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  • Writer's pictureKen Murray

Day 1 - Virgin Voyages Cruise - A Nice Dinner, a Naughty Show, and Lots of Fun

We started our Virgin Voyages cruise today. We left the hotel around 1:00pm and taxi'd to terminal V at the Port of Miami. We entered the 1:30pm check-in line and made our way to the check-in kiosk where we showed our passports and received our bracelets. The bracelets, which are used instead of a sea pass card, have a key fob that is used to wirelessly access our cabin and make onboard purchases. It's great because we don't have to keep track of a card. The check-in process was fast and smooth, and the crew was very friendly and helpful. We boarded the Valiant Lady and went to our cabin.


Here's a photo of the bracelet.


Our Cabin

We were in cabin 8326Z forward. It was a Sea Terrace XL, about 30% larger than a regular Sea Terrace cabin. It's bright, modern, and spacious. The bed, which can be folded into a couch, is comfortable, but not luxuriously so. There is a tabletop that can be used for a desk, a refrigerator, TV, and several stools to sit on. There are no chairs. There is a closet to hang clothes, with drawers and "cubbies" for additional clothes. We had a large suitcase and a carry-on, and both fit in the closet. The bathroom is bright, clean, and modern, and has a fairly large shower stall.



The balcony spans the width of the cabin, and has two chairs, a table, and a comfortable hammock. I sat in the hammock as we watched other cruise ships leave port, and I know I'll be using it a lot.


There are light switches on the walls and we have an iPad that also controls the lights, and is used as the TV remote. There are US-type electrical outlets and USB ports on either side of the bed.


My overall impression of the cabin is I like it, two thumbs up. It's not as large as cabins we had on Silversea or Atlas Ocean Voyages, but probably comparable to Celebrity for the price.


Lunch

We were hungry and went to the Galley on deck 15. The Galley has about 8 restaurant kiosks, like a food court, including sushi, salads, burgers, tacos, noodles, and sandwiches. I think it was designed for walk-up service, but with COVID, a server takes your order at your table and serves you. I had a tasty burger and fries and Shelly had a Greek salad and a bowl of noodles, which she said were OK. The servers were super friendly, which turns out to be common throughout the ship.


Getting Acclimated

We then went to deck 17 and walked each deck to get acclimated. Deck 17 has a running track and yoga space. Deck 16 has an athletic club, chaise lounges, a cafe, and a number of cabanas to enjoy the views of the ocean. Deck 15 has two small pools, a bar, chaise lounges, cabanas, a gym, and the Galley. Decks 8 through 14 are cabins. Deck 7 has a number of restaurants and bars, a coffee shop, and an ice cream shop. Deck 6 has a theater, a nightclub, retail shops, and bars and restaurants. And deck 5 has guest services, restaurants, and a spa.


Unlike many other cruise ships, there is not a main dining venue where you sit at a large table with other couples. The restaurants hosts solo travelers, couples, and groups, and you have your own table, just like a restaurant at home. We made reservations for 4 restaurants, including the Italian Extra Virgin, the Mexican Pink Agave, a steak place named The Wake, and a Korean BBQ named Gunbae.


While the meals at the restaurants are included with the cost of the cruise, drinks, specialty coffees, and ice cream are additional costs. We bought a $300 drink package that included an additional $50. Every time you buy something, the server scans your bracelet key fob. The Virgin app has a wallet that shows your tab.


The capacity of the ship is about 2700 guests and 1100 crew, but we asked and there were only about 800 guests onboard for this cruise. So there will be no problem getting reservations for dining or shows.


We went to deck 15 for the sail-away party at 6:00pm and free champagne was flowing. We were introduced to the cruise host and team. We relaxed in chaise lounges as we set sail and left Miami.


Dinner at Extra Virgin

Our reservation was at 6:45pm and we were seated at our table for two. We enjoyed delicious calamari and braised meatballs for appetizers. Then we shared a portion of fettuccine bolognese, followed by sea bass and a NY strip steak. The sea bass was just OK, but the fettuccine and steak were delicious. Our server, Harris, was excellent. In fact the entire restaurant crew were extremely professional and friendly. An excellent experience.


The Never Sleep Alone Show at The Manor Nightclub

I was a bit apprehensive about seeing this show. From what we heard, it's a frank session on sexuality and sex, with audience participation on stage. An acclaimed sex therapist, Dr. A, hosts, and dispenses a unique brand of interactive and playful advice. The description of the show states that you can be a voyeur and sit at back tables, or be prepared to actively participate at tables near the stage. Shelly was hell-bent on sitting near the stage, so I went along with it. The tables had different colored masks and condoms with the label, "Never Sleep Alone". What did I just get myself into?!?


A band started playing and Dr. A took the stage to a pretty raucous crowd. She actually sang too, and has a good voice. She calmed me when she said it's a safe environment and no one has to do or say anything they are uncomfortable with. She introduced the program and how it is intended to make people more comfortable with sex and sexuality, and broaden horizons.


Both Shelly and I ended up on stage individually in role-playing games with other audience members. It was actually kind of fun, and was quite fun to watch. Everyone was trying to entertain and be funny. For our participation, we each received golden condoms that got us into an after-show introduction with Dr. A. The show was fast-paced, harmless, and great fun, and although I can't say I learned anything, I am glad I watched and participated. By the way, Dr. A told us to turn off our cell phones under penalty of having them taken away (everyone respected this) so there were no videos of photos of the show.





Blackjack in the Casino

Deck 6 has a nice casino with 3 or 4 blackjack tables, craps, a couple roulette tables, and lots of slots. I played a few hands of blackjack and met some nice dealers, including one from Ukraine. There was much discussion about the war from the players. It's a sad situation for these citizens of Ukraine.


The Pajama Party at the Manor Nightclub

At 11:00pm we went to the Manor Nightclub on deck 6 for the pajama party. We had a drink and danced some, and left around 11:45pm. It was time to turn in for the night, Tomorrow is a day at sea and more experiences await!

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