We had started to hear some hype about the Virgin Voyages cruise line and had to give it a try. We are not avid cruisers, but it seemed to be made perfectly for us. Without a stuffy dress code, modern ships, a focus on food, and entertainment made for adults, it seemed like a perfect fit for us.
We went on our first Virgin Voyages cruise departing Athens and going to Croatia, Montenegro and Corfu. We had such a great time that we booked a second cruise out of Barcelona a few months later. So in the Virgin Voyage Review, we are going to share what we love about Virgin Voyages (and a few issues they are still having).
Negative Reviews of Virgin Voyages
While we absolutely loved Virgin Voyages, we do see some negative reviews from time to time and want to get these aspects out of the way first.
The only major issue with Virgin Voyages is app. It wouldn’t be a big deal, but the App is how you schedule your dining reservations and all the activities on the ship. You can go to sailor services as soon as you get on the ship which can take care of all the activities since the is the earliest you could schedule them anyway.
The main issue comes with getting dinner reservations. Dinner reservations open up 45 days before the cruise and if you have app issues you won’t be able to make reservations until you talk to sailor services on the cruise. With that being said, they do reserve a lot of seating to be booked after embarkation and the restaurants do accept walk-ins. Also, people make changes to plans all the time so you can always keep an eye on the app to see what becomes available.
The other valid common complaint is that the pool is very small. The ship can also feel crowded when they are full when on other ships I feel like there are enough common areas that you could always find a quiet place to be.
Other complaints we hear are mostly from people who are accustomed to more traditional cruise lines and do not like or expect the changes.
Complaints from people expecting an old-school cruise experience
- “The interior was not elegant enough.” It has a modern feel, not the typical interior with wood everywhere.
- “Small storage area in the cabins.” I think that is because they packed as if they were going to have formal nights or something because we found the rooms to have ample storage. We honestly didn’t use 2 of the large cabinets. Just bring 1 suitcase each so it fits under the bed and you will be fine.
- “One sailor complained they wanted down-home cooking.” So yes, if you want boring food, you may not love the restaurants on Virgin Voyages, but they also have great burgers, sandwiches, pizza, steaks and other simple foods.
- “There isn’t a cruise director.” Instead, there is a “Happenings Cast” which has 12 people with different responsibilities. We loved this change!
- “Too many members of the LGBTQ community.” I am honestly shocked to hear anyone complain about this. But yes, Virgin Voyages is very inclusive and members of the LGBTQ community will not be hiding to make you feel more comfortable if you are homophobic. The staff does not care about your gender, age, color, or sexual orientation and we have found the other sailors to be very accepting as well.
Virgin Voyages Awards
We aren’t the only ones who love Virgin Voyages. Here are just a few of the awards Virgin has received recently.
Cruise Critic US – 2023 Cruisers’ Choice Awards
- Best Overall Cruise Line
- Best Value for the Money
Travel + Leisure – World’s Best Awards 2023
- #1 Best Mega-Ship – Ocean Cruise Line
Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2023
Virgin Voyages Food Review
Virgin Voyages offers a distinctive dining experience with over 20 different eateries included in the cruise fare, ranging from casual bites to upscale dining, without the traditional buffet lines.
There are also no specialty restaurants that charge extra. The only food items that cost extra are a few items at a few of the restaurants, for example, oysters at The Wake.
|Razzle Dazzle||Casual Dining with American favorites with vegetarian and vegan options.|
|Gunbae||Korean BBQ where you are seated in groups of 6 and food is cooked on grilled in front of guests.|
|The Wake||A sophisticated modern twist to the classic chophouses.|
|Pink Agave||Shareable Mexican cuisine|
|Test Kitchen||Laboratory-themed restaurant using unconventional cooking|
|Extra Virgin||Amazing Italian food with homemade pasta and a variety of appetizers and homepage gelato.|
|The Dock||Outdoor tapas with lounge seating. (perfect for embarkation day)|
|The Dock House||Indoor tapas|
|Lick Me Till… Ice Cream||The best homemade ice cream at sea.|
|Ship Eats||Room service|
|The Pizza Place||Freshly made brick oven pizza|
|The Galley||Food court open 24/7|
|The Social Club||Snacks like pretzels, hotdogs, chicken wings, and popcorn.|
Our rules of eating on Virgin Voyages
- Order as much as you want
- At Extra Virgin you can order 1/2 sizes of pasta to try a few.
- Do not skip the Gelato at Extra Virgin.
- The Test Kitchen has 2 menus as well as vegetarian options. We preferred the menu served in the first half of the cruise.
- Brunch at The Wake or Razzle Dazzle is better than breakfast at The Galley if you have the time.
- Room service is not free, but if you purchase anything that is an extra charge there is no fee. Just add a paid drink to the order.
- Get the guacamole and spiked agua fresca at Pink Agave.
- Gunbae can be skipped, its a long dining time and you are seated with strangers.
- The Sweet Spot in the Galley is a perfect place for grabbing some dessert.
We love the way Virgin Voyages handles their liquer. Instead of having to choose between an unlimited drink package or paying for very expensive drinks.
Instead, on Virgin you can choose to repurchase a bar tab at a slightly discounted rate or just buy the affordable drinks on the menu. We found the drinks to be priced similarly to a normal restaurant in the US while other cruise lines have prices more in line with expensive resort.
|Glass of wine||90% are under $10 a glass|
|Can of beer||$5-8|
There are multiple bars on the ships and the restaurants have wine lists and specialty cocktails as well.
Virgin Voyages often runs promotions that include an extra $600 bar tab per cabin. There are also bottomless drinks at the brunches you can order.
Cabins on Virgin Voyages offer a blend of comfort, style, and innovative design inspired by superyachts, intended to create spaces for relaxation and rejuvenation. The cruise line provides a range of cabin categories to suit various preferences and budgets:
- Insider Cabins: Ideal for travelers looking for a cozy space with essential amenities. These cabins are the most economical options, featuring space-saving designs like foldable sea beds, although they do not offer ocean views.
- Sea View Cabins: Offer a porthole view of the ocean, available in two sizes. The Solo Sea View is suitable for one guest with 130 square feet, while the standard Sea View can accommodate up to three guests in 190 square feet of space.
- Sea Terrace Cabins: Most cabins are Sea Terrace Cabins and include balconies with a hammock on them. They are well-appointed with roomy rain showers, mood lighting, a 43+ inch TV, and even a terrace hammock and a transformational Seabed which serves as a sofa by day and a bed by night.
For both of our cruises, we have stayed in Sea Terrace Cabins and think they are a great option for most sailors.
- Rockstar Quarters and Mega Rockstar Quarters: These luxurious suites provide exclusive benefits and amenities, including private outdoor areas, stocked bars, and priority reservations. These quarters are designed to offer an unparalleled experience with additional exclusivity and space.
Picking Your Cabin Location
When you book your cruise, your cabin will be automatically assigned to you. Check your cabin number to make sure it is not located about or below The Manor or The Red Room, otherwise it is going to be loud in your room. If you were assigned one of these rooms, chat with Virgin Voyages on their website or give them a call.
If another room is not available, try again in a week or two. After everyone is on board, try again by going to Sailor Services if the noise is a problem.
When it comes to the crew on Virgin Voyages, they are the best of all large cruise lines. Virgin Voyages is known in the industry as treating the crew the best and because of that, they are able to attract the best crew.
Everyone we met was very friendly and helpful. Instead of a cruise director, there is a Happenings Cast, with each member responsible for different aspects of the cruise.
When it comes. to activities, Virgin Voyages does have a lot to choose from, but with. a little less variety.
When it comes to entertainment there are several shows you can go to including cabaret performers and drag shows. There are several musical groups on each cruise that you can catch at different venues. Each ship has around 3 productions that are shown throughout the cruise as well.
If you would like to stay active you can sign up for yoga, biking, and several other workout options.
Some of the more entertaining activities that were also active were the dodgeball tournament, 80s VHS workout and the boy band dance classes.
I hope this review of Virgin Voyages is helpful, let us know what you think of the cruise line!