Cruising During the Pandemic-What You Need to Know Now
By Beth Pesakoff
Last week, I had an extraordinary experience aboard Virgin Voyage’s Scarlet Lady.
Scarlet Lady is an ADULTS ONLY cruise ship that’s owned by Richard Branson (think Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, etc.) and it’s new, fun, sexy and exciting.
Virgin Voyages ran a giveaway last year called a “Shipload of Love” (yes, it’s Virgin’s way to make a play on words). They gave away 1,000 cruises to people living in the United States, Canada and the U.K. – specifically people who were unsung heroes of the pandemic.
I nominated my dear friend, Victoria. She’s a schoolteacher and has been extremely careful during the shutdown. To our surprise, she won! She decided it best to wait 9 months to cruise believing that everything would be back to normal in January 2022. HA! Little did we know. Flash forward to January 2022 and Omicron.
After much debate and deliberation, we decided to move forward with the original cruise dates of January 26th-31st and I am so glad we did! Scarlet Lady has a 2770 passenger capacity. On our voyage, 517 passengers were on board. Think about that for a minute… the ship was at less than 1/4 of her capacity. We had 2.5 crew members per person on board.
The service was excellent! And the crew… they went so far above and beyond what was required. I never saw a crew member without a mask on, the ship was spotless. Flawless. Their attention to Covid-19 protocol went a long way in making us, and the rest of the guests, feel comfortable.
In order to board the ship, all passengers must be vaccinated and show proof of vaccination at the port. Everyone must have a rapid Covid test before boarding as well. Once you receive your test, you're ushered into a waiting area (since we booked a Rockstar Suite, we had complimentary snacks and drinks) to await the results. This process took about an hour and once we were cleared, getting aboard the ship was seamless. I found the entire process low stress and smoothly executed. From landing at the Miami airport to boarding the ship the process took less than 2 hours.
Once aboard the Scarlet Lady, we were well cared for every step of the way.
My favorite things were the entertainment (especially the wonderfully talented @tamarbroadbent), the food (no buffets here!), the Rockstar suites (full bar included), the crew and the vibe. Basically, everything. 😊 The average age on this line is 50 years old. I was skeptical when hearing that, however, after experiencing it firsthand, it’s true. VV touts the line as a cruise for people that don’t like cruising, so you get a different clientele and vibe than your average cruise ship. I experienced a young at heart, fun, cool, hip and artistic crowd.
There's so many activities on board! Days out at sea can be spent taking a yoga class or having afternoon tea to getting a tattoo or experiencing a new whisky and cigar. (You may want to have the whisky first, then go get that cigar, lol) There’s definitely something for everyone. It would be a great experience for an anniversary trip, a girl’s trip, or even a multigenerational family trip. Your 75-year-old grandma and 23 year old granddaughter would equally enjoy.
The ship itself is gorgeous: fresh, new and modern in design.
I wish I could describe the lovely smell that wafting throughout the ship. It’s intoxicating and delicious. When I looked further into it, I discovered it’s their signature scent called Ship No. 1 and it was created by Air Aroma exclusively for VV. It's bottled as a room spray and all net proceeds will be donated to Ocean Unite, which aims to safeguard at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. Brilliant, I say!
Oh Richard, I love your sense of humor.
If you don’t think you will like cruising or are a first-time cruiser looking to dip your toe in the waters, Virgin Voyages may be the cruise line for you. Being married to the former and the latter, I have taken the plunge and booked us on a 4-night cruise out of Miami next December. I received a 10% off early bird bonus and 20% off all voyage’s promo that is currently running. With Wi-Fi, food and tips included, it makes for an exclusive, fun, and affordable getaway!
Interested? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.