I’m listening to the waves while enjoying the 75 degree weather on my cabin balcony. It’s been an amazing first evening on the Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady cruise ship. It was way less stressful than I thought it might be.
We were nervous about cruising with the omicron variant spreading rampant. But Virgin Voyages requires both crew and passengers to be 100 percent vaccinated and test negative before boarding. They tested my husband Matt and I at the Miami port before boarding on Jan. 12, 2022. Check in was simple and mostly done online before we boarded. The health questions and covid test had to be done at the port. Then they checked our passports and our bracelet room key that was mailed to us. That was it.
They also require us to wear masks indoors. We actually feel safer on the ship than going to the grocery store at home. They have very low capacity this cruise and they they’re always cleaning.
We met our room steward, or host, outside our room. She was super sweet and told us about our room and the water. They give you a carafe of water (or two if requested) for your room and two glasses. If you take the lid off the carafe, they fit in the mini fridge in the room. The rooms are similar to ship cabins you’re used to, but a little different. There is no couch in the room, but a large chair and a small stool at the desk. There is an interesting shelf-like area by the bed. It looks like you could sit on it or just use it as a night stand. You can also ask for your bed to be made into a couch during the day, and this covers the shelf. There’s an electronic pad in the room that lets you control the lights and automatically close the curtains. The balcony has two plain chairs, but it also has a really cool hammock, which we used a lot.
We watched the fun musical safety video in our room and met at our muster station for further instructions. It really did not take long at all. We were done in a matter of minutes. They use a slightly different type of life vest, so pay attention.
We then walked around, exploring the ship. The views of Miami from the ship at sunset were gorgeous. We got a couple of drinks and enjoyed panoramic views of the sunset. Then it was time to get ready for dinner.
We had an amazing Italian meal at Extra Virgin. We stuffed ourselves with four appetizers, a charcuterie board, pasta entrees, and two desserts.
As we were walking through the casino after dinner, we came across a comedy show. I liked it, but Matt thought it was just OK. It was very feminine geared, so he was not the target audience. At 9 p.m. we went to a dance show in the Red Room main theater called “Untitled DanceShowPartyThing”. It was a bit awkward. I think the audience was meant to dance along, but everyone was standing around a bit confused. It’s one of those shows that’s probably better if you are three or more drinks in, and we don’t drink much. So we left early. We went upstairs to The Galley to get a little something sweet and some camomile tea before bed. Their signature dessert is chocolate with a passion fruit cover and it was delicious.
Our room balcony was peaceful at night with the sound of the ocean lulling us to sleep.
We were already docked in Bimini when we woke up the next day. It’s a flat little island with a bunch of cute little houses. The Beach Club is a beautiful beachfront area owned by Virgin. It’s sort of like their private island, but just part of Bimini. It has nice lounge chairs, beach beds, cabanas, and seating areas set between the beach and the pool area. There’s an area for dining as well as a special area for the “Rock Star” class cruisers. But we wern’t booked into the Rock Star rooms, so we couldn’t get inside that area. It seemed to have its own bar. They have island tours for sale, but they were all booked when we looked.
We had a really great dinner at Razzle Dazzle, a veggie-forward restaurant on the ship. But we only tried some of the vegetarian choices. I had to get the pretzel crusted pork schnitzel. I was so glad I did. But the mushroom appetizer was excellent too. Matt really loved the cookies and I loved the Rainbow Churros with sweet potato ice cream. We can see this place being one of the popular places to go. We walked around the ship to find the arcade and had a blast playing some free old arcade games like Pac-Man, Centipede, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, and Mortal Kombat. We called it an early night.
We woke up and had breakfast at The Galley on deck 15. The view from the back could not have been better. It was a little breezy, but I didn’t mind because I had my jacket. In The Galley, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can order yourself at any of the many stations or just let them take your order at your table. The food is really great on this ship. After breakfast, I went to Tune Up to get a pedicure. I almost feel asleep as the nail tech was massaging my feet.
We went to the room to relax before heading to brunch at The Wake. Matt had an Avocado Benedict, which he absolutely loved. I had a Filet Mignon, which was really tender and delicious. Dessert was tasty and interesting, it was a Crepe Cake. It was just as it sounds, layered Crepes with a strawberry sauce.
We explored the ship a bit and Matt went to go take videos of the ship. We met up at The Dock. The views were are perfect from there on the back of the ship. The breeze was cool. but not cold. I love their fresh-pressed juices and snacks. I had the Shrimp Skewers. I also grabbed a pita chips and dip from the free Grab and Go area (one of many around the ship). Matt found a place that had popcorn and pretzels with cheese dip by the arcade. I then went to the hair salon called Dry Dock on deck 6. Matt went to back to the room to get some work done and take a nap.
We got ready and went to the Red Room for a cirque-like show called “Duel Reality”. Of all the shows, it was our personal favorite. It separates the audience in two sides. So you root for either the red or blue. Some of the acts are ones I personally have not seen before. Instead of silks, they hung from chains. It’s about 50 minutes long. It started a 6 p.m., so it was a perfect show to catch before dinner. The show was later in the evening the night before.
We went to dinner at Gunbae, which is a Korean BBQ. It was really good and fun. They even have you play a drinking game to get to know your table mates. It’s family style seating, so you may have to sit with others you do not know. We sat next to some really nice people from Ohio. They made the dining experience more enjoyable. Before you order, they give you a few appetizers like kimchi and other things with traditional Korean flavors. Even though there’s a cooktop in the middle of the table, the staff cooked our foods for us, which is different from other places like this we have been to. But that might have been due to the pandemic. They also offer vegan and vegetarian options. I got the chef combo as my main entree. It’s a little mix of short ribs, pork belly, and shrimp. They give you a few different dipping sauces. The ice cream desserts were very tasty. You can get one of two flavors or swirl them together. They come with toppings as well.
After dinner we went to the Scarlet Night “show”. It was a bit weird and hard to follow. We were a bit confused. It takes place all around deck 7, so we weren’t sure what was happening or where we were supposed to go. We saw one group just playing charades. I went back to the room and got ready for bed. Matt went to the dance party on deck 15 at 10 p.m. and said it was better.
There are a lot of photo ops throughout the ship. But they don’t have photographers chasing you around during the cruise. Crew members will take your photo with your phone or camera. The old ways of having photographers all around the ships isn’t needed as much with everyone having a camera in their pocket nowadays.
Day at Sea
I slept in and Matt brought breakfast burritos to the room from The Galley. We relaxed until lunchtime. We decided to try The Pizza Place located midship on deck 7. They have tasty, perfectly sized pizzas. I got pepperoni and Matt got the chicken pesto. I also got a salad that you can pick up at the Grab and Go. They also have sodas. The Lick Me Till … Ice Cream shop is right next door for dessert. We took a walk around the ship a bit before going back to the cabin to relax and read.
We had a really fun dinner at The Test Kitchen. It’s described as a laboratory-like eatery. The food was full of delicious flavors and fun textures. It’s one of our favorites onboard Scarlet Lady. They made a unique mushroom dish that my husband really enjoyed (and he doesn’t even like mushrooms), and they served us a blue cheese ice cream. That sounds really weird, but it was good. The chocolate dessert was really decadent and rich. I couldn’t finish it all, I was so full.
“Ships in the Night” was the name of the show we saw for our final night of the cruise. It featured singing and dramatic dancing. It was the only show of the three in The Red Room that was most like you’d see on other ships. The Red Room was set up like a regular theater for this one. Over the three shows, the Red Room went from a dance floor with movable stage, to bleachers on each side, to a theater setting. It’s impressive and interesting how versatile that space is. Although we didn’t like every show, we think they’re worth checking out to see if you like them, and to see the different interesting room designs.
We played video games in the arcade for a while afterwards, then went up to The Galley for a little something sweet and camomile tea before going back to the cabin for the evening. The last night of vacation is always so bitter sweet.
Back in Miami
We love how Virgin Voyages doesn’t rush you off the ship on the last day. You can leave whenever you’d like up until 10:30 a.m. and even stay in your cabin all that time if you’d like. We had a wonderful breakfast at Razzle Dazzle. Matt had Turmeric Eggs and I had the Razzle Dazzle breakfast with two eggs, Impossible patties, roasted mushrooms, tomatoes, and potatoes. Matt also had avocado toast and I had the unicorn toast (buttered toast with sprinkles)!
The food was the highlight of the cruise. We think Virgin Voyages has better food than other cruise lines, and we have been on all the major lines. We like that you can eat anywhere and make reservations for no extra charge. There were a few upgraded entrée items that cost more, but it’s so much better than the old “set dining” in a large dining room. The many smaller dining options are the way to go.
There was some bad weather when we got to Miami and the gangway closed for a bit. I was hoping we were stuck and would have to cruise another week! LOL! But it opened up quickly.
We walked right off and went quickly through customs where we only had to show our passports. The whole process is much easier than it used to be.
We had a great experience with our first cruise on Virgin Voyages. We are looking forward to cruising with them again.
Stay safe and have fun cruising!