After stepping onto a Virgin Voyages vessel it doesn’t take long to see that this is not your average cruise line. Not only has the company completely re-imagined how cruise ships are designed, they have also changed some of the “traditions” on board.
Some of the changes have been met with mixed reviews with some loving the new cruise concept and others hoping for a few more tweaks to the new style of cruising.
Either way, here are 10 things Virgin does differently, so you know what to expect if you plan to sail on one of their ships soon.
1. Wi-Fi and gratuities are included
On Virgin Voyages, Wi-Fi and daily gratuities are included in the cruise fare. You can choose to pay extra for a faster streaming experience, but for things like checking email and posting a few pictures on social media, the free Wi-Fi should be just fine. They are the only mainstream cruise line to offer these two perks included in cruise fares.
2. All restaurants on the ship are included in the cruise fare
You can choose from any of the specialty restaurants on board and not have to worry about paying any extra for the culinary experience. You will want to make reservations in advance, however, as some of the more popular restaurants fill up quickly.
Virgin also doesn’t have a main dining room, just specialty restaurants and The Galley. There’s no traditional cruise ship buffet on Virgin, but they do have The Galley where you would normally find the ship’s buffet (right off the pool deck). The Galley is made up of different stations where you can get anything from 24/7 breakfast, sushi, ramen, tacos, a salad bar, dessert station, and more.
3. No kids are allowed
You probably already know this, and perhaps it’s one of the biggest reasons you are looking into sailing with this new cruise line. Virgin Voyages is for adults only, which means that only passengers over the age of 18 are allowed to sail. This creates a more relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere on board.
You won’t find kid clubs and unsupervised children running around the lido deck on a Virgin ship.
4. Loyalty Matching with “Experience Match”
If you have a loyalty status with another cruise line, Virgin Voyages will match it with its “Experience Match” program. This means that you can start enjoying the benefits of Virgin Voyages’ loyalty program right away.
The benefits of this program are really geared for those who have a relatively high status on other cruise lines.
Virgin also rewards guests who sailed with the cruise line during their maiden season in 2021 with special Sea-Blazer perks.
5. Letters next to your cabin number
Virgin Voyages cabins are numbered with letters and numbers, which makes them easier to find. The letters indicate the deck and the numbers indicate the cabin location on the deck.
It can be confusing for first-timers on Virgin Voyages because you can’t just look at the cabin number itself. In fact, the same cabin number as yours will be on the other side of the ship, but it will have a different letter like A or Z to signify port or starboard.
6. No announcements on the loudspeaker
Virgin Voyages does not make announcements over the loudspeaker on the ship. Instead, passengers are encouraged to use the Virgin Voyages app to stay informed about what is happening on the ship.
If you’re used to listening to the announcements over the loud speaker on cruise ships and cracking the cabin door open to get a better listen, you will want to focus more on the Sailor app and stated schedule.
7. Bracelets instead of cruise cards
Instead of using a traditional cruise card, Virgin Voyages passengers wear a bracelet that acts as their room key, payment method, and boarding pass. If the bracelet isn’t working for you and you want a cruise card instead you can ask the front desk and they will give you one.
8. No cruise director
Virgin Voyages does not have a traditional cruise director. Instead, the cruise line has a position called “The Hostess” who is responsible for hosting events and activities on board.
9. No pushy photographers on the ship
Virgin Voyages does not have pushy photographers on board. There are a couple photo booths that ‘sailors’ can try out on their own, and there are many made-for-photo-op spots on the ship. But there’s no worry about being pulled into an unwanted photo with Virgin.
10. No large theater (instead many small entertainment venues)
Virgin Voyages ships do not have a large theater. Instead, the cruise line has many small entertainment venues that offer a variety of performances, such as live music, comedy shows, and DJ sets.
The entertainment is also very adult oriented (since Virgin is adults only) and far different than you find on any other cruise line.
Bonus: Smart staterooms
While the layout of staterooms on Virgin cruise ships is similar to other cruise lines, the special features in it make it stand out. You can control your entire cabin with a tablet. This includes mood lighting, the TV, curtains, temperature, and more. Also, every balcony has a hammock.
These differences make Virgin Voyages a more appealing option for some cruise passengers. For example, passengers who are looking for a more relaxed and sophisticated cruise experience may appreciate the fact that Virgin Voyages is adults-only and that all of the restaurants on board are included in the cruise fare.
Passengers who value their privacy may appreciate the fact that Virgin Voyages does not make announcements over the loudspeaker on the ship or have pushy photographers on board.
Have you sailed with Virgin Voyages before? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.