Boats · Travel

20 Pro Tips for Your First Virgin Voyages Cruise

Spread the love

Virgin Voyages entered the cruise market in 2020 with one aim, to shake up the cruise industry. Determined to do things differently, even experienced salty dogs had to learn a few new tricks . If you are taking a Virgin cruise, here are our top tips for your first Virgin Voyages cruise.

This post may contain sponsored content or affiliate links that help support the blog. All opinions are our own.

Looking for more cruise tips? Check out our full list of first time cruise tips (the ones that apply to every cruise line…not just Virgin)

1.) What Does That Mean? Virgin Voyages Language

Cruising uses a plethora of nautical terms but also has a few terms of its own. Assuming you already know these, here are the Virgin Voyages translations.

  • A – Port.
  • Z – Starboard.
  • Ship Eats – Room service.
  • First Mates – Travel agents.
  • Sailors – Passengers.
  • Sailor Loot – On board credit.
  • Bar Tab – This is the closest thing Virgin has to a drinks package. More on this later.
  • Shore Things – Shore excursions.
  • The Galley – The main dining/buffet area.
  • Happenings Cast – On a cruise line with no cruise directors, these are the entertainment coordinators.
  • The Band – The smart wearable that acts as your key card, charge card and cruise card.
That’s Starboard to mere mortals

Book your Virgin Voyages cruise here! Ko

2.) What is Included on a Virgin Voyages Cruise?

With Virgin Voyages, if you want, it really can be “The price you see is the price you pay”. You won’t end the cruise with a unexpectedly brutal bill. So what is included on a Virgin Voyages Cruise?

  • Food – Nearly every morsel of food on board is included in the fare. There are a few upcharge items on each menu but the food is so good, you really don’t need them.
  • Essential Beverages – This includes water (both in your cabin and throughout the ship), Coke products/fizzy drinks/sodas and simple tea and coffee hot drinks.
  • Shows – Nearly every single entertainment activity is free. A couple of exceptions are Another Rose as but it includes drinks. If you want to join Bingo with the Diva, you need to buy tickets.
  • Group Fitness Classes – Not only is the gym free, but they have some really cool classes that are also included. More on these later.
  • Gratuities – Tips are included and Virgin Voyages pays well. Some people still like to tip as they come from a country where tipping in a way of life but don’t feel obliged, you have already paid.
  • Taxes – You won’t end up with a random percentage of the fare left to pay after the cruise. You have paid the tax.
  • Port Fees – There are no stings here.
  • WiFi – Free WIFI is available to everyone, Download speeds are good but uploads leave a lot to be desired. You can pay to upgrade it but for most people’s purposes, it is more than adequate.

3.) Virgin Voyages Dining

Virgin Voyages has 20 eateries across the ship and if you can, you should hit all of them at some point. Let’s take a look at them:

The Galley

More of a hipster food hall than a buffet, there are several stations or kiosks here. There are tacos, some excellent ramen, burgers, paninis, diner classics and tasty desserts. You take a seat and someone will come to take your order here. The only exception to this are the grab and go options in boxes that you can pick up. The sushi was particularly good for this.

BONUS PRO TIP: Diner and Dash is open all night for breakfast items. Nothing hits like a 03:30 hash brown!

The Main Restaurants
  • Gunbae – To start your meal, you will get the chance to play a game with your tablemates and try some soju (tasty Korean booze). Then, for dinner you have Korean BBQ plus a few other Korean favourites like fried chicken and bibimbap.
  • Extra Virgin – Virgin’s Italian restaurant offering delicious antipasti, pasta and excellent affogato. You can order small portions of the pasta if you want to try a few.
  • Test Kitchen – Love it or hate it, the menu at Test Kitchen is experimental, molecular gastronomy. We loved it and think it a unique experience.
  • Pink Agave – This is NOT you typical Tex Mex! The food here is all delicious, if not photogenic. Try a little of everything if you can. The corn and steak are firm favourites.
  • The Wake – Virgin Voyages’ traditional steak and seafood restaurant is at the back of the boat, with a cool view of the ship’s wake (hence the name). Try The Wake twice, once for dinner and once for brunch.
  • Razzle Dazzle – The other spot that should visit twice is Razzle Dazzle. This was pitched as vegetarian-forward restaurant but this did put a few people off. Trust me, there are still lots of meaty options, just in a more subtle way.
The Extra Offerings
  • Grounds Club (2) – This is a remote location of the coffee shop. Speciality coffees here do cost but all the food is included. The cheese and jalapeno croissant that I first tried from here was quickly a firm favourite.
  • Lick Me Til Ice Scream – You can grab an ice cream or gelato from here for free. With new flavours daily, this is great pitstop for your late afternoon slump.
  • The Dock/Dock House – This is one of Virgin’s hidden gems. Located at the back of deck 6, it has a small menu of tasty bites including insanely good octopus.
  • Sun Club Cafe – The other hidden gem is high above it. The opening hours for the Sun Club Cafe are a little spotty but if you catch it for lunch you will find some healthy, California-coded optins like poke and carrot hummus.
  • The Social Club – Goodies galore! Sweets, popcorn, hot dogs…all the things that you crave when you are feeling naughty snacks.
  • Ship Eats – There is an impressive selection of options for room service, and everything comes in a cool zipped bag. You can tuck it all away after you are done eating and not be left with yucky trays all over the ship.
  • Pizza Place – A small spot cooking fresh pizzas in a real pizza oven. You can order personal (9 inch or so) pizzas to eat in or to go. This makes an excellent late night snack as it is open until 01:00 or 02:00 depending on your sailing.

BONUS PRO TIP – If you are ordering pizza, grab your buzzer and take a seat in a nearby venue rather than sitting in the hot and noisy Pizza Place. The buzzer will reach quite far and once it goes off, pop back to grab your pizza.

4.) Virgin Voyages Bar Tab

Most cruise lines have some sort of drinks package that you can buy. You pay a set amount and then you get unlimited soft drinks, wine or cocktails. Well, with Virgin Voyages including soft drinks as standard, and their joy in doing things differently, they have what they call Bar Tab instead.

You are able to pay as you go when it comes to drinks, you just pay the bill at the end of the cruise. However, if you think you will want a few drinks a day, purchasing a Bar Tab ahead of time is the way to go. This is on board credit used exclusively for alcoholic drinks, speciality coffees and drink-based activities.

The advantage of buying a Bar Tab, is that Virgin usually has some sort of offer running which means they will add a bit extra on your tab (an extra $100 when you spend $200 when we sailed on our first voyage). The other nice thing is that you can get it for just one person in the cabin so if one of you loves cocktails and the other loves Diet Coke instead, you aren’t stuck paying for two packages.

For a whole load more info on the Bar Tab check out this blog post all about it – Ultimate Guide to the Virgin Voyages Bar Tab

5.) Risqué is OK…But It’s Pretty Tame

Virgin Voyages is an adult only cruise line, and it is dripping with Virgin’s typical double entendre. All of Richard Branon’s Virgin companies appreciate a good bit of naughty word play. Don’t let this put you off, this isn’t a swingers cruise. That being said, if you are particularly conservative, there are a few things to consider.

  • Virgin Voyages is extremely LGBTQIA+ friendly. They have a resident drag queen who presents shows and bingo. Lets face it, much of the offering is as camp as Christmas.
  • Some of the shows have more adult themes but it is all in good fun (not intended to be overtly sexual) you don’t have to get involved in the games if you don’t want.
  • Don’t let early reviews scare you. Virgin Voyages toned down some of its naughty room offerings after the first round of cruises following some feedback. You are no longer going to find condoms or sex toys in your room.

The whole thing is very tongue in cheek and honestly, there is no more illicit activity than on any other ship. Virgin is just revelling in its chance to curate adult-only entertainment.

6.) Virgin Voyages Theme Nights

Virgin Voyages Pajama Party

On your first night, it is time to party like 1999 sleepover. everyone dons sleepwear and dances to some awesome music, whilst munching on warm cookies. For our PJ Party some people wore full on fluffy onesies, in Miami’s September humidity(!) whilst we opted for traditional style “satin” two piece sets, and there was the odd nightie.

Virgin Voyages We Fancy

This one is hit or miss. I have heard tell of the “We Fancy” nights on the last night of the sailing where lots of people wear gold. I have also heard of 70s nights. These are not official dress up parties but just themed nights in The Manor that people like to get involved in. Yu may not know which of these is going to be on your sailing so I would suggest, if you want to bust out at outfit, pack something that is vaguely 70s, in gold!

Virgin Voyages Scarlet Night

This is the one you may have heard about. Virgin Voyages doesn’t have a formal night, instead they turn the whole ship red. You are encouraged to wear a splash of red too so whether it is a dress, a shirt or just some shoes, make sure a bit of ruby is somewhere on you. The whole evening starts at the Roundabout and then everyone splits off to explore the intriguing activities going on throughout the ship. Then, it all culminates with a kick ass party on the pool deck followed by more dancing in The Manor (the ship’s nightclub) for the biggest party-goers.

Check out What to Pack for a Virgin Voyages Cruise, and What to Leave at Home

7.) Get App Happy

The Virgin Voyages app may feel like your worst enemy at times but you need to be its best friend. Nearly everything is booked through the app. Dining reservations go live 45 days before the sailing and you need to get straight on it to secure your ideal times. Once on board, reservations for fitness classes, shows and more will open up so you need to get booking once again.

BONUS PRO TIP: Try to log on to the ship’s WIFI as soon as you reach the cruise port. This could will give you a head start on booking your on board facilities.

Throughout the sailing, you will find the daily schedule on here and you can pop things onto your own diary for it to send you handy reminders. You will also get important messages this way. Virgin does try to avoid loud speaker messages, instead relaying info on the app. (This was not the case when we had a retouring as the Captain wanted to make the announcement personally to explain why).

Finally, the sooner you download the app and register your details for your sailing, the sooner you can book your embarkation slots. This means you can bag an earlier one and enjoy your time on board even quicker.

8.) Make Friends

The Happenings Cast

In lieu of a Cruise Director, the Happenings Cast is the entertainments team. They run classes, organise games, create magical moments and they have the key to all of these secret events you have thought about.


This one isn’t guaranteed either, but worth a shot.

9.) Consider Your Itinerary

If you are here to experience the most of your Lady Ship and see what Virgin has to offer as a unique cruise line, then try and find an itinerary with a few more sea days. It is especially good if you can book one with the first day at sea (easier with Miami departures). European itineraries are very port heavy and you might not have time to do everything you want to on board. There will still be activates etc on board during port days so you can stay on and have a nice time. The only exception to this is Bimini. As we learned the hard way, many things shut and there are no arranged activities on the ship as the crew is all at the Beach Club, running the catering, bars and activities there.

10.) Don’t Miss Brunch

Many people don’t know about the epic brunches available at both The Wake and Razzle Dazzle. This is the most fantastic way to start a lazy day. You can also make your brunch bottomless for only $25 which is pretty decent. You can choose from sparkling wine, regular wine, beer, mimosas or a signature cocktail depending on which brunch you take. It is great for sea days! The Wake is also an excellent place to go on your last morning before disembarking as it is open for early brunch. It ends your sailing on a fantastic note!

BONUS PRO TIP: You used to have to wait to be on board to book brunch but now, these bookings open 45 days in advance with all the dinner reservations.

11.) Rock the Free Activities

There are a few things on board which cost you nothing. You might forget this if you are used to sailing with other cruise lines. Some free activities you will want to indulge in are:

  • Arcade Games at The Social Club – As well as table football and shuffle board, there is an arcade full of your childhood favourites here and they are all free to use. I lost an hour to Tapper!
  • The Fitness Classes – From the unusual aerial bungee, to hardcore spin classes, all the group classes on Virgin Voyages are included. (Personal training sessions cost). Of course we couldn’t talk about fitness without mentioning the iconic VHS Workout. Lots of fun, all to 80s classic tunes and with a shake weight? Its the best!
  • 90s Dance Class – Unlike most cruise lines where line dancing and salsa are the dances of choice, Virgin opts for 90s boy band moves.
  • Have a Movie Night – There are loads of films that are free to watch in your room from classics to some quite new releases. Grab free film snacks from the Social Club, or order them on Ship Eats and snuggle in for a cosy night.
  • Try Some Trivia – Taking part in Salty Trivia and Risky Quizzness is free and can win you free drinks too. (For the British people out there, its a pub quiz).
  • Play a Board Game – Gamers Lab has loads of board games that are free to use. Borrow your favourite and find a spot in The Dock House for a chilled out (or highly competitive) hour.
  • Karaoke at the Groupie – There are three private karaoke rooms for hire which are free to use. You need to sign up on the day so come early to put your name down for a slot.
  • Unexpected Activities – There are lots of cute pop-up activities that you can dive into. I helped colour in a huge bit of art on the way to breakfast one day. Such a nice mindful start to the morning.

BONUS PRO TIP: Remember, there is a charge for missing some of the bookable activities, especially the fitness classes. Virgin Voyages will donate the charge to charity so at least your hungover lie in will benefit someone.

12.) Book With Extras

First Mates

Virgin Voyages works with travel agents and likes to refer to them as First Mates. Normally, I am a very independent traveller, planning my own trips. However, when it comes to to VV, I would absolutely book through a First Mate. Not only should they be able to match the best offer you can find, but can often add lots of fun extras (Sailor Loot or bar tab credit for example).

Sailing Club

If you hold status with another cruise line, or even with certain hotel chains, check out whether Virgin Voyages will status match you. You may well be eligible for a small collection of perks known as Blue or Deep Blue Extras. Some of those include:

  • Free laundry
  • Free speciality coffees
  • Premium WiFi
  • Dedicated phone support
  • A cocktail party
  • Expedited boarding
  • Bar tab credit

The higher your level, the more you’ll get.

13.) Bimini Top Tips

Most of the itineraries that Virgin Voyages runs from Florida, will make a stop at their private beach club n the Bahamian island of Bimini. Here are a few Bimini Beach Club top tips to make your day there as enjoyable as possible.

  • Connection – Don’t worry about getting data for the Bahamas, free WiFI is available around the Bimini Beach Club.
  • Arrive Early – For a calmer experience, head to Bimini in the morning. The afternoon is louder and busier. The other thing is that if you arrive later on, you will struggle to find anywhere left in the shade.
  • Pool Party – At around 13:00 the mood shifts and the party starts. The Happenings Crew will bust out some tunes, some dance moves and a whole load of floaties!
  • Take the Tram – The Beach Club is a decent walk from the port and it can be very hot. I know you want your steps but just hop on the tram.
  • Drinks – Your bar tab and included drinks (coke machines and water) are all transferred over to the Bimini Beach Club. You can fill up cups/bottles with Coke freestyle machines just as you can on board. We advise bringing your own container as cups can run short. We also advise grabbing a soft drink on your way to the bar as the staff are slammed and getting a drink can take a long time
  • Towels – These are provided at the Beach Club so you don’t need to bring your own from your room.

14.) Enjoy Some Sunbathing

If you want to soak up some sun whilst on board, you have more options than just the pool:

  • The Pool – To bag a decent spot by the pool, you need to get up early. Then, bear in mind, that the crew can clear your belongings if you leave the area for more than 40 minutes.
  • Deck 16 – On the deck that runs around above the pool there are loads of individual sun loungers.
  • The Dock – Back at The Dock there are a couple of day beds. These are especially nice as they usually have some chilled out music and you have ready access to food and drink, served to you.
  • The Net – At the back of deck 16 is the net, the insta-famous spot where you can look down on the Dock and the sea below. Around it, there are loads of day beds and even the whole edge is lined with places to tan.
  • The Perch – On deck 17 aft, this is the spot that you can let it all hang out. Well, not all…but you can go topless.
  • Cabanas – If you are feeling flush, you can book a private cabana. These have sea view and can be as open or shaded as you like (as long they are facing the sun). Honestly, these are pretty expensive considering they don’t include any drinks and with so many other options, they aren’t worth it unless you are really keen for some privacy.

BONUS PRO TIP: The sun beds are all plastic/pleather, and the darker purple and blue ones in particular, get really hot. Make sure you bring towels to avoid getting a burnet bottom.

15.) Don’t Skip Sail Away

Virgin Voyages turns their sail away into a proper party. This is the perfect chance to enjoy some free bubbly and meet the Happenings Cast that will make your sailing that much more exciting. It is a fun start to the cruise, with plenty of hype to give you a boost. If you are jetlagged then this is the perfect wake up! You will get the chance to have a free drink and if you are in the right spot, you could turn that into two or three. Of course, it is also the time to watch the ship leave port, especially fun from Miami and it would be a shame not to see that.

BONUS PRO TIP: When you are making your dining reservations, make sure your first night’s dinner is after 19:00 (7pm) so you can enjoy the whole sail away party.

16.) Add a Splash of Romance

Once you are booked, you can add on a fun upgrade called “A Splash of Romance” for $250. 75 rooms on every sailing can book this so if you think it’s for you, book it early.

Now, it may be called romance but actually, you would enjoy it just as much with a friend in my opinion.

So, what does $250 get you?

  • Early boarding on embarkation day. This gives you some extra time to visit sailor services, explore the ship or bag a sunbed at the pool.
  • One “Shake for Champagne”. Using the app, you can shake your phone and a lovely, cold bottle of Moet and Chandon will be delivered to you. Top marks for novelty but it can take a while so order it before you are desperate for a drink.
  • nSome cute snacks in your room a couple of times during the cruise.
  • Freshly squeezed juice every day.
  • An exclusive sail away party.
  • Two 3-Hour thermal spa passes so you can have a nice chill session once during your sailing.

17.) Don’t Miss Your Hidden Storage

One of the main complaints that people have with the cabin on Virgin Voyages is the lack of storage space. This is definitely true in the bathrooms but in the bedroom, you have a couple of hidden spots. The area that would be the twin bed or sea couch (the white wooden section) actually has quite a large drawer. The newer ships now have a handle on here so you can spot it, but if you are on one of the OG ladies, you’ll have to hunt it out yourself.

BONUS PRO TIP: On the subject of storage. There is no desk drawer for sunglasses, and other little bits and bobs. If you want them around here, nice and handy then bring a little collapsible box or similar to pop these things into and stop them cluttering up the desktop.

18.) Prepare for The Net

One of the most iconic spots on the ship is the triple net at the back. From here, you can see all the way down to the Dock below and it makes the coolest photo. There are two things you need to know.The first is to leave your phone on the side. In fact, that goes for any loose items, make sure they aren’t plummeting metres and metres to a hard deck, on someone’s head or to a watery grave.The other thing, is that it is painful! You aren’t allowed to wear your shoes but you can wear thick socks or grippy socks which will help.

19.) Book a Sea Terrace

If you can afford it, the upgrade to the Sea Terrace is well worth it. The balcony has a hammock. I know, this might not seem that great but trust me when I say, sitting out in the warm breeze, the movement of the ship gently swaying the hammock….you can’t beat it.

Check out our Virgin Voyages Sea Terrace Review

20.) Bring the Right Adaptors

The plug availability in the cabins is really, pretty good. On the desk you will have 1 European, 1 US , and 2 USB-A sockets. By the the bed, you’ll find 2 USB-A & 1 US socket on each side. The plugs on the chair side of the room are really quite far away from the bed though so if you want to use your phone in bed, bring a 3m cable. If you plan to bring a lot of things that require charging then bring adaptors for both USA and European plug sockets.

Final Thoughts on These Pro Tips for Your First Virgin Voyages Cruise

It can’t be denied that Virgin Voyages does things differently but with these tips, you will be sailing like a pro even if it is your first cruise with Virgin Voyages. We hope to take another few Virgin cruises so see you on board!

Rosie xx

Spread the love

5 thoughts on “20 Pro Tips for Your First Virgin Voyages Cruise

  1. Excellent article! You covered it all. I’ve been in four VV cruises and still learned a couple of new things.

Leave Us A Comment