8 Ways Virgin Voyages Stands OutShips
Scarlet Lady - A Lady Like None Other
The Scarlet Lady is set to start sailing in April of 2020 and it is not only going to be a new cruise ship on a new cruise line, but it will be an entirely new style of cruising that redefines the long-time image of cruising.
The name Richard Branson is no stranger in the entertainment or travel industry. The entire line of Richard Branson’s companies from Virgin Records through Virgin Galactic has always reinvented the industry standard in new and forward-thinking ways.
Here are eight ways that Virgin Voyages will be changing the way a cruise line does things compared to the larger mass market “traditional” cruise lines.
Geared Towards Younger Adults Only, No Kids.
Although they are not the only cruise line to not permit children on the ships, they are doing it for an entirely different reason. Viking Ocean Cruises and Viking River Cruises do not allow anyone under the age of 18 on board as well, but for very different reasons. Viking is meant for an older demographic and the reason they wanted a “child free” ship is for the peace and quiet, which is also why they do not have a casino or loud music.
Virgin Voyages, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. The passengers there will be mostly millennials that love the rock music scene and having a big party. The “adults-only” policy on Virgin Voyages keeps the atmosphere upbeat and party-like.
Changing The Terms
Not only did Virgin Voyages changes the terms of how a cruise is enjoyed, they also changed the actual terms used for those involved. Passengers are referred to now as “Sailors” and travel agents are now “First Mates.”
For those Sailors that really want to live the big life, if you book a Mega Rock Star Suite you will get your own personal “rider” with your cabin. Major entertainer request contract riders when they perform. They can demand certain things be done, or not done, as a condition of the contract. Well, Virgin Voyages gives their top level suite Sailors the opportunity to have their own “riders” as well. you can request anything you want. For example, your rider may request a bowl of green M & M’s at all times or Fruit Loops for breakfast delivered at 8am every morning. They do advertise that you can ask for literally anything you want, but I am sure it will be granted only if it is within reason. I know my imagination can get carried away with a list of items they would not be willing to fulfill.
Virgin Voyage’s Va-Va-Value Prop
The traditional cruise lines might offer lower fares at first glance, but many of the things included with Virgin Voyages are additional.
The first noticeable difference in how Virgin Voyages advertises their prices is that they include the taxes and fees in the basic fare. Most cruise lines offer prices that show only the cruise fare, then have the little disclaimer the taxes and fees are additional. These taxes and fees could add up to hundreds of dollars in additional costs. I have had people tell me they saw a great deal on a cruise, but once they added everything on to the price, it was not a great deal after all.
One of the best features offered by Virgin Voyages is the fact that all of the 20+ eateries are included. There is no additional cover charge to dine in the specialty restaurants, which can be about $60 per person or more per meal on other ships.
Besides food, drink is another cost faced by most cruisers on most ships. Virgin Voyages includes “Basic Bevvies” in their fares. Those beverages included are filtered still and sparkling water, non-pressed juices, sodas, teas or even drip coffee. Alcohol, however, still needs to be purchased and at this point, I have not heard anything about unlimited drink packages.
Another huge savings, especially for millennials, is free basic Wi-Fi. This can cost you $15-$20 per day for access to the internet. Although basic Wi-Fi is included, if you wanted to be able to stream, they do have a premium service for an additional cost.
For the fitness minded, they also offer free group fitness classes. Other cruise lines can charge $10 - $25 per class, but Virgin Voyages included them all with the basic cruise fare.
Finally, the last inclusion is all the gratuities. No need to worry about tipping the wait staff, cabin stewards or anyone else on the ship. Most cruise lines charge about $15 per day per person for gratuities, which can be pre-paid or added to your daily cabin charges while on board, which is much better than when I started cruising and you had to run around the ship getting change on the last night of the cruise to put in a stack of various envelopes.
Note: Although tips are included, you still should consider giving an additional cash tip to any server that went above and beyond or a friendly bartender to make sure you get that “special treatment.”
Virgin Voyages Said, “Nay to the Buffet”
Even on the most exclusive cruise lines, the buffet is a standard feature for dinning. Some ships may have massive, multi-room buffets with endless varieties, and quantities of food, while others are more intimate and offer high end delicacies, almost every ship has a buffet. That is until Virgin Voyages re-imagined cruising. That is not to say the only dining option is a sit-down meal in an actual dining venue. Virgin Voyages decided to go with The Galley, a “food truck” inspired experience. You will be able to grab quick bites and enjoy them on the go. They will have a large assortment to choose from and all of the will be amazing.
Enjoy More Time in Port
I personally enjoy the night life on cruise ships and if I am having a hot night in the casino, it might be a little later than some other night. If you are like me, you don’t want to go to bed at 3am and find out the next morning at 10 or 11 and the ship leaves port in only a couple hours. This happened to me when we were in Cabo from 7am to only 1pm. The port stops on Virgin Voyages are longer and give you more time to enjoy where you are going, without sacrificing all the time you are enjoying getting there.
Virgin Is All About Entertainment
Unlike most cruise lines, Virgin Voyages takes the entertainment, and the way they entertain you, to a whole new level.
Blink-or-you'll-miss-it pop-up performances and shows that blur the line between audience and performer. This motley-crew of buzzworthy musicians, globetrotting DJs and audacious drag performers will make you feel so immersed in their world, you'll be glad your friends didn't let you get up and join them (but you can if you want).
The Manor is a two story, three bar space, named after Richard Branson's first recording studio. It is inspired by a classic theatrical zeitgeist - layered with a moody & sexy ‘70s, punk vibe. Ground-breaking shows will kick the night off before it transitions into a mind-blowing, goodbye-early-morning-workout nightclub.
The Red Room is a larger-than-life entertainment space. It is the first ever transformational, multi-form theater at sea. Boundary-pushing performances on the traditional Proscenium stage or late-night dance parties on the flat-floor configuration — undiscovered experiences are always unfolding here. It is a unique and flexible, yet still intimate, theater space that delivers a sea of possibilities.
Have your best lead, diva, vocalist look on point for when you plan a night with friends at The Groupie, a modernist spin on a Japanese style karaoke room. With song choices that span decades, genres, and octave abilities, these bookable private sessions require having your go-to tracks chosen, singing voice warm and invited friends ready for a private dance and song battle to remember.
You can get lost in sound at Voyage Vinyl, a record shop at sea. Stocked with music magazines, headphones and record players. Pull up to a listening station with a stack from the selection of both classic and current albums including special and limited editions. It’s the analog experience at sea audiophile dreams are made of.
Feeling like a little food with your entertainment? Then make sure you don’t miss the Drag Queen Brunch while on board. For a small fee, you can opt to enjoy bottomless drag-inspired cocktails like the “Yasss Queen” and the Rizzle Dizzle, a CBD infused cocktail.
Love The Skin You’re In
It is your skin, be proud of it! When you are in the Caribbean, you want to come back with a tan, but not necessarily tan lines. No worries, there are areas on the back deck that you sunbathe topless.
If you want to decorate your skin, visit Squid Ink Tattoo Parlor, the first tattoo shop at sea.
Size Matters…Shorter Can Be Better
Most cruise lines offer shorter cruises, but a majority of their sailings are 7 nights. Virgin Voyages offers mostly 4 and 5 day cruises. Other cruise lines that cater to a demographic that are mostly retired and have more time, offer longer cruises that can last weeks or months. Virgin Voyages is the perfect getaway for the millennials that are taking a vacation and getting right back to the grind. A 4 or 5 day cruise will allow them time to travel to the port, enjoy their cruise and still get back to the job within a one week vacation time. Even though the cruises may be shorter, they will pack in a ship load of experiences.
It Is Not Your Typical Ship, Why Look Like One?
I have seen many different cruise ships, from inexpensive party atmosphere ships to higher end luxury ships. They all had one thing in common, they look like a cruise ship. Some have loud and pattern heavy carpeting, other a more elegant nautical theme, but they all have a similar ship feeling.
Virgin Voyages has completely moved away from the normal look and feel. There is more of a stylish, high-end New York hotel look to the cabins and public areas. The suites use guitars as decorations and the Mega Rock Star Suite has a table with stairs leading up to the tabletop for when the party calls for “table dancing.”
The Scarlet Lady is not like any ship made to date. She is the first of four being planned by Virgin Voyages and without a doubt going to be extremely popular with the millennials.