Sea Home for Adults

By Adele Sharman

11 May 2023

I am not one to do things by half, so when the opportunity arose for me to go on a cruise with Virgin Voyages, I jumped at it. I had heard rumors a few years back about the vibe on this ship, and I won’t lie, I was expecting to see half-naked men and women, and perhaps even upside-down pineapples (if you have to ask what that means, maybe it’s best not to know!). Because it is an adult-themed cruise, many people on social media made it out to be an adult’s playground.

Before the cruise, I embarked on training, which gave me a better understanding of the ship’s layout, eateries, and entertainment options, as well as everything about Virgin Voyages. Now that I’ve experienced the cruise, I can tell you my thoughts on it.

How would I describe my first time on a Virgin cruise? The words that spring to mind are diverse and inclusive. Virgin has truly outdone itself when it comes to providing a safe, non-judgmental, welcoming, and entertaining adult playground at sea. No matter your age, gender, race, or sexuality, you will feel at home on this ship. The diversity of the passengers was also reflected in the staff, which was refreshing to see.

If I were to sum up my cruise with one song, it would definitely be Gloria Gaynor’s “I Am What I Am.” This song epitomizes the ship’s environment, where everyone on board is encouraged to be their true selves. As someone who considers herself to be a woman of the world, there are very few things that surprise or shock me. However, if you are someone who finds open public displays of affection uncomfortable, then this may not be the environment for you.

That being said, the ship is large, and there are a myriad of entertainment options available to suit most people’s tastes. Overall, I had an amazing experience on my Virgin cruise, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a unique and inclusive vacation.

Way to Miami

My cruise aboard the Scarlet Lady set sail from the Port of Miami on April 19th, 2023. As I was doing the training, I realized that these ships are massive. I also thought that choosing an adults-only cruise for my first adventure may be a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, but for my first cruise, an adults-only one could give me a better feel for the environment at sea.

I believe that each cruise brand has something for everyone, and Virgin is a little bit different, which I like. But how different is it? Well, for starters, there are no Captain’s table nights. The vibe is relaxed, and fun, and there are no kids, no Buffets, and something for everyone. Let’s “sea” what this means.

Before boarding the ship, you have a few options. You can fly into Miami the day/night before from the UK, and you can obtain direct flights with @Virgin Atlantic or other airlines that also fly into Miami. You can also stay overnight or for a few days and experience what Miami has to offer before boarding the cruise.

On the day of your cruise, depending on your room level, you can pick a time to board the ship. All this information is explained to you in the app, where you add your photo, passport details, and credit card for onboard purchases. You can also pre-book some restaurants before you even board, which I recommend you do.

For me, I was already in Florida, so it was just a two-hour drive to Miami. Getting to the port is quite straightforward. If you’re staying in a hotel, you can take an Uber, or if you have a car, you can park at the port, but you cannot pre-book a space. Alternatively, you can park off-site. This is the option I chose. Unfortunately, my experience was a nightmare, but that was because the company I booked with gave me incorrect information about the parking site.

Prior to the cruise, you can add a bar tab, which is what I chose to do. Virgin Voyages also offers promotions on this, so if you add $300, they will add a little extra, so it’s always good to see what offers they have on. You can also book shore things, which are activities when you get into port at the places you are visiting. I will let you know what I booked.

Parking at Port Miami

It can be a bit of a challenge as there isn’t a designated parking lot at the port, and it’s first come, first served. To avoid this, I parked off-site, but it’s important to know where you’re going beforehand. Unfortunately, my parking experience was a bit of a nightmare due to the company we booked with. If you’re staying at a hotel, an Uber or taxi will work just fine, but make sure to allow enough time to get there since Miami is a busy city. It’s worth noting that parking isn’t connected with Virgin Voyages, and you book this independently.

The Actual Check-in

It was stress-free. The baggage handlers were super friendly and explained where to go. You can take your luggage with you, but if you give your cabin number to the baggage handlers, they will drop it off at your cabin door around 30 minutes later. This means that you could pack another bag with your swimsuit, flip-flops, and sunscreen and use the pool or sun loungers as soon as you board.

Luggage Allowance

You don’t have a weight limit when it comes to luggage, but keep in mind the size of your cabin. For a four-night cruise like mine, two medium-sized cases should be sufficient. You’ll also need your passport, which is shown at check-in before you board the ship. The only items that you can’t take on board are drugs, guns, knives, and the usual prohibited items in the US. I believe you’re allowed to bring two bottles of wine on board. The staff are super friendly and will answer all your questions, even helping you with your band.

The Band

The band is everything you need on board. It’s your room key, bar tab, tab for the casino and anything you purchase on the cruise. All you have to do is tap it on their devices, and you can keep track of all your purchases on the app.


That was my first impression of the ship. It was so bright and incredibly clean. I especially loved the neon signs that were scattered around the ship. As soon as we boarded, a DJ was already on his decks playing some great tunes. I knew I would be getting lost on this ship, but it was funny because that’s what most people were doing – just checking out each floor. The queues for drinks were quite long, so my advice would be to find the quieter bars first. Just have a walk around, open the doors, have a look inside or just ask around.

Rockstar Room

My room was a sea terrace with a balcony and a lovely red hammock. As a first mate, I was allocated this room, but I would have normally booked the all singing all dancing Rock Star Suite with a hefty price tag. You can also put in a bid to upgrade your room, just like on Virgin Atlantic from premium to upper class. The Rockstar suites are very spacious and come with lots of extras.

The layout is compact but nice and bright, with modern technology that automatically turns on the lights when you open the door and turns them off when you exit. The blinds also open and close themselves, which is a nice touch.

There’s great space for your fancy outfits, with lots of coat hangers and a few drawers. I wasn’t short of space at all – in fact, I’ve stayed in hotel rooms with less space. The bed can be changed into a sofa during the day, which opens up the room even more, and your cabin attendant will turn it back into a bed for you.

The bathroom is very compact and reminds me of a caravan – but it does have an amazing rain shower and the toiletries provided are perfectly fine. However, it does feel a little cramped when the door is shut. If you want more space, it might be worth upgrading to a larger suite or an XL sea terrace. Go ahead and be a rockstar!

Food, Food, Glorious Food

Forget the typical buffet and main dining room setup – this cruise line has over 20 eateries with some pretty tongue-in-cheek names:

  • “Let’s Taco Bout It” 
  • “Hot Off The Press” 
  • “Well Bread” 
  • “Lick Me Till”  
  • “Gym & Tonic” 
  • “I.V” 
  • “On The Rocks”

While some of the eateries require a reservation, it’s definitely worth booking ahead (at no extra charge) to sample the different cuisines on offer. As a meat and veggie lover, I did miss those options a bit, but there is still a variety of food to suit most taste buds. I particularly enjoyed the Korean barbecue at Gunbae, where the servers prepare meat and seafood on electric grills while leading drinking games. And yes, I won one of the rounds of Soju!

When it comes to entertainment, Virgin Voyages also does things a little differently. Instead of a stuffy Captain’s table, they have a Scarlet Night where guests are encouraged to wear red. And one evening, they even had a PJ party where we could all slip into something more relaxed and party on the 16th deck. Virgin’s “come as you are” and “anything goes” philosophy is on full display on this night, with crew members sporting their own ink, piercings, dyed hair, and amazing makeup. From onesies to silk numbers to full-on fluffy robes, and even a few Hugh Hefner wannabes, anything is fair game.

For more traditional entertainment, there’s Duel Reality – a modern version of Romeo and Juliet that will leave you on the edge of your seat with its acrobatics and faux fighting. And if you’re in the mood for a wild night out, head to the Manor, a sultry duplex space designed by Roman & Williams (the same folks behind New York’s Boom Boom Room) that serves as the ship’s nightclub.

Sport Included

Fitness is a big focus on Virgin Voyages with a wide range of workout areas and equipment available, from sunrise yoga to outdoor boxing and a running track. After your workout, you can relax in the spa, although I didn’t get the chance to try it out myself. If you need a haircut or some pampering, the dry dock is the place to go. And if you want a permanent memento of your trip, you can always get a tattoo – a skull and crossbones to remember your time at sea, perhaps.

One great thing about Virgin Voyages is that all tips are included, and your money is loaded onto your band so you don’t have to carry cash around. However, I did feel like tipping my cabin steward, so that’s up to you.

Pool Size

I was initially surprised that the pool wasn’t as large as I had imagined, but it was definitely a busy area – remember, this is a party cruise! However, there are plenty of other areas to sunbathe and lots of sun loungers and daybeds to use. The ship is a vast space, so I highly recommend taking the time to explore and get to know it. The pool area is also a great spot for people-watching.

Shake to Drink

You can shake your phone to have a server deliver a bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne (at an additional cost) anywhere on board. Whether these perks attract first-time cruisers who are millennials or alienate the fifty-somethings, I found the age demographic to be around 25 to 70, with more people in the middle-age range. It may not be the right fit for everyone, but it is definitely a fun ship.

Ports of Call

Our first stop was Key West, and since I’m quite familiar with the place, I didn’t book a shore excursion. Instead, I suggest taking the trolley ride, which is an excellent way to explore the town. Make sure to stop by the southernmost point to snap a photo. Key West is perfect for walking around and hitting up lively bars, but don’t forget to get back onboard in time.

Our second port of call was Bimini in the Bahamas, where we spent most of our time at the private beach club. You can book shore excursions like snorkelling, a stingray experience, and other water tours. I opted for the history tour, where locals drove us around on a tram and made a few stops along the way. It was quite interesting, and the Dolphin House made of shells and other objects found at sea was a must-see.

You can also rent a golf cart and explore the island yourself if that’s more your thing. But if you want to relax, you can just plop down on a sun lounger or rent a cabana for the day at the beach club, which has a cool “beach club” vibe. Just make sure to get there early if you want a seat by the pool. Towels, food, and drinks are provided, and you can pay using your band.

Overall, my first cruise was fantastic, and I loved being at sea. The waves mesmerized me, and I couldn’t even feel the ship moving.

I think I may want to experience another Virgin Voyages cruise, maybe the Starry Nights in Greece & Croatia or even a trip to Rivera Maya. Let’s “sea” where these sailors travel next.

One Response

  1. A great and comprehensive review of your first experience of a virgin cruise. The pics you include in your review help to bring it to life. I really enjoyed reading about your experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *