially the guacamole and the enchiladas. A lot of people recommended the steak with cheese, but I didn’t really get the hype. The steak was cooked perfectly, but why the cheese?
Tied for our favorite with Razzle Dazzle is the Test Kitchen, a laboratory-themed restaurant where Virgin Voyages chefs experiment with ingredients and make up new recipes. When we said Virgin Voyages is different than other cruise lines, this is what we meant.
There are two different menus that rotate throughout the cruise with 5 courses each, and you will have an opportunity to experience dishes that have never been served before. You can also try different vegetarian menus.
Similar to other Virgin Voyages reviews we have seen, some of the items are a little bit of a stretch with being too experimental, but with 5 courses we are still left full. We both enjoyed our main dish which was beef tenderloin or venison. They also offered a drink pairing that we passed on but was a good value we will take advantage of next time with 6 cocktails or wine pairings for $35.
If you are an extrovert or an introvert looking for a way to get out of your shell, then Gunbae is the place to be. This is a Korean bbq restaurant where guests from all over the world can sit together for dinner and a show.
The meal starts with a drinking game where you take a shot if you lose. I was the first one out!
We enjoyed a wide variety of appetizers, including noodle bowls, crispy chicken, and more. For the main course, you choose a selection of meats that are prepared on the grill by the server.
Know that you will be sitting with strangers for this meal at tables of 6.
While it’s not exactly a buffet, The Gallery is a place with multiple options with a lot of variety. The food hall has various dishes to choose from, including burgers, pasta, salads, sushi, desserts, and more.
There are both grab-and-go options that you can get yourself or items you order from a menu that your service will grab from you.
Things we would get on our own for breakfast included the bento boxes of fruit and yogurt and anything from the pastry and fruit section. I got in the habit of ordering my main dish from the menu and then grabbing chia pudding, extra fruit, and a pastry.
I also enjoyed coming here in the morning to grab a pastry and coffee.
For dinner, there is also a dessert bar we loved with really great pastries.
Lick me till Ice Cream
Enjoy unique flavors of homemade ice cream with unique flavored cones.
The Social Club
Here you can order hotdogs, wings, popcorn, and candy or for an extra cost, grab an adult milkshake.
Drinks on Virgin Voyages
Even though Virgin Voyages isn’t completely all-inclusive, guests still will have access to all essential drinks. The cruise line makes sure that all guests are hydrated and taken care of while soaking up the Caribbean sunshine.
There are no drink packages on Virgin Voyages. Instead, most non-alcoholic drinks are included and other drinks are reasonably priced.
The essential beverages include all-you-can-drink sodas, teas, coffees, and water. This is great for those who aren’t big alcohol drinkers as they don’t need to worry about purchasing a drinks package like on other cruise lines.
Virgin Voyages Alcohol Pricing
Virgin Voyages does not have an alcohol package as many cruise lines do. Instead, you have two choices; you can either pay for beers and cocktails as you go or purchase a $300 prepaid bar tab. If you choose to do the prepaid bar tab, then Virgin Voyages will give you a $50 bonus for premium drinks. You can also use your bar tab to buy other guests drinks if you choose to do so.
Virgin Voyages prides itself in not hiking up the prices of its alcoholic drinks as many cruise companies do. You will find beer for around $5-$6, basic cocktails for $9, and 42% of their wines by the glass are under $10. The other great part is that all of your tips are included in your fare, so don’t worry about having to carry around extra cash.
Just so you aren’t caught by surprise, not all coffees are included in your fare. Some specialty coffees are at an extra cost. The specialty coffees are still great, but it’s good to be aware that you will have to pay out of pocket for them if desired.
Nonetheless, there are numerous bars on Virgin Voyages ships, so no matter the time of the day, you will find somewhere to grab a drink. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular bars and lounges on the Lady Ships.
On The Rocks
Located in the center of the ship, On The Rocks serves every drink under the sun. Guests can enjoy trivia, late-night bands, and other late-night entertainment daily.
Dock House & The Dock
At the rear of the ship, you will find the Dock House and the Dock. Similar to a beach club, you can enjoy loungers, Thai beds, and seating areas with umbrellas. The Dock House has both indoor and outdoor seating, depending on what you are feeling.
When sitting outside, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the bar service. If you want to go inside, then you will find a full-service bar that serves cocktails, small bites, and evening music.
This is one of our favorite venues. After a busy day in port, we would come here, order a drink, and lounge for a while. They also serve some great tapas for an afternoon snack, perfect for when you first get on the ship on embarcation day.
Sip Champagne Bar
This elegant bar is a perfect place to grab a cocktail before going to dinner. Since it is a quiet and relaxing area, guests can also come here to wind down or catch up on work if necessary.
If you booked a suite, you can enjoy the luxury of Richard’s Rooftop. The outdoor space has a mixture of rooftop parties and pre-dinner cocktail areas.
The Manor is a nightclub with a London vibe. Guests can listen to DJs, drink cocktails, and dance the night away.
In addition to these main bars and lounges, there are several others throughout the Lady Ships. These include the Aquatic Club pool bar, Social Club, and Loose Canon Pub.
Virgin Voyages Ships
Currently, Virgin Voyages has four ships: the Scarlet Lady, Valiant Lady, Resilient Lady, and the newest Brilliant Lady. You will find that all four ships are very similar, with sleek exterior designs and luxurious interiors. Each ship accommodates around 2,700 passengers with spacious cabins and high-end suites.
The ships are designed to celebrate the ocean, provide a yachting experience to the masses, and bring back the glam experience of sailing combined with the luxe experience of a boutique hotel.
Virgin Voyages Cabins
Virgin Voyager cabins have a modern design with fresh and trendy decor. The cabins are spacious, with a lot of them having private balconies. However, one complaint about the cabins is that the bathrooms are smaller than other cruise lines.
Nonetheless, one thing that sets Virgin Voyager cabins apart is the technology. When opening the cabin door, the curtains will open, and the lighting will turn on. Guests can use an in-room tablet to control the shades, television, movies, and room lighting, and request room service.
One cool feature of the rooms is the convertible sofa beds. In each room, the queen size bed converts into a sofa giving guests plenty of space to relax or watch a movie. It’s unclear if you can do the bed conversion yourself or not.
It’s likely you can, but you will be doing your own bedding changes each day. Instead, you can request an attendant to do it and will convert the sofa back to the bed in the evening.
If your cabin or suite does have a balcony, you will be greeted with a hammock. Relaxing in a hammock while cruising the sea is a great way to end your day. The balconies also have a table and chairs if you and your loved one want to have a cocktail in private.
Since there is a converting sofa bed in the rooms, you can’t put your bags under the bed. However, the closets are big enough to fit your bags for a 14-day voyage.
Lastly, there isn’t a minibar in the standard cabins, but you are given water bottles daily. For those in suites, you will get some complimentary beverages each day.
Virgin Voyages Suites
The Rockstar and Mega Rockstar suites are the most luxurious and expensive suites on the Lady Ships. For those wanting to go all out, the Mega Rockstar Suite is the way to go. These suites range from 570 square feet to 2000 square feet. They include whirlpools, outdoor jacuzzis, and private terraces.
Guests in the Mega Rockstar suites will get a record table, a bottomless mini bar, a high-limit bar tab, premium WiFi, and priority check-in. In addition, hotel and airport transfers are included in your fare.
The Rockstar suites aren’t as fancy as the Mega Rockstar suites, but they are still pretty amazing. These suites range from 400 to 850 square feet, depending on the room. You still get priority boarding, access to Richard’s Rooftop, and a private concierge. However, the minibar isn’t unlimited and is good for single use.
Expect to pay $850 to $1,200 a night for the Rockstar suite and $1,400-$2,000 for the Mega Rockstar suites. If you are going to live like a rockstar, then you should expect to pay for the experience.
Virgin Voyager Routes
Even though Virgin Voyager only has a four-ship fleet, there is a wide range of routes to choose from. Most of the cruise itineraries depart from Miami and explore destinations in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. On a seasonal basis, there are Mediterranean itineraries with one of their Lady Ships. However, guests can now make bookings for cruises in Australia and New Zealand that will depart in late 2023.
Your itinerary will affect the vibe on your cruise. Itineraries with Ibiza or the Bimini Beach Club, the cruise is are going to have more of a party vibe.
Also, the shorter the cruise, the more it will feel like a party vibe.
As mentioned, every cruise in the Caribbean departs from Miami for now. In the next couple of years, it is rumored they will offer cruise departures from Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands.
As for the itineraries, they range from four to eight nights and include ports like Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Costa Maya, Mexico, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos, and more.
Currently, travelers can book 7-night stays departing from Barcelona, Spain, and Athens, Greece. However, some ports will have longer stays and overnight itineraries depending on your needs.
The Mediterranean routes make stops in other European countries such as France, Italy, Corsica, Ibiza, Turkey, Greece, and more. Similar to the Caribbean routes, if you are looking for exciting late-night experiences, this is the cruise for you.
Australia & New Zealand Routes
Travelers down under can choose from 12 different itineraries ranging from 5 to 14 nights. Most of the cruises will leave out of Melbourne, Australia, or Auckland, New Zealand, with some being round trip while others are one-way. The ships will make stops at multiple ports in both countries, giving you the opportunity to explore the best places.
There will also be a few itineraries that include stops in Singapore and Bali which are worth considering. We expect this is only the beginning of many new voyages to come in the South Pacific.
Virgin Voyages Cancellation Policy
No matter if it’s a flight, an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, or a cruise, you should know the terms of the cancellation policy. If you are booking 120 days or more prior to your departure date, you have a 7-day grace period to receive a full refund, including your deposit amount.
However, if it’s past the grace period but you are still outside of the 120-day mark, you will not get the deposit refunded. For cancellations between 119 days and 45 days, you have some options.
The first option is to get a “Future Voyage Credit” that can be applied to another cruise trip up to 1 year after the original departure date. The second option is to give the trip to someone and change the names on the reservation. Lastly, you can make a travel insurance claim if you purchased coverage.
At the 44-mark from departure, all payments are final, and you won’t receive any refund. However, depending on the reason for the cancellation, you can file a travel insurance claim. In these circumstances, claims will need to be made directly to the travel insurance company and not to Virgin Voyages.
Virgin Voyages Casino Review
If you want to test your luck, you can go to a casino on any Virgin Voyages ship. While the casinos are a tad smaller than other ships in the industry, there are still plenty of slot machines and table games to choose from. Some of the games include blackjack, craps, poker, slots, keno, baccarat, and more.
The casinos are open at all hours, so don’t worry about missing out on the action. Travelers can also join tournaments and special events for chances to win cash prizes. If you need a break from playing, then you can hang out at the bar while your friends and family keep playing.
Keep in mind that smoking is prohibited in the gaming area. There are designated smoking areas, and Virgin Voyages has the right to refuse service to anyone found in violation. Also if you seem too intoxicated, they can deny you entry into the casino.
If you are interested in poker, there are digital poker tables and there are poker tournament cruises as well.
Virgin Voyages Excursion Reviews
There is a lot of fun to be had while aboard a Virgin Voyages ship, but the fun doesn’t stop there. When stopping at the assigned ports, you can choose from a wide range of excursions. And by a wide range, we mean activities suitable for any type of traveler.
For active outdoorsmen, you can hike Mount Liamuiga Volcano in Basseterre, Saint Kitts. For a relaxing adventure, take a boat ride through the famous Bacalar Lagoon in Costa Maya, Mexico. For a romantic getaway, go to a winery in Santorini, Greece.
To put it in perspective, Virgin Voyages sails in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Australia, and New Zealand. Within each region, there are several ports of call for your enjoyment. From there, you can choose from dozens of excursions that are categorized as relaxing, energetic, or cultured. No matter what you like, there is something for everyone.
One unique feature of Virgin Voyages is the list of Richard’s Favs which are hand-selected by Richard Branson.
Virgin Voyages Activity Reviews
Even though Virgin Voyages has the appearance of a party ship, it has a lot of activities that don’t include DJs and pool parties. Of course, if you are into nightclubs and pool parties, you won’t have to look far, as there is plenty of that on board.
But aside from the vibrant nightlife, Virgin Voyages offers other activities such as trivia, food classes, bingo, workout classes, and other games. Then, of course, there is the casino, as we discussed earlier, but that costs money to play, whereas the others don’t.
Let’s not forget the shows and nighttime entertainment. Each Lady Ship has its own curated schedule of nighttime shows, including drag shows, game shows, live music, and comedy shows.
For example, the “It’s a Ship Show” is a dinner and a show that includes comedy, music, and performances. The food is included in the show, so you can snack while enjoying the show. Another show is Duel Reality which is a theater dance performance. However, once you go to this show and sit down, you can not leave for any reason until the show is over.
You will find that the shows on Virgin Voyages can be a little weird, but that’s the way they like it. They are proud to be eccentric and different from other cruise lines, and that is one of the main appeals of going aboard a Virgin Voyages ship. So, keep an open mind and enjoy the ride!
Virgin Voyages Amenities
When you aren’t watching a show, dining at a restaurant, or sleeping (if you sleep), there are plenty of amenities to keep you occupied. Virgin Voyages offers a variety of pools, jacuzzis, spa treatments, and gym facilities.
The workout facilities on Virgin Voyages are impressive. All of the cardio equipment is compatible with Apple Watch and the “my wellness” app. The weight lifting is separate from the cardio space and is equally impressive. You will find that some cruise lines and even resorts have limited workout areas, but not Virgin Voyages.
Ships also have professional fitness instructors that offer workout classes. For example, you can join spin, bungee, HIIT, or yoga classes. If you have never done one of these before, this is a good opportunity as it’s included in your fare.
The Redemption Spa is available to guests, but not all services are included in your fare. For example, you have to pay extra to get a massage which can be disappointing to some. However, there are typically saunas, steam rooms, mud rooms, whirlpool tubs, and heated laying areas.
Keep in mind that you can only block off 3 hours at a time when booking a reservation. The other downfall is that you have to be there for the full three hours. If you don’t, you can’t reenter and have to book a new reservation for another day.
The Pool Decks
The pool decks, also known as the “Aquatic Club,” are for those looking to relax and get a tan. There are only two pools; one is large and surrounded by lounge chairs, while the other is small and at the rear of the ship.
You will find that the larger pool has more of a club vibe where music plays all day. If you want a more relaxing or intimate vibe, then the smaller pool may be more your style.
Virgin Voyages Splash of Romance Package
Only available on the Scarlet Lady ship, guests can register for the Splash of Romance package. This package has an introductory rate of $200 and offers a luxurious experience with added perks.
Honeymooners or romantic couples will enjoy priority boarding, daily cold-pressed juices, exclusive sail-away hour, and sultry bites. In addition, you will get a two 3-hour thermal spa pass.
If you are wanting some bubbly to celebrate, then take advance of the “Shake for Champagne Service” via the Virgin Voyages app. When using this service, shake your phone, and you will have a bottle of champagne on ice delivered to you no matter where you are within minutes.
The Splash of Romance package is available in any region that the Scarlet Lady vessel sails to. To book, fill out the form, and within 72 hours, you will have a booking confirmation. From there, you will have 24 hours to pay a deposit and confirm your reservation.
Is Virgin Voyages All-Inclusive?
Virgin Voyages is all-inclusive to a point. All of your onboard food, activities, refreshments, and entertainment are included with your fare. However, on-shore activities, alcoholic beverages, and select spa services are not.
Are Virgin Cruises Adults Only?
Yes, Virgin Voyages cruises are for adults only, and you must be 18 years or older to board the ship. It’s a perfect cruise for solo travelers, couples, families, and friends. However, if you want to take your kids on a trip, you might want to look into Royal Caribbean or Disney cruises.
Virgin Voyages: Wrapping Up
There you have it, the complete guide to Virgin Voyages! It’s fair to say that these cruises are different than other ones, offering luxurious but unique experiences. There is a reason why Virgin Voyages has won several rewards recently, so why not give it a go?