By "Commodore" Camille Pepe Sperrazza
There are a lot of positive things to be said about the brand new Scarlet Lady, Virgin’s dive into the cruise industry.
I sailed for five nights, October 2021, on one of the first cruises out of Miami - and also enjoyed a full day aboard when the ship visited New York in September.
For a limited time, The World Awaits Travel can offer an exclusive discount to the first eight cabins, balcony or above, booked with us.
- The ship is for adults only. If you are a teacher who must travel when school is closed, this is HUGE. No kids underfoot. No tots splashing in the pool. No teens to contend with. No chance of running into students on board.
- A lot is included with the basic price of the cruise - non alcoholic drinks, all tips, and basic WiFi. That makes cruising with Virgin a very good deal.
- The food at the restaurants was served hot - not lukewarm - a pleasant and welcome surprise.
- There is no main dining room. Instead, there are many small specialty restaurants - Mexican, Korean bbq, Italian, and more, without extra cost (although some dishes have upcharges). All excellent quality. Notable is The Wake, serving American fare. Our waiter brought us every side dish in the menu, and they were all so good, it is impossible to name a favorite, but the thick French fries were spectacular. High marks to Extra Virgin, the Italian restaurant, for its charcuterie board and table-side gelato cart, with the works. Don’t miss the views and small bites at The Dock House, at the back of the ship. Sit outside where you can sip and eat, mesmerized by the trail of blue ocean. Musicians pop up unexpectedly to serenade passengers.
- When we docked in Cozumel, Virgin provided its own ferry service to take us back and forth to Playa del Carmen, all at no cost. Very generous, and unheard of in an industry that often charges a small fortune for tours and transfers.
- Embarkation process needs improvement. Our plane landed at 10 am, and we didn’t board the ship until 2 pm.
- Virgin wants you to live and die by its app, making all reservations for restaurants and activities there. The problem is the app doesn’t work properly, Internet service at sea is always a challenge, not all activities were listed, and the app itself contained wrong information. One example: the app stated it cost $75 to attend a show, but it was actually free. Some couples, believing there would be a $150 charge, didn’t attend. Worse is that when I asked Guest Services if the show cost $75, I was told, “Yes, all the shows cost money.” This didn’t sound right to this veteran cruiser, and sure enough, all shows were free. Hopefully, these kinks will be worked out.
- I had a balcony stateroom which contained the smallest bathroom I can remember. Book a suite for a few dollars more as the bathroom there is more spacious.
- This was my third post-pandemic cruise in less than 60 days. Strict covid protocols were in place for the first two that left from the New York area. Although Virgin did require everyone to take a covid test at the pier, guests did not have to wear masks on board, and staff members were also maskless at times.
- There is no main theater, and entertainment is a bit unique. One example is a show called, “Never Sleep Alone.” It is based on a book by the same name, so you can look it up
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This article was accurate when it was written, but everything in life changes. Enjoy the journey!
Copyright: Camille Pepe Sperrazza