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Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady – Cruise Review – (Photos of Ship, Food, Cabins, and More)

I’ve just disembarked Virgin Voyages’ first cruise ship Scarlet Lady and the cruise wasn’t what I expected AT ALL.

I have to admit, I boarded the ship with low expectations. I’d toured the ship in early 2020 and didn’t fall in love with the ship in the way that I hoped I would.

I came away from that initial visit with more questions than answers and I had no idea who to recommend a Virgin Voyages cruise to.

If you’d asked me then if I’d ever cruise with Virgin I’d probably have said no, not unless some big things changed and spoiler alert, they did. 

Why Did I Decide to Book a Virgin Voyages Cruise?

A lot has happened since the start of 2020, and when I saw a 3-night cruise in a balcony for less than £500 ($700) I knew I had to try it.

I had no idea if I would like the cruise but I knew I had to get onboard to see if Virgin had listened to feedback and made any changes and to see if there were things I missed when I was last onboard. I ended up doing things, and seeing things I never thought I’d see on a cruise, and I’ll probably never see on any other cruise line. 

My initial visit was only for one night and my review was very based on the ship rather than the cruise line. I was hoping that there would be things about Virgin Voyages that would make me overlook the fact that the one and only pool was, and still is, so small and that there isn’t a single drawer in any of the cabins. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady whirlpool gym and tonic bar

The Early Signs Were Positive and I Was Optimistic

I was excited to see other people I knew cruising on the ship and even companies like CruiseCritic saying that although they were confused about Scarlet Lady before they had a great time onboard.

I really hoped my experience would be the same. 

Virgin always wanted to be different, they even have a tattoo parlour onboard which was quite popular.

Most cruise lines just have seats on the balconies, Virgin have hammocks, most cruise lines have little drinks in the mini bar, Virgin have erm… adult toys and in most of the world, soap is white, not on Virgin cruises, it’s black! 

I Paid £166 Per Night For The Cruise (More Than I Usually Would)

I paid £499 for 3 nights in a mid-ship sea terrace. I’d usually book an inside cabin but they were all sold out and that price included all gratuities, WiFi and soft drinks so I didn’t think it was too bad.

Every cabin had $100 onboard credit too. 

The cabins were one of the main bits of Scarlet Lady that I didn’t like when I first visited so I was interested to see if anything had changed.

Virgin really went all out when designing the cabins to do something that no other cruise line does and they did succeed with that, I’ve never been in a cabin quite like it. The cabin had a ‘get it on mode’ that turned everything pink and shut the curtains, I’ve never seen that one before! 

Virgin Voyages Name Things Differently

Virgin call their balcony cabins sea terraces, their passengers sailors and the cruise and voyage. The travel agents are called first mates.

It is kinda like learning a new Virgin Voyages language but we got used to it pretty fast. You can work it out. 

The Virgin Voyages App Was Frustrating

Our cruise experience got off to a bit of a frustrating start trying to use the Virgin Voyages app.

It worked well for the embarkation info but when it came to booking dining reservations all kinds of weird things would happen. I would book a table and only half the people would go through, it would book for other people and not for me, then I didn’t have permission to delete them or add myself, I never managed to get it to work.

The customer services people called ‘sailor services’ did book the restaurants for me in the end and I’m glad I preserved because a lot of the restaurants were fully booked by the time we got onboard. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady gunbae korean barbeque

I knew I had to try Razzle Dazzle and we ate a LOT of food on this cruise, I would have been so annoyed if I missed out because it was already fully booked. 

Virgin don’t have the traditional ‘main dining room’, ‘speciality dining’ kinda of set up. All of the restaurants are included which is awesome and it’s all about the kinda small intimate spaces.

Virgin are very tech-focused so hopefully, they’ll iron out the problems with the app, they are a very new cruise line so some little kinks are to be expected but it was very frustrating. It has 1.9*s in the app store so it’s not just me that struggled with the app and I’ve seen newspapers mention how frustrating it was too. 

I Was Nervous Boarding The Ship

I have to be honest I was very nervous when we were boarding the ship. I didn’t know what to expect at all and I was worried I’d just feel awkward and nervous the entire time.

I knew that Virgin didn’t have traditional cruise entertainment and I’m quite introverted so the idea of participatory entertainment terrifies me and the daily schedule had things on it like like erotic evaluations and I just wanted to relax for the weekend, I was a little bit scared. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady

Embarkation Was Okay But it Could Have Been Improved

Embarkation took us just over two hours because we had to have COVID tests done. Everybody on the cruise was fully vaccinated and tested.

The testing was okay, it definitely could have been improved but I think we’re all pretty used to it by this point. We had to wait in our cars for a testing time, then go to a testing centre, then go into the port to board the ship.

I didn’t get onboard until after 5pm which was a bit disappointing because my 3 night cruise really was 2 days and an evening.

Hopefully the whole COVID testing bit won’t be needed forever. 

virgin voyages embarkation process

The Seabands are Seriously Cool

Before boarding we were given our sea bands, these acted like our cruise cards onboard to open our cabin door and buy things, you don’t get a cruise card at all, the band does it all.

Some people’s had their names on but mine just said ‘make a splash’ which I have to admit I did find quite funny given the size of the pool.

The bands made from recycled ocean plastic which is cool. 

The Roundabout and ‘Lick Me Til Ice-Cream’ Icecream Parlour

When we got onboard I instantly recognised the spaces. In the middle you’ll find this atrium area that Virgin call the roundabout and off the sides you’ll find a draught beer house and other bars where you can get a drink. 

To the side of the roundabout you’ll find an ice-cream parlour called lick me til ice cream.

virgin voyages scarlet lady icecream arlor lick me til icecream

I think people either love or hate this kind of naming, people either find it funny or in bad taste but either way the icecream was amazing, they had lots of cones and flavours to choose from and they had non dairy options too.

On other cruise lines I’m pretty sure an ice-cream parlour of this quality would have cost extra, it was much better than the cone of soft scoop you usually get by the pool. 

Virgin Voyages Crew Uniforms Are Very Casual

On most cruise lines the crew have very strict uniform and appearance guidelines that everybody has to stick to. Everybody wears the same thing and even things like makeup or hairstyles have to be approved.

This wasn’t the case at all on Virgin Voyages and it was amazing. Most of the waiters just wore a Virgin voyages t-shirt, jeans and trainers (sneakers).

virgin voyages scarlet lady uniform waiters t-shirt

It was still really easy to see who was the crew and who was a passengers but it was so nice to see the crew with visible tattoos, different hairstyles and makeup. The crew onboard were all so friendly and helpful and they seemed genuinely so happy. 

A friend of mine Lucy works onboard and she says Virgin are the best cruise line that she’s worked for, all of the crew get free WiFi, which they usually don’t and the food for the crew is great too. It’s really nice to hear that the crew are happy, happy crew make a happy ship. Check out her channel here: CruisingAsCrew.

The Virtual Muster Drill Was Easy Peasy

As soon as we got onboard there were announcements saying that we had to do the muster drill and we should go to watch the video in our cabin and then go to our muster station.

I really don’t like being late for things so I was thinking ‘ahh, we have to go’. We very quickly popped into our room, and were greeted with the curtains opening for us and the lights coming on. It was very cool, we didn’t have any of that last time I was onboard! 

I really wanted to try the hammock on the balcony and to see if the bathroom was as small as I remembered but after watching a very strange musical safety video we had to go to check into our muster station. Ours was in a venue called The Manor.

We only had to be at our muster station for about 10 minutes as they showed us how to put on a lifejacket and scanned our sea bands so they knew that we attended the drill. 

The Manor and Our Hilarious 80s Themed Exercise Class

The Manor is a very cool space that is split over two levels and we did an 80s themed exercise class here.

I don’t usually do too much exercise when I cruise, apart from walking up and down the stairs and around the ship but Virgin are all about the exercise classes.

They are included in the cruise fare so I decided to give it a go with a couple of friends.

emma cruises and cruise buoys

The 80s class was so much fun, it was ridiculous, funny and also a really hard workout.

Often when you do things like an 80s exercise class they’ll just be kinda gimmicky with a bit of exercising, this was a proper exercise class led by 3 instructors.

There definitely was some innuendo going on, but that’s Virgin Voyages for you. Scarlet Lady is a completely adult only ship, Virgin do have plans to build a family ship in future, but for now Virgin Voyages are strictly 18+. If you are easily offended, it might not be the cruise line for you.

virgin voyages scarlet lady 80s workout class

The instructors were pretending to do all kinds of things with the shake weights, which just made us laugh so our abs were worked out too. 

Virgin Voyages Are All About Exercise

There were lots of exercise classes happening onboard and the gym area is HUGE. There are things like pull up bars on the top deck, boxing rings and even gym like areas on the sides. 

Theres also a running track which goes around the top of the ship, the running track is out of the way of the people walking below which I think is great. It’s always annoying when people are trying to walk, run and stand in the same place at the same time. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady whirlpool top deck
Whirlpool with running track above

A Free Glass of Something Bubbly!

After the muster drill we headed up to the top deck for a free glass of something bubbly.

The sun was shining which was a miracle and the pool deck was full. Our cruise sailed from Portsmouth on the south coast of England, round and round in circles and then came back to Portsmouth.

The ship was at 65% capacity due to COVID and social distancing. The ship normally holds around 2700ish passengers. 

Scarlet Lady’s Tiny Swimming Pool Caused a Lot of Controversy

This main pool caused a lot of controversy when we first visited. Admittedly the pool does look much better in the sunshine than it did the first time we visited but it is still incredibly small, theres no getting away from that.

I saw a few people describe it as handkerchief size and that’s about right.

This is the only pool on the ship, there’s no inside pool, or aft pool, this is it. Only the middle section is actually a pool, you could get your feet wet on this larger area but this part is the pool. 

There is a whirlpool a little further on and it was quite funny to sit and watch people swim in circles around the whirlpool. I don’t think it was designed for that but people clearly do want to swim and as the main pool is so tiny you can almost reach from one side to the other you really can’t swim in it.

virgin voyages scarlet lady main swimming pool top deck seating

It didn’t make a huge difference to us because it was pretty chilly on our UK cruise anyway, not exactly swimming weather but I do think it’s a strange choice given that the ship focuses a lot on exercise. I guess just not swimming. 

I did pack a bikini but I wasn’t brave enough to go in the pool, I did have every intention to but it was always quite busy and I didn’t want to just stand in the pool with all the people on the seats around the pool staring into the middle. 

Razzle Dazzle – The Best Vegan and Vegetarian Food

Our first dinner onboard was in Razzle Dazzle. Razzle Dazzle is perhaps the most famous venue onboard, it’s all about vegetarian and vegan food but there are lots of meat options too. It’s the only cruise I’ve ever been on where cookies were an actual dessert. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady razzle dazzle

The atmosphere in Razzle Dazzle was great, it was really laid back and friendly, I had multiple Coke Zeros and the waiters were always on hand to help and answer any questions. 

In Razzle Dazzle I had a non meat impossible burger for main and a jar of cookies for dessert. Of course. They also have rainbow churros and a few other things. It was really good, one of the best meals I’ve ever had on a cruise, for sure. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady razzle dazzle impossible burger

To see the menu we scanned QR codes that were on the table.

It is assumed on a Virgin cruise that you’ll use your phone for most things but paper menus are available if you don’t have a phone that you can use. We found that the menus on the phones always worked well and I’d usually looked at the menu before I even got to dinner.

The allergen information was clearly marked on all the menus on the ship and it was always really clear which options were vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. If you are vegetarian or vegan you’ll find that you have a LOT more options on Scarlet Lady than the majority of the other American cruise lines. 

Razzle Dazzle menus:

virgin voyages scarlet lady razzle dazzle menu
virgin voyages scarlet lady razzle dazzle menu

You Need to Download Virgin Voyages Online App

The onboard app is used for more things than just looking at menus. You can see your onboard spend on the app and it is also where you’ll find the daily schedule of sorts.

You don’t get a piece of paper in your cabin each night with the next days events like you usually would on a cruise.

One thing that I thought was missing from the app was clear deck plans. On most other cruise lines the app will have deck plans which I usually look at to work out where I am or where the nearest toilets are.

Scarlet Lady Has The Strangest Toilets, Ever

While we’re on the subject of toilets, Virgin Voyages managed to do something no other cruise line has done, that I know of, they changed the toilet! 

It still has the same function but the seat is bigger.

The public toilets around the ship seemed to come in a couple of designs, a few were what I would describe as the ‘black hole’ toilets where all the walls were black and some were ‘tin foil’ toilets where it felt like being inside a big crisp packet.

We ate in Gunbae and Pink Algave

We also ate in Gunbae and the Mexican Restaurant.

Gunbae is a Korean BBQ restaurant where they cooked the food on the table in front of you. This would definitely be a specialty restaurant on any other cruise ship. We did make a terrible mess with all of the food but the Bibimbap was my favourite thing. It was a bowl of rice, egg and vegetables, yum.

virgin voyages scarlet lady gunbae foid
Gunbae Restaurant Food – Main Course

The Mexican restaurant was good too.

virgin voyages scarlet lady gunbae dessert
Pink Algave Restaurant Food – Chocolate Taco Dessert

If you are somebody who usually pays to go to specialty restaurants on a cruise, and likes to try lots of different things, Virgin are definitely a good cruise line for that.

I don’t normally pay to go to speciality restaurants on cruises because I prefer to eat the food that’s included in the cruise fare.

The Virgin Voyages price tag is a little higher than some of the other mainstream cruise lines, but there is a lot included in the cruise fare like WiFi and soft drinks. If you were somebody who would eat in specialty restaurants, use the WiFi and enjoy the drinks, it definitely can be good value.

Virgin have reduced their prices a lot since they originally launched. Only time will tell if the prices go back up again. 

When I originally visited the ship we didn’t have the chance to taste any of the food, well we had one meal late at night but I had no idea how much was included.

virgin voyages scarlet lady
Scarlet Lady Starter

In my opinion Virgin should be advertising their food as one of their main selling points, that and the crew. 

When I came on before it was all about drag queens and tattoo parlours and all of these things which really didn’t affect my cruise experience at all. In the original Virgin Voyages advertising everybody was an absolutely beautiful 18-25 year old and I think that scared off a lot of people, me too! 

I didn’t get a tattoo on my cruise but plenty of other people did. I believe the little tattoo designs they have start at $150 and they can do other things too. 

tattoo parlor scarlet lady

Virgin Voyages Sea Terrace Review – Some Improvement!

Virgin have taken onboard a lot of the feedback that was given after our first visit.

The idea behind this bed in the cabins is that it converts to be a sofa or a couch during the day and a bed at night. It’s definitely a clever bit of kit but I always thought that I’d probably just keep it as a bed. I don’t need it as a sofa, I’m rarely socialising with people in my room and even if I was I wouldn’t have a big problem with the bed being there. The cabin was a decent size and sometimes I like an afternoon nap.

virgin voyages scarlet lady sea terrace balcony cabin
Virgin Voyages Sea Terrace Balcony Cabin

When we arrived in our cabin the bed was in bed mode.

This was one of the things that Virgin have changed, before when we arrived the bed was in sofa mode and I think a lot of people were confused by it.

Our bed wasn’t ever changed to a sofa during our cruise, we could have requested it at any time on the tablet in the room but we didn’t feel the need to and I suspect most people will be the same. It’s nice to have the option, but I think having it defaulted to being a bed is a much better. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady sea terrace bed

The bed was really comfortable and you’d never know that it was a converting bed. This is what it looks like when it’s been converted.

The lights, curtains and TV are all controlled by an tablet in the room.

virgin voyages scarlet lady cabin tablet

Royal Caribbean Also Tried This Converting Bed Idea, Briefly!

I learnt recently that Virgin Voyages weren’t the only cruise line to ever try this converting bed idea, some of the very early Royal Caribbean ships also had the same idea, a L shaped design.

If you look at early cabin photos of ships like Majesty of the seas you can see where there is another headboard on the wall besides the bed, where it used to swing round into an L shape. Royal Caribbean decided to scrap the idea.

Scarlet Lady’s Cabins Don’t Have Much Storage (Not a Single Drawer!)

One thing that hasn’t changed in the cabins that I didn’t like before, and still don’t is the amount of storage space.

In the corner there is a place for hanging clothes, and 7 shelves, lots of which are taken up with towels, the safe, life jackets and a hair dryer.

virgin voyages scarlet lady closet storage shelves hanging space and life jackets

Realistically if you were two people sharing in the cabin you’d be lucky to have 3 shelves each and some hanging space.

Usually, on a cruise, you’ll have bedside tables, drawers under the desk, and probably some freestanding drawers too. This cabin doesn’t have a single drawer and because of the way the bed converts you’ll probably have your suitcases at the bottom of the wardrobe area.

My suitcase did fit under the bed, just but it was a size small and I know not everybody packs as light as me. 

We were only in the cabin for a weekend and it was totally fine for that but any longer and I think I’d really miss having a drawer for all my chargers and drawers for things like t-shirts or socks. You could always bring packing cubes or maybe one of the hanging drawer things you can get, to make more space. 

I always try and put things away in drawers before I take photos of my cabin or record anything but there wasn’t anywhere to put these things that were on the desk.

virgin voyages scarlet lady cabin desk mirror and closet

There are a LOT of plug sockets in the cabin, including 4 USBs which is amazing. If you ever need to know which plug sockets are in a cabin, check out our searchable table here: Complete Cruise Ship Plug Socket Guide: Search by Ship

In total there were 10 places to change things, which is way more than I needed. It was great. 

Virgin Voyages Have Adult Toys in The Cabins

Under the desk there is a minibar, a seat, a bin (trash can) and a time to play kit available to buy for $30.

The time to play kit is pretty tiny and contains a few ermm… adult toys. 

Virgin Voyages Time to Play Minibar Adult Toys Kit
Virgin Voyages ‘Time to Play’ Kit

All Balconies Have a Hammock – It Was So Comfy

I LOVED the hammock on our balcony.

At first I totally thought that this was some gimmick but after climbing in it to take a photo I realised how comfortable it was. If the weather was good you could easily spend an hour or two swinging in the hammock.

Virgin Voyages all include soft drinks as standard and I drink a lot of soda. Usually the soda you’ll get in a bar is fountain soda but I found that the sip lounge would often give me a can, so I’d pick up a can on my way back to my cabin and sit in my hammock with my drink, it was great. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady hammock on the balcony

Scarlet Lady’s Cabin Bathrooms are Tiny, But Functional

The bathroom was very small but functional. I think I had been spoilt having cruised on the Celebrity Silhouette last which has a bathroom at least double the size, but it worked.

virgin voyages scarlet lady bathroom shower sink and toilet

Again there weren’t any drawers in here. I guess Virgin cruisers travel light! 

I did worry about how the bathroom would work for larger cruisers but my friend Tristan who describes himself as a fluffy cruiser said that the bathroom was fluffy cruiser approved, so that’s good! 

The shower itself was great. No sticky shower curtain and the waterfall shower head was really powerful. I don’t think the shower door really worked because the towels I put in the main room were soaked and lots of other people said the same thing, but maybe that will be fixed as time goes on. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady cabin bathrooms shower toilet and sink

The Seating in The Public Areas is Different

After I shared my initial review I had a lot of comments about the seating in the public areas. There definitely were some seats around with strange designs, some that were very low to the ground, made of strange materials or ones where you had to climb onto them.

There were a lot of more practical seats around too. A lot of the ship had quite an industrial design, particularly outside but I think that’s trendy at the moment and it goes with Scarlet Lady’s battleship grey colours. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady strange seats

I Braved The Net!

I did try out the big net that Virgin Voyages have onboard.

It was really tricky to get onto and off of, you kind of have to crawl to the edge or balance on the ropes which I tried to do. It’s a LONG way down but I was feeling confident with my drink in hand and I didn’t really look down.

There are people below but I didn’t think about that, I was wearing a skirt so I’m glad I didn’t think about that at the time. 

What is There to do During the Day on a Virgin Voyages Cruise?

We spent quite a lot of time in the draught beer house, the dock house and the sip lounge. The entertainment onboard Scarlet Lady was different from that of a normal cruise, we would be sat enjoying a drink in the dock house and all of a sudden some pop up entertainment would arrive.

virgin voyages scarlet lady umbrella

It would be something like this where crew members wave around umbrellas, I thought it was bad luck to put up umbrellas inside but they clearly didn’t think so. It was always interesting and a great talking point.

I was worried I’d feel really awkward onboard but I didn’t at all, the crew were really nice and nobody was made to participate in anything, if you want to just sit down and relax, no problem! 

When it came to the daily schedule there was more happening than I thought there would be. I had seen reports from other people saying that nothing was happening during the day but I don’t think that was the case.

virgin voyages scarlet lady roundabout atrium gameshow

It might be that people didn’t know what was happening because we didn’t have a printed daily schedule and the app could have been clearer.

The schedule wasn’t as busy in the day as you’d find on a lot of other American cruise lines but there was trivia and game shows and things happening if you wanted to go to them.

Sometimes there would be entertainment without a fixed venue and time which I found a bit strange, Virgin have made it so that there are lots of secret things onboard, the names of places and events are sometimes like riddles which is all well and good but it did mean I didn’t find some bars until the last evening of my cruise.

In fact I think there are some I didn’t find at all. 

scarlet lady daily schedule

I Missed Live Background Music

One thing I did miss was that there wasn’t really live music around the ship.

Usually, on a cruise, you’d find a band or singer singing cover songs. I did sometimes hear songs playing that I knew but it would usually just be some sort of music designed to get people pumped up. 

Dual Reality Had me on The Edge of my Seat (It’s Death Defying)

Another thing that’s pretty different from other cruise lines is the main entertainment. We watched a show called Dual Reality which was an incredible death-defying display of acrobatics and dancing.

They would have people swinging around from chains on their necks, jumping on big bouncy boards. Everything!

It was definitely the kind of entertainment that has you sat on the edge of your seat. 

I’m pretty sure that they’ve made a change to the show since the first time I was onboard. The show is designed so that there is a red team and a blue team and they battle it out kind of Romeo and Juliet style.

The seating in the red room for this show is set up with the audience on both sides.

At the end (spoiler alert) they take off their red and blue clothes. When I originally saw this show the dancers striped down to their underwear but this time they all had vests and shorts on.

When I shared my photos from the original show I did have a LOT of comments asking me if the people in the photos were naked, so maybe they decided to leave a few more clothes on. Either way it was really interesting to watch and I love the different design of the show area.

There’s no ‘Theatre’ on Scarlet Lady

Scarlet Lady doesn’t have a traditional theatre like most ships have so she doesn’t have a group of singers/dancer that perform a different show each night. I quite like my routine of having dinner, then going to see a show so I did miss this being on that kind of schedule.

I might be too much of a traditional cruiser though. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady red room theater

Scarlet Lady Has Lots of Promenade Deck Seating

In the evening we would sit out here on the promenade deck, there were lots of comfy seats and I’m glad that Scarlet Lady makes use of the promenade deck.

Lots of modern cruise ships have lost the promenade deck completely and although this one is blocked by lifeboats for a lot of the way, it does go all the way around. 

virgin voyages scarlet lady promenade deck seating

Don’t Miss The 24/7 Included Pizza!

There’s a pizza restaurant here which is open 24/7 and the pizza are good. The pizzas are made freshly to order. You can sit inside, or outside on the promenade deck.

The entertainment does go on into the early hours of the evening so an early morning pizza is a great idea. They either give them to you on a plate or in a takeaway box if you want to eat it outside or in your cabin.

virgin voyages scarlet lady pizza

Is Room Service Free on Virgin Voyages?

There is room service on a Virgin Voyages cruise but there is a $5 charge if you only order free items from the menu. If you’re ordering something that costs money like beer, as long as you spend more than $5 there isn’t a charge.

In true budget style, I didn’t order anything on the room service.

Scarlet Lady Doesn’t Have a Buffet (But Kinda Does)

Virgin Voyages were very firm on the idea that they don’t have a buffet, and technically that’s true. They do have a space that takes that place of the buffet though and when walking around the ship you would always hear everybody asking ‘what time should I meet you in the buffet?’.

virgin voyages scarlet lady galley buffet

The difference between Scarlet Lady’s buffet, or galley as it’s called and a usual cruise ship buffet is that all of the food is made to order.

virgin voyages scarlet lady galley buffet

Usually, in a buffet the food will be there, being kept warm ready for somebody to take it, but in the Virgin Voyages galley, everything is only cooked when it’s ordered.

It’s kind of like a food hall with lots of different sections that specialise in different things. Most of the food was ordered on the app, the avocado tacos from the taco stand are my personal recommendation, that and the breakfast pancakes.

virgin voyages scarlet lady buffet galley food taco

I was really impressed with how fast the food came and how many crew members were around to get you a drink and take your order. There are self-serve soda and water/tea/coffee machines in the buffet and guests were free to use these whenever they liked. 

Scarlet Lady COVID-19 Safety Measures

Because everybody was tested and vaccinated it was almost like COVID-19 didn’t exist. It was really nice. The passengers didn’t have to wear masks but the crew did.

There weren’t any rules about how many people could be in the lifts, or not touching things like the soda machines. It was pretty much business as usual. 

Who Was Onboard?

The other passengers were maybe a little younger than on the average cruiser, the ages onboard really did range though from 18 all the way up to people in their 80s.

I’d say the average people onboard were people in their 40s and 50s. Lots of younger people, and older too. Lots of friendship groups on board, but people were cruising solo, as a couple, everything really. 

emma cruises balcony selfie

Do Virgin Voyages Have Dress Codes?

There are no dress codes on Virgin Voyages cruises. Virgin Voyages do have ‘Scarlet Night’ where the suggested dress code is to wear something red but this is just a suggestion. There are no restrictions on what can be worn on board.

It was all very relaxed and I like that aspect a lot. 

How Much do Drinks Cost on Virgin Voyages Cruises?

A cocktail on a Virgin Voyages cruise costs between $13-$15. A beer costs $7-$8 and a spirit and mixer around $10. Soft drinks are included such as soda, tea and juices at no extra charge.

Approximate Cost
Cocktail$13-$15
Beer or Cider$7-$8
Spirit and Mixer$10

If you are somebody who really likes a drink, a Virgin Voyages cruise could get expensive. Virgin include soft drinks but don’t have any alcoholic drinks packages meaning you have to pay for each drink as you go. It’s easy to keep a track of your spend in the app.

I Spent a LOT of Time Being Lost

If I could give Virgin one bit of advice that would improve the ship instantly and wouldn’t cost much money it would be to add maps around the ship.

Usually, on a ship you’ll find the side on pictures of the map with the red you are here sticker. They didn’t have anything like that on the ship and I really rely on those maps.

Some ships will have 3D map models around so you can see on I need to go up here and along to whatever place you’re going. 

I’m sure this is something that Virgin will add as time goes on but I wasted a lot of time lost because I just had no idea where I was or where things were. If the app had, had deck plans that would be helped with this too.

Maybe that’s the plan though, some restaurants were tucked away and maybe the mystery is all part of the plan. 

The Cabin Decks Are Split into Z and A Sides

There was one part of the ship that I found easier to find my way around than on other ships.

The cabin decks are designed so that one side will be the A side and the other is the Zed/Zee side. It made it so easy to know which way to turn when you came to the top of the stairs.

Usually I would be trying to work out which numbers were in which direction, I really don’t have a good sense of direction but being able to head straight to the bit Zed helped a lot. 

Would I Recommend a Virgin Voyages Cruise?

When I first visited Scarlet Lady I was confused, I didn’t know who to recommend the cruise line to at all and I just didn’t see a match between the experience and the price.

When I was on board this time, I was still confused but in a different way. 

I felt as though the strengths of the cruise line, like the incredible food and amazing staff weren’t advertised enough AT ALL before the cruise.

I had some of the best food I’ve ever had on a cruise onboard Scarlet Lady, but most of the things I’d heard about the cruise line before focused on gimmicks that didn’t affect my experience. 

I don’t think I’ll ever understand the need for the soap to be black, it got under my nails and made everything look dirty BUT the actual cruise product I felt was a good one. 

virgin voyages black soap

In my original review, I said that if Virgin’s prices were similar to other cruise lines I’d view them as a quirky alternative, now that they are I definitely think that’s the case.

The cruise wasn’t all that different from the other cruise lines, I know Virgin probably won’t like me saying that but if you like a Royal Caribbean cruise or a Celebrity cruise or something like that, you’d probably like the Virgin cruise too, particularly if you like specialty restaurants! 

emma cruises cruise buys cruising as crew

I never thought I’d book a cruise on Scarlet Lady but I’m glad I did, we had a brilliant weekend.

Taking a Cruise: Recommendations and Resources

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