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We go on board the first Virgin Voyages cruise ship, Scarlet Lady (HfP in The Bahamas series) – Part 2

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This is Part 2 of our tour of Scarlet Lady, the first Virgin Voyages cruise ship.

As part of our promotional trip to The Bahamas with Virgin Atlantic and The Bahamas Tourist Board, I was invited to spend an afternoon aboard the first Virgin Voyages cruise ship, Scarlet Lady, which was spending a day moored in Nassau.

Part 1 of our Scarlet Lady review is here. Let’s continue with our look and the food and drink options on the ship.

There is no shortage of options for those with a sweet tooth.

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

…. whether that be ice cream, fancy cakes:

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

…. or ice lollies. There is a juice bar.

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

…. a barista coffee stand and plenty of proper bars. A beer is reasonably priced at $6, cocktails start at $9.

Entertainment options

Cruise ships are synonymous with entertainment and Virgin Voyages is no different. However they do seem to be shying away from the sort of cabaret style performances that are traditionally found on out there. Perhaps other cruise liners are doing the same but I really like the effort Virgin seemed to be making to keep your journey exciting and surprising.

There are a whole host of talented performers onboard from various production companies. If you sit down for too long, you may be treated to your own private gig.

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

You may randomly come across something as innocuous as a couple sat at a table which suddenly turns into a piece of Edinburgh Fringe-esque performance art. I loved this:

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

There are more traditional venues and performances but all come with a modern twist.

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

There is The Manor with its spectacular light installation entrance. It is both a seductive nightclub and classic entertainment space. There is also a karaoke room and onboard vinyl shop with personal listening stations.

If this is all a bit much and you just want to relax, you can chill by the pool or jump in a hot tub:

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

For a special pampering (and additional fee) you can visit the spa which I thought was out of this world.

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

It even has sea views:

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

There are other pampering and grooming spaces including an upscale barber shop, hairstyling beauty bar and nail salon. The most surprising thing I saw onboard is called Squid Ink.

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

Yes, that is a tattoo studio! You will not be surprised to hear that it is the worlds first ever tattoo studio on a cruise ship. Whilst at sea, I do hope they have the worlds most steady handed tattoo artist on the payroll ….

You can probably leave the voyage fitter than when you arrived judging by the amount of exercise equipment onboard. There are plenty of classes to attend and you can enjoy a session of outdoor boxercise if you so wish.

There are random games around the ship.

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

I did like this board game stand. You pop along, borrow whatever takes your fancy and bring it back later.

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

It wouldn’t be a proper cruise ship without the obligatory casino:

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

Inside the cabins

Where will you be sleeping? Here is a quick look at a standard ocean view cabin in night time configuration:

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

It was bigger than I expected and looked comfortable. There was a 43” flat-screen TV opposite the bed although I have no idea when you would find the time with so much going on around the ship. There were some nice touches such as the tablet which displayed entertainment schedules but which could also change your cabin lighting depending on your mood.

The bathroom seemed perfectly acceptable:

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

Here is the shower:

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

You have a storage wardrobe with a safe, a mini bar and table. The balcony contains a hammock which is a nice touch.

The cleverest aspect of this ship was saved until last. The cabins on Scarlet Lady can be transformed from the night-time bed configuration to a daytime set up. Here is a cabin in the daytime config:

Review Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship

This was completely unexpected. The daytime set up, unrecognisable from its night time counterpart, was more like a living room. It is perfect for popping back to with friends for a drink or a bit of downtime. It is a fantastic, out of the box thinking concept. I imagine it keeps the interior team busy in the morning and evening though.

There are also a variety of VIP suites aka ‘RockStar Quarters’ which we did not have time to see. This is a shame as the largest suite is replete with its own music room containing guitars, an amplifier and vinyl turntable. Oh my. Amazing. I really need to stay in that suite.

Conclusion

There is plenty more that I haven’t covered here and plenty that I didn’t have time to see for myself. I only spent an afternoon onboard so it really was just a taster. The ship didn’t even move! Many guests were ashore so I didn’t get to experience the atmosphere of a busy restaurant or bar.

That said, the short time I had left a big impression and there is no doubt you would have a fantastic time aboard during a cruise.

The infectious enthusiasm and friendliness of all the crew I encountered validates this feeling. They were excellent throughout in a way Virgin seems to have got spot on. You will be made to feel very welcome and special.

I consider myself a reasonably well seasoned traveller but had never contemplated or indeed had any interest in a cruise before. The Scarlet Lady may just have changed my mind.

Pricing

Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady currently operates four and five night cruises out of Miami to Mexico and the Caribbean. Prices start at around £1,300 for two people in an Insider cabin.

You can also pay with Virgin Points. It is a direct revenue based redemption – for every 3,000 points spent you will receive £16.50 off the cost of your cruise, so 0.55p per point.

You do also have to fly out to Miami which is not included in the cost. Alternatively, for something closer to home, from next year the second ship in the Virgin Voyages fleet, Valiant Lady, will be cruising around the cities and islands of the Mediterranean.

Thanks to the Virgin Voyages team for my tour.


How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (January 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, one has a bonus of 15,000 points):

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Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points:

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The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (56)

  • Froggitt says:

    Did the casino have a poker table and dealer? I did an MSC cruise this summer, and when I asked, they looked at me as if I had two heads. NCL will often have two poker tables in the casino.

    • Toddy says:

      yes, along with roulette, blackjack and craps. Perhaps some other games which I am unfamiliar with!

  • Freddy says:

    Never considered a cruise but looks like fun for a few days. I thought cruises were for oldies or is that image outdated?

    • Toddy says:

      I think Virgin are targeting people who traditionally would not view themselves as cruisers… *cough*

      On my cruise, the age range was significant …
      From 18 up to those in their 70s. I would say the median age would have been late 30s / early 40s.

    • Spurs drive me mad says:

      That image is very outdated, there’s cruises for all tastes and budgets. You might be pleasantly surprised if you have a look about. Lots of YouTube videos have a look at tips for travellers he’s got a wealth of knowledge..

    • TimM says:

      Ocean Village was marketed as the cruise line for those who don’t like cruising – clearly something wrong in the messaging there. They aimed for a younger, less-stuffy experience, etc.. EasyCruise tried a similar experiment sailing by day and porting by night around the Med. Both are now discontinued failures.

      Cruises generally appeal to older people because they have the money, time and no children to pay for/share small accommodation with. Costa and MSC appeal to younger crowds as the Mediterranean way is to go on holiday as an extended family. The five languages of all announcements can tire though.

      The cruise market is still dominated by older US guests and they get lower-than-Travelodge rates out of Miami but then get ‘nickel-and-dimed’ while they are captive. Cunard, the U.S. idea of a British-themed cruise line, likes to get a £100pppd for an inside cabin. P&O, over-50’s Saga, and the new entrant Ambassador which offer genuinely British traditional cruises (formal dining afternoon tea, Pounds Sterling etc.), start at two thirds of that, for comparison.

      Virgin Voyages has a new proposition and it will be interesting to see where it ends up in a few years from now.

  • QwertyKnowsBest says:

    What is up with the moaners. Too much time cooped up with family? If this article or cruise line is not for you, fine, move on!

    • Geoff 1977 says:

      Exactly. It’s Christmas! Get a grip and enjoy yourselves! Restaurants and pubs are open. Go to one instead of moaning on the internet!

  • Paul says:

    Thanks for the review but like all things virgin (except their `broadband`) I’ll pass. The informality and faux “ahoy matey-ness” is just not for me. I would be particularly aggrieved to be referred to as a “sailor” for example, while a paying guest, but I appreciate it might fit the bill for others.

    It does mean that products such as Cunard’s Queen’s Grill experience, Silver Seas or Regent 7 Seas, remain exclusive. I like the formality of cruising much as I used to like seeing roast beef being carved at my seat when travelling First class on BA.

    • IanT says:

      Oh dear Paul!

      Modern inclusivity must be such a problem for you! 😜

      We’ve done Silversea (it’s not Silver Seas) and we’ve done Royal and NCL and lots of others. All have their good and bad points, and there’s something for everyone.

    • Russ says:

      ‘The informality and faux “ahoy matey-ness” is just not for me. I would be particularly aggrieved to be referred to as a “sailor” for example, while a paying guest, but I appreciate it might fit the bill for others.’

      Agree. Arguably the reason people pay large amounts of cash for an elite ticket is so they don’t have to put up with this.

      I’m currently in an awkward position were the manager of our local Marriott country club has taken it upon themselves to address me by my first name in front of other guests. It feels uncomfortable.

      • TimM says:

        Agreed, it is one of the reasons I can’t stand Jet2. On paper, they are not too dissimilar to easyJet but Jet2’s pre-recorded, over-familiar ‘matey’ announcements in an exaggerated, fake Northern accent (somewhere between Yorkshire & Lancashire) totally grate, and there are lots of them. E.g. ‘please fasten your seatbelts’ is replaced by ‘buckle-up’, ‘inflight meal service’ is ‘lovely grub’, etc.. This may be one of the reasons Jet2 consistently get voted best airline awards in multiple categories but, despite (or because of) being an ardent Northerner myself, Jet2 are not for me.

        • BlueThroughCrimp says:

          Yep. ScotRail and it’s coothie signage also grates.
          No, it’s not a Tartan Paint cupboard, or Bagpipe Practice room, it’s a former bog that they’ve not converted to a better use.
          Cringeworthy.

  • BlueThroughCrimp says:

    I have little interest in cruises, but the YouTube algorithm through a cruise review channel at me, that I found quite interesting. (Emma Cruises, fwiw)

    I’ve seen her in-depth video review of this ship, (she’s in the target age, I’m not) and IMHO, it’s a bit of an odd ship from watching the review, and find the Virgin screaming “we’re different” all the time gets more than nauseating, but that’s typical of that brand. (The talking toilets when they had trains were creepy, not cool).

    I doubt I’d have a go on a huge liner, a river cruise would be more my thing.

  • Jill ( Kinkell) says:

    Following glowing reports of cruising by friends , we took the plunge a few years ago, with great trepidation as the sight of these enormous ships was rather off putting. We thoroughly enjoyed it, combining a cruise with a stay or longer pre tour. Of course, the route voyage was very important and gave us a taster of a few places to go back to.. Equally, we have been on a European river cruise of the Danube, which was also very enjoyable. I would certainly cruise again…..whenever Japan let’s us in!

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