Sailing into Pink Paradise: My Virgin Voyages Experience Unveiled

December 3, 2023

A Quick Summary

For those who need a quick read, here are some bullet points of my pros and cons with sailing Virgin Voyages. Keep reading to go deeper.

Pros of Sailing Virgin Voyages

  • All-Inclusive Fare: Unlike traditional cruises, Virgin Voyages’ fare includes gratuities, basic drinks, and even cook-to-order meals. Say goodbye to unexpected expenses!
  • Bar Tab Perk: Enjoy a generous bar tab, up to $600 per room, for drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Cheers to hassle-free indulgence!
  • Innovative Dining: From Extra Virgin’s traditional Italian to Gumbae’s Japanese hibachi, each restaurant promises a unique culinary experience. Don’t miss Test Kitchen’s mysterious six-course meal!
  • Entertainment Extravaganza: Scarlet Night, exclusive to Virgin Voyages, transforms the ship into a red-hued adult pool party. Shows, live bands, and a lively casino keep the entertainment going until the early hours.

Cons of Sailing Virgin Voyages

  • Buggy Mobile App: While the Virgin Voyages app is a hub for cruise activities, it can be glitchy. Improvements are needed for a seamless experience.
  • Compact Cabins: While the Sea Terrace room offered a balcony and hammock, the bathroom was petite, lacking storage. The beds, even with toppers, were uncomfortably firm.
  • Inclusivity Challenges: Virgin Voyages falls short in catering to those with mobility issues and larger individuals. Door accessibility and seating accommodations need improvement.
  • Service Variability: While most areas offered great service, consistency lagged in places like The Galley, highlighting the need for improvement.

Let’s Get Deeper

As an empty-nester, I was so excited to hear about the launch of this cruise line. They got me with two things:



Did I say no kids?

I am not a huge fan of cruising, but I see the draw. You pay one price for all the food you can eat. There are endless entertainment options, a spa, and great alcoholic drinks. Literally a floating city. What I hate about cruises is the nickel and diming. If you want to drink something other than unsweetened iced tea and bug juice…you know, like soda or cranberry juice….you have to pay per drink (which is always in the tiniest glass ever invented by man) or pay for a drink package. Alcoholic drinks…fuggedaboutit!!!! Tips and gratuities are extra. Want higher quality food …show me the money!!!! Now your $700.00 trip is more than $1000.00 with all the add-ons.

Here comes Virgin Voyages…breaking down doors and revolutionizing cruising. Let’s start with what I paid for my fare is all I needed to pay unless I want extras. Gratuities….Included! Basic drinks…Included! Cook-to-order meals….Included! The general add-ons for other cruise lines are included in the Virgin price. Then…if you want to drink alcohol or specialty drinks, they throw in money so you can do just that! My July cruise, they gave me a $600.00 Bar tab. And I can share that bar tab with whomever I want.

I was like….what!!!!! I need to try this out.

So, for Thanksgiving, I did the Riviera Maya sailing. Just long enough for me to experience all the cruise line had to offer. In this blog post, I will go over my experience…the good, the bad, and the ugly. So hold on. This is going to be a ride. Here we go!!!!


Virgin Voyages has an app, and this is where the action happens. You have access to the app as soon as you make your deposit. Here, they will gather your information, including your passport information and your photo. You will also link to your cabin-mate in the app so you can see what each other are doing. It will not share personal information other than your cabin-mate’s name and photo. Any purchases made, unless they tag you in the purchase, will also not be shown. I appreciate the fact that they keep privacy in mind. 

The issue is that the app is buggy. Sometimes it loads…sometimes it doesn’t. You can make reservations, then they drop off. This is a problem when you are trying to get quick information in this age of nearly instant access. Virgin needs to work on that.

You would use the app to make your dinner reservations and schedule your Shore Things, which is Virgin’s classification for their shore excursions. If you have the Rockstar and Mega Rockstar suites, you have access to the app 60 days prior to sailing. All others have access 45 days prior to sailing. You need to get in there as soon as it opens, as reservations are key to a seamless experience onboard. You cannot reserve spa experiences or entertainment options until you board the ship, but you can see the types of services offered.

Where I Slept

I received a Sea Terrace room at the back of the ship. This is equivalent to a balcony room. Virgin has three room types in the balcony category: Sea Terrace – which is their entry-level balcony room; Central Sea Terrace – same as the Sea Terrace but is located mid-ship; and, the XL Sea Terrace which is 30% larger than the Sea Terrace rooms. These are located at the front of the ship and are in limited quantity.

The Sea Terrace room is a standard cabin size, however, the bathroom was itty bitty. I don’t expect a large bathroom on cruise ships, but this one was smaller than usual. Plus, it lacked storage space. I left my toiletries bag in my cabin, not in the bathroom, because of the lack of space. I am curious to see what the XL Sea Terrace bathroom looks like as that is larger.

The beds can be moved together to make a Queen or separated in an L-shape. The L-shape was what we did, which added a ton of walking space to the room. However….the beds were HARD!!!! I love a firm bed. But this was ridiculous. Also, I found myself “chasing” my pillows in the middle of the night as there was no headboard on one of the beds. I would encroach into my cabinmate’s space.

The XL Sea Terrace Cabin L-Shaped Bed

Tip: Ask for a topper for your bed. This makes them a little softer making it less uncomfortable. If you are ok sleeping with your mate, I would keep the beds together to avoid the pillow-chasing issue. You can also bring your own topper. Here’s some selections below.

The balcony is a decent size and has a hammock. As a fluffy, pretty girl, I looked at that hammock-like…fix it, Jesus, who is getting in that? But…I got in, and it was comfortable. I could definitely hang out there and watch the sunrise/set. In my research, not all balconies have hammocks or glass balcony walls. Shout out to Virgin Voyages Insider for the inside information on the cabins. Make sure you check them out to get inside information for your cabin amenities.

We had a refrigerator and carafes of water. You can get a choice of still or sparkling. I was so happy having fresh sparkling water every night. My attendant was so nice and attentive when we asked. It did take him a while to anticipate our needs. But he did eventually get it.

Click here to look at a video of the room.

What I Ate

There are no buffets on this ship. The closest you will get is eating in The Galley. I describe this as a pop-up shop of different food varieties from different parts of the world. They offered all-day breakfast, Asian, Mexican and American cuisines. Some choices are healthy…some not so much. You can get whatever kind of food you want. They also have an amazing brunch. You can’t get your reservation for brunch until you are on the ship. I didn’t attend brunch as my schedule did not allow me to. But I hear they are spectacular!

We ate at every restaurant except Razzle Dazzle. Bayyyybey!!! I had NO…let me say it for the people in the back…NO BAD MEALS!!!! Each one I left satisfied. Let’s go over the restaurants:

Extra Virgin

This is the Italian restaurant. It has traditional Italian food with a special menu just for Thanksgiving. Each table gets a charcuterie board and bread to share. Then you can get a traditional Italian fare which includes pasta and a protein. I had the crispy artichoke, pumpkin risotto (on the special menu), pappardelle ragu and the New York Strip. Everything was excellent. My shipmate had the baked mini meatballs and the sea bass. Let me say this was a great start to our meal experience. 


This is Virgin’s take on the Japanese hibachi. Can we say turn up! This is a great restaurant if you want a lively dinner with some complimentary shots included. We sat with a lovely family while eating Asian fusion and drinking Sake. The server cooked the meat in front of us. One person at the table had a number of allergies, and there were some things I didn’t eat. They did an AMAZING job in catering to food allergies and preferences. The beef was to die for! They also had a kimchi fried rice that my cabin mate loved! Needless to say, the food was good.

Pink Agave

This is a traditional restaurant with Mexican fusion food. Not much to say here as it was my least favorite restaurant out of all that I tried. That doesn’t mean that the food wasn’t good…as it was. There wasn’t anything special about it as there were with the other restaurants.

Test Kitchen

This is the BEST restaurant on the ship. The concept is that you have 6 courses but only know the main ingredient in those courses. Your actual meal is discovered when it is served. They also offer a wine pairing with each course for an additional fee. YOU MUST DO THIS WITH THE WINE PAIRING!!!! It elevates the experience. All of the courses were divine and if there are ingredients you do not eat, they will accommodate you. Just let them know beforehand. The service was superior to all of the other restaurants. Our server also explained the wines, their region, and why they pair well with the presented course. I will tell you, if you are not comfortable trying different things, this is not the best choice for you and I would avoid this restaurant. But if you are ok with not knowing every component of your meal…this is the restaurant for you!

The Wake

Think traditional steakhouse. This is a great restaurant for a date night or romantic dinner. They had raw oysters, roasted chicken, and several different selections of steak. They also were the ONLY restaurant on the ship that had my favorite wine: Riesling! The food and service here was EXCELLENT!!!! Think Michelin star level regarding food and service. The decor was modern and unique…making the customer descend a grand staircase to make it to the dining room. There is a large window at the back showing the water behind us as we trudge along on the ocean. They also offer a to die for brunch. You can only reserve brunch when on the ship, not beforehand.I loved my time at this restaurant.

How I Kept Busy

This cruise line has so many events that I could not decide what I wanted to do some days. That is great! Virgin Voyages does not have a cruise director like other cruise lines do. I actually liked that. It made for some quiet times on the ship that allowed me to get some work done or lay out on the deck in peace. As all ships, there are areas that are always on and poppin. Let’s get into them.

Tea Time with some Moet
Pretty Girl Drink
An Instagramable Moment
Having Fun at Sunset

Scarlet Night

This is exclusive to Virgin Voyages and is a red party! One night everyone dresses in their version of red for an adult pool party. The day this event occurs varies and will be in the app once the list of entertainment options opens. Dress ranged from conservative to “can that string get any smaller”, and everywhere in between! They have a resident DJ for that sailing. For my sailing, I had DJ James Campbell. He was amazing and spun all the turn-up records. This party includes live entertainment (see this post) and they encourage participants to get in the pool, making it a great night. The party started at 10:30 PM so it took a lot for me to stay awake as it was past my bedtime. However, most of the ship was on the pool deck and it was a funky good time. If you are able to stay awake, Scarlet Night is the night to do it. 

About to get the party started!
Both pictures…
…Same person


There are several shows and live bands throughout the day into the night. These can go to 2 am. I wasn’t up at that hour but I did enjoy the entertainment I did partake in. I saw a jazz band, called The Lee Boys, whom my suite mate loved. There were musicals, bingo, places for games, and more. We also enjoyed some afternoon tea with champagne. There was always something to do and something for everyone.


Virgin Voyages ships are not as large as some of the ships, such as the larger Royal Caribbean or Norwegian ships. Therefore, their space for the casino will be smaller, which it was. It has the usual slot machines and other gambling tables. They also have special rooms for high-stakes poker players. If you are a big time gambler, you would be disappointed by this casino. 

Sun Decks

This ship is full of sun decks which was amazing! From the rear to the sides of the ship, there was always a place for you to lay around and grab a tan. The one in the rear upper deck had food and drink options, usually with some kind of music. It can be just playing music through the ship’s speakers, there being a DJ (the resident DJ was DJ James Campbell who was amazing) to a live band. The sailaway DJ was DJ Lian De Leon. She rocked it and I enjoyed her set. My cabin mate loved the sounds of The Lee Boys. The decks on the side were quieter than the decks on the back. If you stayed at the side decks, you would have to go inside of the ship for food and drinks as there were no servers. In the back decks had food and drink service. I saw a lot of cruisers working or getting a tan in the quiet. Whichever experience you are looking for, you can find it on the ship. 

The Spa

Anyone who knows me knows that I need to go to the spa. I really enjoyed the spa experience. They had the usual steam room and sauna. What’s new is the salt room and the mud room. Salt rooms use Himalayan rock salt, which is rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iodine, bromine, and copper. Their purpose are to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve breathing and lung problems
  • Assist with skin conditions
  • Reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system

…Amongst other benefits.

The mud room is where you can rub mud over your body. This is to help soften and cleanse your skin. My cabin mate loved this and said that her skin felt great and extra soft for days after doing the treatment.

They also offer the spa circuit, where you can just hang out for 3 hours in the different areas of the spa. This includes the pools, heat bed, mud room and salt room. It does not include any of the spa treatments like facial and massages. You can purchase passes for the time you are on a ship or just once per day. I recommend stopping by the spa as soon as you can after getting on the ship if you wish to do the spa circuit and to schedule your appointments as they go fast. If there is a day where the ship is docked and you do not want to get off the ship, the spa circuit is cheaper so reserve on that day.

I received a facial and a massage. Both were very nice and relaxing. I also did acupuncture for the first time. She tweaked me in my ankle but I would do that again. The pricing was more than what I get at home…but I expected that being on the ship. For the facial, they used some sort of electrolysis. I would not recommend it. It left a “burn” line on my forehead that is slowly going away. But I was upset about its discovery. Although the staff was nice about my complaint, they were not trying to take responsibility. Luckily the line is fading or else we would have had other issues.

The massage was very relaxing and I would say stick with that if visiting the spa. My suite mate stated that she loved the adjustable table as it helped her alleviate pressure in problem areas of her body. I loved the heat. The massage and the spa circuit were the best experiences.

Bar Tab & Sailor Loot

Virgin Voyages adds booking perks to your sailing experience which they call a bar tab and sailor loot. These perks may change. But as of the date this blog was published, they offer these perks which can be valuable to prospective sailors and I believe are game changers for the cruise industry.

Bar Tab

Virgin Voyages includes basic drinks in your cruise package. This includes: still and sparkling water, non pressed juices, such as cranberry or apple juice, soda, tea, and basic coffee (lattes and espresso are an additional charge). This is A LOT more than what you receive on the other cruise lines. The other cruise lines give you weird water and bug juice. For anything more you either have to pay out of pocket or purchase a drink package, which are often expensive and not worth the price.

Virgin Voyages saw this and said we DO NOT want to do this. Introducing the Bar Tab. Depending on the location and length of your sailing, you can receive money on your account up to $600.00 just to pay for drinks. Most drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are $15.00 or less. This money is per room, not per person. However, you can share it with your cabin mate or other friends. See below for more information on how that works. 

On the 6-day cruise, with my cabin mate and I, we had a bar tab of $350.00, or $175.00 each. We did a lot of wine pairings, on top of the glasses of wine and mixed drinks with our meals. We went $20.00 per person over the amount we had pre-purchased. If you are not an excessive drinker, $600.00 should be enough for two people. This is a use-it-or-lose-it program, so you must use it all before you leave the ship. Some people purchased bottles of wine to bring home when it became clear that they would not use the bar tab in full. They also have a special. If you purchase $300.00 towards your bar tab, Virgin Voyages will add an additional $50.00 to your account, which is a good deal.

Sailor Loot

Sailor Loot is Virgin Voyages’s answer to the onboard credit you see from other cruise lines. You can use this for any and everything…from Shore Things (shore excursions), paid shows and entertainment, or to supplement your bar tab. Unless stated otherwise, this, too is per cabin and can be up to $300.00, depending on the promotion at the time of booking. Generally, onboard credit is, on average, $50.00 per stateroom and can only be used to book shore excursions through the cruise line. I like the fact that Sailor Loot has fewer restrictions and can be used throughout the ship.

Sharing Bar Tabs and Sailor Loot

Like other cruise ships, purchases are cashless and are done electronically. Virgin Voyages has a wristband they use to track your purchases. Due to the Bar Tab and Sailor Loot being assigned per room, only the room leader has access to the account. If you and your cabin mate wish to share these benefits, either your cabin mate needs to be with you and use their band to make every purchase or you can link accounts. Sailor Services can link your accounts. Keep in mind, EVERY TRANSACTION all parties make will be on the main account. That party’s credit card will be charged throughout the cruise. At the end of the cruise, you can go back to Sailor Services to reconcile the accounts and switch the charges to the appropriate accounts. This is a PITA and puts a lot of financial liability on the main account holder.

In thinking more about this, I would leave things alone and then move transactions at the end of the voyage. That way both parties are responsible for their own onboard purchases and it reduces the financial liability of the main account holder. The downside is if the main account holder uses up the money on their own personal purchases. That would be a hard conversation to have. Either way, you have to really trust your cabin mate. Truth be told…if I can’t trust my cabin mate, I would not travel with them. #IJS


Virgin Voyages is a VERY inclusive cruise line in certain regards. It is a comfortable space for those who are members of the LGBTQ+ community to feel safe and comfortable. Where they lack is inclusiveness for those who have mobility issues and who are of a larger size. I will explore that more in the “Where Virgin Can Improve” section. No matter what group you belong to or identify with, there is something for you. From drag shows to sports bars and places for those of a more mature generation to hang out. You feel as though you are represented on the ship. I really appreciated that, as no one was singled out. 


Included with your sailing is unlimited WiFi. However, this is the basic plan. This means you can send texts and browse FaceBook or Instagram. However, if you wish to do work or use FaceTime or Zoom, you need to upgrade to the premium WiFi. I did such for $40.00 for two devices and an additional $20.00 each for three or more devices. This price is for the duration of the cruise. This worked seamlessly even when we were at sea. I had no issues working and doing what I needed while on the ship. This is CHEAP! I wanted to upgrade my WiFi for my Norwegian cruise later this month, and they wanted close to $300.00 per person to upgrade to the premium package. They may get me at that price because there are things I need to do. Rest assured, I will not be happy about it, and that service needs to be top-notch as that’s more than what I pay for my monthly service.

Where Virgin Can Improve

You just read paragraph after paragraph about the wonderfulness of Virgin Voyages. However, they are not perfect. Virgin Voyages is a young cruise line, about three to four years old. Out of the gate, they are revolutionizing the cruise industry. But with any young company, there is always room to grow. Here are the areas where I feel they can improve:

Inclusiveness in All Areas

As stated above, Virgin Voyages has issues with inclusiveness for people with mobility issues or who are of larger size. Not all of the doors opened automatically or had a button where someone could open them. We found this issue for many of those doors at the front or the back of the ship. This would cause my cabin mate to have to go mid-ship in order to access the different areas of the ship. This is a lot and very inconvenient if your cabin is either in the front or the back of the ship. If you have mobility issues, I would suggest purchasing a cabin in the middle of the ship to make it easier to get around.

The other issue is if you are of size. Many of the chairs had arms that restricted their width. If you are of size, it makes it very difficult to sit in them. Now you are looking around for seating with no arms, which can be embarrassing. Also, a lot of seats are low to the ground. This makes it hard to get in and out of them. This is for both people of size, our more seasoned passengers, and people with mobility issues. Virgin Voyages should look at some of their seating and make some changes. 

The spa also didn’t have plus-size robes when I went for my first service. I was assured they did when I asked about the availability the day before. I was extremely disappointed that a robe was not available on the first day and it did negatively affect my spa experience. The staff were attentive enough to put robes to the side when I returned for my other spa services.


These things are way too hard. Even with the toppers, they are so uncomfortable. I did not get a good night’s sleep during my trip and I like firm beds. And having a side that has no headboard added to the discomfort. For my next cruise I will be bringing my own topper because geesh! The bed configuration is definitely a space saver but it’s not practical. I wish they would have thought this through better. 

Division of the Sailor Loot and Bar Tab

For those who want to have a separate account, there should be a way to separate the bar tab and sailor loot. This keeps things civil between the parties and allows each person the opportunity to maintain and track their own accounts. This sharing of the tab is messy and I can see problems being caused if the parties are unwilling or unable to have a real discussion about the division of the monies.

There has to be a better way to greet those needing wheelchair assistance

It was chaotic boarding the ship. Although there were people out front trying to direct you, it was confusing where you would find the porters to take your bags and how to request a wheelchair. There aren’t any instructions on the page either. Having a dedicated booth for people needing wheelchairs is key for a smooth embarkation onto the ship. The same goes for disembarkation. It was not clear how to request a wheelchair to leave the ship. We eventually figured it out, but it would be great if they had instructions in the app to assist those with mobility issues.

Consistency of Service

For the most part we had great service. There were some areas, more specifically in The Galley, where service was sporadic. There were times where we had to find someone to assist and when we did, had to ask several times for assistance. One person took my cabin mate’s order then disappeared. Luckily, there was another server, named Love, who assisted us and provided us with the level of service we expected. In the restaurants, the service was consistent. 

The App

This thing is buggy. It can be frustrating when the app is the main way to communicate with the staff on board and to know what the entertainment and food options are in real time. Virgin Voyages has to invest more in the consistency of the app. When it works, it works well. But when it doesn’t…

Will I Return & Why

I would definitely recommend and do subsequent cruises with Virgin Voyages. The negatives are minor in my opinion and some can be overcome with some preplanning and having someone like Legally Pink Travel in your corner to help guide you through the process. The cruise was fun and enjoyable. The food was great. Many options for entertainment. The cost compared well to the other cruise lines after you add in all of the gratuities and drink packages. It can sometimes be less with the extra money they add for the Bar Tab and Sailor Loot.

I especially enjoy that there are no kids and the major part of your spending is included in your price. I do not feel like I am nickel and dimed. There are entertainment options that cost extra. But that is a choice and it’s not pressured as soon as you get on the ship. I also like that I can access everything about the ship via my phone. I was also very impressed with the WiFi service. I took very clear calls and video calls without any issues. 

Virgin Voyages is a value in comparison to the other cruise lines and they have unique itineraries, which is what the industry needs. Because their ships are smaller, there aren’t people everywhere. Once I boarded, it did not feel like people were on top of each other. I did not deal with crowded elevators, which I hate. I enjoyed the experience and look forward to experiencing their International itinerary this July.

Are you interested in Virgin Voyages?

Click here and take a look at what they offer. If you book using this link, you will receive an additional $100.00 in Sailor Loot which is exclusive to my travel agency. You can also schedule a free 30-minute consultation to talk more about what Virgin Voyages has to offer.

I also have a very limited number of extra savings certificates. For a price of $300.00, you will receive $600 in onboard credit and $300 off your next voyage, and combine it with other offers to save even more, such as exclusive savings! Click here to email Legally Pink Travel for more information.

Have questions about Virgin Voyages or any other vacation, click here to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

*If available, you must purchase the certificate for $300.00 and must sail on or before November 1, 2025. This purchase is non-refundable and cannot be used on vacations already purchased.

Disclaimer: Some links included may be affiliate links or links to products and services where Legally Pink Travel, LLC might or might not have a partnership. Legally Pink Travel, LLC does not warrant and is not responsible for any of the products or services accessed through these links. Legally Pink Travel also is not responsible for any issues that arise from purchases made using these links. Thank you for your support. 



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