Cruise NewsFirst Impressions of Virgin's First Cruise From Miami, Oh It's Different

First Impressions of Virgin’s First Cruise From Miami, Oh It’s Different

The long awaited debut of Scarlet Lady from Miami is finally here, a new adults only cruise ship from Virgin Voyages.

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Virgin Voyages is the world’s newest cruise line and after spending six hours on the ship last week for a special media preview, I just had to sail on Scarlet Lady to see what Virgin Voyages is all about. (Our full review of Virgin Voyages can be read here)

I booked this cruise just a few days ago, the most last minute cruise I have ever booked.  I paid $1,850 for an obstructed view balcony on deck 8. Yes, it was pricey for a four night cruise for one to the Bahamas but it does include gratuities, WiFi, all restaurants, and soda.  Here are my first impressions of Virgin Voyages on their first cruise out of Miami.  The main theme is different, yes, this is far different than any other cruise ship I’ve ever been on.


This is the seventh cruise that I have taken since cruises resumed this summer. This was by far the worst embarkation of them all (Just being honest). It took just under two hours to get on the ship after I arrived at the port.

Virgin was using one terminal for testing and a different terminal for boarding at PortMiami.  This meant that we had to go through security twice, once for each terminal. My timeline went like this:

  • 12:25 pm My Lyft dropped me off at the port and I get in line
  • 1:10 pm I enter the first terminal for testing
  • 1:15 pm I exited the first terminal after a rather quick test
  • 2:10 pm I receive my wrist band
  • 2:15 pm I step on board the ship

One of the reasons why check-in took so long was because they were blasting music where the check-in counters were.  Factor in that everyone was wearing a mask, it made it extremely hard to hear what each other were saying and things often had to be repeated two or three times. It made the check-in process a lot more complicated that it should be. While loud music makes sense in certain venues on the ship, the check-in area is not one of them.


Since I spent an evening on the ship last week, I already knew the basic layout. Scarlet Lady is so much different than any other cruise ship I have ever been on. I do love how every part of the ship is themed and so different than the rest of the ship.   I love the design of each room.

However, the layout can be confusing at times as the ship doesn’t flow like most cruise ships. It’s not a big deal once you learn your way around but at first it’s a bit confusing.

We are currently sailing somewhere around 50% capacity so the ship never feels crowded.


The crew on board have been great and the service has been incredible so far.  One confusing thing is that not all crew members wear uniforms so sometimes you don’t realize someone is a crew member until you see their name tag.

This is also the first time I’ve seen crew members use cell phones in public areas of the ship, taking selfies up on the pool deck etc.  Virgin must have much different rules for crew members than other cruise lines.


This has been the highlight of the cruise so far, the food has been absolutely fantastic. There is no main dining room, but over 20 places to eat with six main restaurants and all of them are included in your cruise fare.  You can eat at each one once during the cruise and a second time if there are spaces open.

Although Virgin said that they weren’t going to have a buffet on board, they do have an area called the Galley that closely resembles the buffet found on cruise ships.  The Galley has six or seven stations with different types of food found at each one.  You sit down at a table, order from one of the stations, and the waitstaff brings it to you.  They also serve 24/7 breakfast here at the diner.

View Cruises on Scarlet Lady

While there are a lot of things I think Virgin needs to fix and improve, the great food more than makes up for other things on board that simply don’t make a lot of sense.


I booked the cheapest balcony cabin that was available, an obstructed view cabin on deck 8.  When I arrived at the terminal, I found out that I was moved to a deck 14 balcony cabin. A cabin in a much better location and without a lifeboat blocking half of my view.

Everything about the cabin is a positive except for the tiny bathroom.  It’s really small.  However, the rain head shower is awesome.

You can take a short two minute video tour of my cabin below:

There is a tablet in the room that controls the lights, mood lightning, the curtains, the TV, and the thermostat. The mood lightning has different settings depending on what mood you are in, it’s really cool.

You can also control the brightness of the lights in the cabin from 1-100.

I love how the balcony has a hammock, I’ve spent a lot of time sitting in it.  I wish all cruise lines did this.

It’s one of my favorite cabins that I’ve ever cruised in.

Odds and Ends

We don’t have to wear masks onboard since everyone is vaccinated so that’s a big plus.

Since this is an adults only cruise line, there is no one under the age of 18 on board.

There are a lot of power outlets and USB ports all around the ship.  They are everywhere in the galley.

Virgin has replaced key cards with a wearable device that goes around your wrist. I’ve had the hardest time trying to keep it on my wrist and from falling off.  It eventually fell off and I lost it.  They gave me a regular key card that I now use.

The entertainment is far different than anything else I’ve seen on a cruise.  Most of it personally isn’t for me but if you like the club scene, then you’ll love it on here.  I’ve only been on board for 24 hours so we’ll see what it’s like on the rest of the cruise.

As I said earlier, some things on board don’t make a lot of sense but I will go into more detail on them in my full review after the cruise is over.  But then again, Virgin wanted to be different than every other cruise line so maybe it’s all part of their plan.

This is Virgin’s first cruise with paying passengers out of Miami so there will be a learning curve for them.  Things that aren’t running 100% smoothly now will likely get fixed with time.

After one day on board, I honestly don’t know what to think of this new cruise line.  Somethings are great and others have me scratching my head.  There are still three more days to the cruise so I have much more to explore and see.

You can follow along on the cruise on Cruise Fever’s social media channels on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise NewsFirst Impressions of Virgin's First Cruise From Miami, Oh It's Different

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