I Kissed a Girl, and I Liked It

I wanted to hate it. I really did. But I liked it. In fact, I loved it. Janet loved it too. We loved everything about it. I’m talking about our voyage on Scarlet Lady. I promised a rundown on our cruise when we got back, so here it is.

It was fresh, it was fun, and I’m looking forward to doing it again in December. Would I recommend it? Absolutely, though not for everyone. If the idea of a drag queen brunch sounds interesting and entertaining, you’ll enjoy a voyage aboard Scarlet Lady. That said, there are some people that should not in a million years cruise with Virgin Voyages. If you are offended by the occasional gratuitous f-bomb, can’t embrace inclusion in all its forms, or find yourself cringing at truly clever yet tame sexual innuendo like the name of Scarlet Lady’s ice cream parlor “Lick Me ‘Till Ice Cream” (sound it out in your head)…without passing judgement, I can say absolutely you’re better off cruising with someone other than Virgin.  You can stop reading now. For the rest of you, here is how I rate our Virgin Voyage:

Overall experience – Great.
Crew – Super! Polite, professional, competent, engaging, and genuine.
Food – Excellent. Possibly the best I’ve had on 50 cruises with over a dozen cruise lines.
Drinks – Excellent. Prices lower than other cruise lines. Creative mixology.
Entertainment – Adult, though no worse than late night TV (mostly). Different, interesting, and quite good.
Demographics – Age is just a number that doesn’t mean much when it comes to a Virgin Voyage. Virgin began this venture targeting younger Gen Xers and Millennials, along with older Gen Zs. Now that they are sailing, they have found they appeal to that entire demographic and more, including older Gen Xers as well as active and young boomers like me and Janet.
Technology – Buggy.
Embarkation – Chaos…needs attention before they start to scale up to higher capacity sailings.
Debarkation – A breeze. Linger over breakfast, leave when you want. No rush to get off, and no line when we did.
Cabin size – Small with way too little storage. Not a deal breaker, but yeah…small. Pack light.
Dress code – Shorts and bathing suits by day, whatever makes you feel good at night, which helps with the packing light thing. A loose country club casual was the rule for evenings during our cruise, and everyone seemed to get it. Not like our cruise last month with Norwegian. Even with a dress code, cruisers on the NCL Gem dressed so poorly and sloppily for the evening they made what I wear to a crab feast seem like formal wear. And that was in the upscale French Bistro specialty restaurant!
Value – Good to excellent.
Wi-Fi – Complimentary Wi-Fi OK, problematic at scale. Go for the upgrade. At $50 it’s a bargain.
Cruise Director – There isn’t one. We didn’t miss it.
Activities – Without a Cruise Director you are largely on your own. Scarlet Lady offers plenty to do without having to resort to a program of belly flop contests and ice carving demos.
Ships’ Photographers – None. Superfluous on a ship full of tech-savvy iPhone-toting millennials.
The App – Needs attention. Great when it worked, not so great when it didn’t which was far too frequent considering how much Virgin relies on it.
The Band – Pleasant surprise. It worked, and it was convenient. A welcome change.
Sexualization – For an adult only cruise, I didn’t encounter anything that made me uncomfortable. I’ve read reviews from people on the same cruise I took that complained about over sexualization…I didn’t see it. I’ve encountered far more boorish and cringe-worthy “get a room” behavior on mass market and premier cruise lines. If you can handle a drag queen brunch, you can handle a cruise on Scarlet Lady.
Drag Queen Brunch – Speaking of…it didn’t happen. Big disappointment…I was really looking forward to it. Drag queen brunches won’t start until sometime after the first of the year. No explanation. Bummer.
Scarlet Night – A fun, ship-wide party. Easy to avoid if you want to, but why would you? The odd consent disclaimer I mentioned in a past post was meant for the after-party dance, where you have people packed into a nightclub setting having a good time. In that context, it makes sense. Go ahead…pack your splash of scarlet and plan to wear it on Scarlet Night.
Fitness and Wellness Programs – This is the one thing on Scarlet Lady that may not scale well. Our voyage sailed at 40% capacity but even with that the gym was busy, and classes were fully booked before we set sail. There is unused capacity so it isn’t necessarily going to be a problem…just a caution.
Spa – Same contracted, overpriced services and high-pressure sales job as every other cruise line.
Gimmicks – Plenty, but I didn’t mind. It added to the fun.

I’ve said on social media that Virgin Voyages isn’t for everyone, and they aren’t. But they appeal to far more people than they targeted when they first started advertising their cruise product pre-COVID. If you think a Virgin Voyage might interest you, give me a call and let’s talk about it. And then let’s get you booked!

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