Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! We’re counting down to Valentine’s Day on Monday, the day after the Superbowl this year. Not everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day, but I think it’s a perfect opportunity to express our feelings to those we care about. Hoping some colorful tulips will show up at my door 😊
Whether you have significant other, adult family members, or a friend group with whom you enjoy spending time, I have a fun, new way for you to vacation together. This travel experience is yacht-inspired, adult by design, and very inclusive with excellent food and high quality, contemporary entertainment and activities. I’m speaking from recent personal experience.
If your interest is peaked, and some Vitamin Sea would help you relax and recharge, read on for the scoop…
Introducing Virgin Voyages!
If the name Virgin rings a bell, then you may know that the brand is that of Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur and adventurer. He’s brought his larger-than-life influence and clearly defined style to a new yacht-inspired cruise line that has reinvented traditional ocean cruising in a really good way in my opinion.
I was very fortunate to be invited to sail on one of the early voyages of Virgin’s first ship, The Scarlet Lady, last December. My itinerary was in and out of Miami (very convenient) and sailed for 5 days in the Caribbean. The sea days allowed me to enjoy most of what the ship had to offer as well as a couple of ports of call, Cozumel/Riviera Maya in Mexico and Bimini in the Bahamas. If you missed the newsletter that covered my experience in Mexico, you can read it here: https://hiddengemtravelconsulting.com/do-you-know-what-a-cenote-is/
Note the boarding protocols are strict with Virgin Voyages. Not only do Sailors (Virgin’s cheeky name for passengers) need to be fully vaccinated but also take a rapid test at the port right outside of the ship (and test negative for covid). Boarding is a celebration – be prepared to smile from ear to ear with a glass of bubbly!
Who Will ❤️ This Vacation & Why I Did
Branson is in his 70s, but his style appeals to adults of all ages. Virgin Voyages is a great fit for your vacation if you enjoy:
- Yacht-style on a ship with a maximum capacity under 3K passengers (mid-sized)
- A modern take on the traditional
- If you’re a foodie and/or lover of mixology (a Michelin-star chef collective was in charge of creating the magic)
- Enjoy high-quality music (rock, jazz, Virgin Records artists) and entertainment (unique and edgy)
- Like keeping fit while on vacation (from yoga to cross-fit)
- Comfortable with technology (using an App on your smartphone)
- Looking for an adults-only environment and a vibrant social experience
- Prefer a balance of time relaxing with ship offered programs
In my traveling group, we all loved the overall vibe, innovative design, food options and quality, variety of music experiences, and seemingly endless unique places on the ship to hang out and relax. I had every intention of taking a yoga class or jumping on a treadmill overlooking the ocean but only had time to observe others enjoying the many wellbeing offerings. It was a working vacation, so I needed to spend time with my laptop in my comfortable and transformable Sea Terrace cabin. The Wi-Fi was included and connectivity was quite good on my voyage. The best part of working in my cabin was that when it was time to take a break from my laptop, I went out on my balcony and had a swing on my red hammock overlooking the cerulean blue ocean!
Highlights From My Trip
My husband and I and two other couples had a fantastic time on this cruise! I would go again in a minute with a group of girlfriends or another group of couples or just the two of us. We met a small group of men from our home county who were enjoying a guys’ trip.
There were too many highlights to fit in this newsletter, but if I had to pick three, they would be:
* Evening/Dinner Time: The restaurants, specialty eateries, and bars are fantastic and varied, and this has been my criticism of some of the other cruises I’ve been on. The food offerings on Virgin Voyages are similar to going out to a high-quality, local restaurant and the same goes for the cocktails. We had so much fun at a Gunbae, the Korean BBQ, small group grilling restaurant where we got to know four other Sailors while playing games and watching our food being grilled by an engaging host. We chose to eat with people we hadn’t yet met but you can enjoy with your traveling companions. We also loved having a pre-dinner cocktail while listening to excellent jazz music and enjoyed more live music after dinner. ‘Scarlet Night’ was a blast with live performances around the ship with surprises around many a corner.
*Exploring The ‘Adult Playground’ Onboard: For a medium-sized ship, there seems to be an endless amount of thoughtfully designed places to sit and relax. From private cabanas that can be reserved to yacht-inspired loungers at the back of the ship (the best at sunset!), you could spend a day roaming around enjoying a different view both inside and outside. If you love a swing, there are a few options: the hammock on your balcony, the big net circle swings outside of one of the fitness rooms, and the traditional swings inside the ship before the entrance to an adult playroom. I also had a daily walk on the track found at the top of the ship, so my steps were incredibly high despite not hitting the gym! It’s all about a playfulness that we as adults don’t often encounter in our daily lives.
*The Unexpected: Because Virgin Voyages is truly a new concept for ocean cruising, unexpected and delightful experiences occur frequently. For example, the Virgin Voyages private beach club in Bimini, The Bahamas is as well designed as the ship, and the beach is soft white sand. Hidden Gem Tip – make sure you’re there for the sunset experience. There are three, stunning orbs along the beach that are set afire by a traveling group of musicians while the sun sets. It’s hard to describe in words, but it was a special experience to witness. Many of the Sailors/passengers not in the know went back to the ship before sunset and missed this unexpected, delightful event.
Irresistible Offer – Time Sensitive
Beyond the great introductory rates, there’s a no-brainer flexible booking policy in place right now. If you book by March 31, 2022, you’ll be able to cancel up to 48 hours prior to your sailing and receive full credit. This policy applies to sailings through October 23, 2022. Available itineraries are in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Transatlantic. Let me know which appeals to you and schedule a call to get more details and perks when you book through Hidden Gem Travel.
One more thing – here’s an accolade so you don’t have to just go by my experience. Cruise Critic selected this line for the Best New Cruise Ship in 2021!
Why not experience Virgin Voyages with the friends you watched the Super Bowl with this year?!!
Inspired? If you’re thinking about a Vitamin Sea vacation in 2022 or 2023, here’s the link to schedule a chat with me www.hiddengemtravelconsulting.com/contact
Wishing you and your family continued good health,