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Just got off from a week as a Mega Rockstar - taking questions


chloe173
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Well, we are quite regrettably sitting in the Miami airport waiting for a flight to take us back to a place that is currently 27 degrees and icy. Le Sigh.

 

Overall, this was an amazing cruise and we really enjoyed it. But, Virgin still has a few kinks to work out and I really question what the experience will be like when they're at full capacity. We were Mega Rockstars, sailing in cabin 15275A (Gorgeous Suite). Happy to answer any questions, and I'll followup with my impressions in subsequent posts.

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First off, a little about us, as that might help color the review. I am a 38-yo and was sailing with my 39-yo husband. We do not have nor want children. We are both career professionals, so DINKS. Essentially, we are exactly the target market for the Virgin product. 

This is our sixth cruise overall, and you can see our previous voyages in my signature. We originally booked for late 2020 when Virgin rolled out the "if we cancel on you, we'll double your money that you've already paid" guarantee, assuming that the CDC would not allow sailing before the end of the year. 

Our gamble paid off, and we were able to upgrade for free from a Sweet Aft Suite (just rockstar) to a Gorgeous Suite (mega rockstar) when they doubled our credit and we pushed out to February. We also got $300 in sailor loot.

 

We also had friends onboard who did the same, they sailed in the Posh Suite.

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First, the leadup to the cruise - We got our sea bands about a month out, were able to book shore excursions and dinners in the app in advance as promised. Only kink was that it never let us fully complete the hubby's pre-sailing tasks, because it wouldn't "accept" his returning flight info for some reason. But it didn't actually matter.

 

We also were prompted a couple weeks out to book our private transfers to & from the ship. This process needs some work. First of all, when they ask you to arrange the transfer, you just fill out this form in the app, and it never sends you any sort of copy of it for your records. You just get a note back from Sailor Services that a transfer has been arranged, so if you forget what time you said, there's no way to remind yourself.  Secondly, they don't give you any advice about what time you're going to be able to get on or off the ship at the time you schedule the transfer, so if I hadn't done my research, I wouldn't have really known what to pick. 

But then, I really would have liked to get a confirmation a day or so beforehand with information on what driver would be picking me up, where, how to contact him, and/or who to contact at Virgin if something went wrong. 

Because something did go wrong. We chose the AC Hotel Miami Brickell for our pre-cruise night. It had just opened a month ago. So it wasn't in all the map apps yet. So Virgin sent our driver to the AC Hotel Miami Biscayne instead, assuming we gave them the wrong address. (We didn't.) So we had an additional 35 minute wait while the driver got over to the correct hotel. This could have all been easily remedied by sending a confirmation once a driver had been assigned.

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Next up: embarkation. 

 

Originally, we were supposed to be the first cruise to do both testing and embarkation in the new Virgin terminal. But we got a notification the night before that testing would actually still be in Terminal G, then boarding in Terminal V.

 

It was clear as soon as we arrived at the port around 12:45p that there were some issues going on. Testing is supposed to start as early as 11. But no one - not rockstars, not those who had chosen early boarding groups, etc, was even allowed into Terminal G until 12:50. So by this point there were huge backed up lines waiting outside that they had to try to get through. 

Rockstars and Mega Rockstars were all in one line, but because they were so backed up, the line curved around all the way down the sidewalk and there wasn't good signage - the rockstar signage was up at the very front. And there was definitely no ability to socially distance in line.

 

Moreover, when they finally let us in, the crew kept arguing about which "lane" we were supposed to be standing in - one person saying we were standing in the wheelchair line, while the other person kept insisting it didn't matter which lane we were in because we were rock stars. This was our first glimpse at what I'll call Virgin's biggest flaw - they give you too much of a glimpse into "how the sausage is made". We witnessed numerous crew members arguing with each other, confused, showing up late for things, etc. It made it look like effort, when it should have looked effortless. 

 

Anyhoo, we finally made it through testing, did the 15 minute wait for results (stressful, but necessary) and then went through the metal detectors. Interestingly, we brought on two bottles of wine, and no one ever even commented about it. No one ever checked our water bottles to make sure those weren't alcohol filled either. It seemed a pretty lax security screening, but then, we weren't trying to hide anything.

 

Up next, we went to the upstairs "rockstar" waiting area in Terminal V - only to find that because all the rockstars had come in in a huge clump, by 1:40 or so when we finally made it up there, there was no remaining seating in this area. We asked if we could go into the main seating area in order to just have a place to sit, and were told no. So we just awkwardly stood around for a while, until they started letting people onboard at 1:50.

 

At 1:50, we went on and were escorted to the upstairs part of The Manor for free champagne. But what I was focused on at that part was booking our shows, exercise classes, and other "only bookable onboard" appointments. And I had heard that there would be people in the Manor who could help with that, but that's only for Rockstars. If you're a Mega Rockstar, your roadie is supposed to do it for you, I guess. But I already knew what I wanted, and was particularly nervous that the Bungee Aerobics class would fill up, and so wanted to do it myself right then. But no one would help us, and kept just telling us to ask our roadie when we met them. Eventually, I figured it out and booked the bungee class, but with no help from the welcome crew.

 

After this, we headed up to our room, where our luggage was already waiting for us. Our roadie has also put a bottle of Moet in our room to welcome us to the ship, which was very nice of her. She stopped by a few minutes later and made sure we had everything we needed. She also suggested that because we said we liked cocktails, we might like to have a private mixology class with the beverage director onboard, Rick. She set that in-suite class up for us the next day, which was great. We also handed off to her a bag of laundry for fresh pressing, since mega rockstars get free laundry services. The laundry was back in our room a day later, which was great and also made unpacking easier since it all came back on hangers or nicely folded (whichever we specified.)

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Next topic: the room. 

Our gorgeous suite was just that, gorgeous. Very spacious. The bed was comfortable enough, a very firm mattress and nice fluffy pillows that did not collapse. My hubby thought the mattress was a bit too firm, and did mention that if he slept on his side, his arm would fall asleep. But overall, not bad.

 

The shower was good, except I'm apparently the one person on the planet that doesn't love a rainfall shower. (I don't want to have to straighten my hair every day!) But I was able to just use the wand instead, and it was fine. Good pressure, good water temperature. We weren't bothered by the "peekaboo" shower window, though I know some people are. The hairdryer wasn't super powerful, but worked ok. The products (full-size bottles) in our shower were ok; I felt like my hair was a little dryer than normal after using their stuff all week, but not too bad. We had the black hand soap.

 

The seating area was nice, especially when we ordered room service. And the balcony was humongous. I really appreciated the hammock, my 6'5" hubby said it wasn't as comfortable for him, so maybe not as great if you're super tall.

 

The tv tilted out from the wall, which was great for the one movie we watched in the room. And we had fully stocked everything in our bar, which was hardly necessary given that we got free drinks ship-wide. We actually didn't open a single thing from the in-room bar. The turntable was a little gimmicky - we tried two different records on it and both skipped like crazy. Clearly more of a concept than a functional item, lol. 

So, all in all, a very nice room - EXCEPT. Omg the noise. Our room was the closest to the pool deck, and it was LOUD. On Scarlet Night, when the pool was especially bumping, our room was basically uninhabitable. There would have been no sleeping whatsoever. Any other time, the bumping bass was at a level we were able to sleep through, but we could definitely still hear it. If you are a particularly light sleeper, you will not like this room. And on one night, the music went literally all night. Around 7am, it finally stopped. We think they maybe just forgot to turn it off one night?

 

Also around 7:30am each day, they re-arranged the chairs in the Sun Club Cafe just above us, which was enough to wake us up every single day. 

 

Finally, the motion. I was very surprised how much movement we felt on the ship, though the crew did mention we had particularly rough seas the first couple days. It was more motion than I'd ever experienced on another cruise. If you're motion sick, proceed with caution before booking mega rockstars quarters, which are only available at the very top and very fore of the ship.

 

I know storage has been a hot topic. We would have liked more drawers as well, but we made due just by hanging everything up (may not be an option in normal rooms if you don't have that many hangers). Was able to store our full size suitcases under the bed without issue. 

 

Housekeeping was great. Came twice a day, usually. The first couple of nights, either housekeeping or our roadie, not sure which, left us snacks - gummie bears, brownies, etc, at turn down service. But (maybe noticing me usually only had a couple bites or whatever they left us?) didn't leave us anything the last two nights.

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Next topic: food.

This is - hands down - the best cruise food we've ever had. That being said, we're still used to eating at much better restaurants on land. I enjoyed almost everything I had, but wouldn't write home about it either. 

 

The Wake - we ate here the first night, and had an amazing waiter - really good service here (forget his name, but he was from the Netherlands). The Salt-Crusted Dorade was excellent - probably my favorite dish on the ship. The rest of the food was ok, not noteworthy. When we went back for breakfast, we tried the Wake Benedict (skippable) and the French Toast (good). 

 

Pink Agave - we are from Texas, so pretty particular about our Mexican food. This was definitely acceptable. We tried all of the small and medium plates (we were a table of four) and our favorites were the shrimp and the guacamole. I had the cochinita pibil, and the hubby had the duck. They were ok - it was almost like they had taken the traditional flavors in the sauces on both of these and just "toned them down" for a more general audience? Nothing was spicy whatsoever. But nothing was bad either. 

 

Test Kitchen - really interesting and good food. We liked pretty much everything here, especially the "controversial" cheese course. The dessert was probably our least favorite course. We did the wine pairings, and those do cost extra, even if you're a Mega Rockstar. The wine pairings were ok; not the best pairings I've ever had, but each things was suitable for what it was paired with. One of our dinner mates had the cocktail pairing instead, and he said they were all really good, but fair warning that he was pretty tipsy by the end! 🙂 Also, they did offer us a complimentary tour of the restaurant and the kitchens as Megas. So that was cool. Got to see how some specific items were made. 

 

Extra Virgin - Food here was all  pretty good. The bread was our favorite. Good appetziers as well (we had the meatballs, the artichoke, and the chicken liver and liked all of them.) The pasta was nothing to write home about; we tried the ragu and the gnocchi and the gnocchi was the better of the two. And then I had the Sea Bass (very well cooked and tasty) and the hubby had the steak (he really liked the spicy butter on it.) The only weird thing about this place was the service. The waitress was maybe new-ish and like could not figure out how to deal with the fact that we had brought in our own bottle of wine. Having already done this same thing in The Wake previously, we explained to her that we knew we needed to pay corkage, but she was just flummoxed by the whole thing. Took bringing the sommelier over to sort it out. 

 

Razzle Dazzle - our least favorite by a mile. Ate here for both dinner and breakfast and both were underwhelming, but breakfast was the better of the two. I had the avocado toast for breakfast, and it was fine but preferred the Galley's avo toast. Very, very weak coffee at breakfast though. Hubby had the Razzle breakfast and thought it was fine, but also hard to screw up. (eggs, toast, bacon.) The fairy toast was oddly plain - literally just white bread with sprinkles, no other flavor profile. But for dinner, it was all pretty screwed up. 2 out of 3 courses came out cold. We could see our two servers arguing with each other throughout the meal - they clearly didn't like working together. Drinks took forever. And there was a really long pause between the main course and the desserts, which is probably why the churros were cold by the time they got to us. 

 

The Dock - tried just about everything here and it was all good. I like the muhamarra dip best, but it did give me heartburn, lol. Thought the steak was the best of the skewers, with the shrimp a close second. Chicken wasn't super flavorful, octopus was a little chewy. 

 

Galley - did grab and go a couple times, which was convenient. Otherwise, got a bento box and it was like, Whole Foods quality - not bad by any means, but also not as good as most sushi restaurants. And we did breakfast here one day; I got the avocado toast & the chorizo burrito and then sort of combined them. The hubby got the diner breakfast and liked it. Never tried the ramen, the burgers, etc. We tried some of the desserts and they were ok-to-good. The "scarlet lady" cake dessert was underwhelming, the others we tried were better.

 

Social Club - hubby had a philly hot dog the first day and thought it was good but said he probably would've preferred the plain hot dog better.

 

Pizza Place - tasty pizza, no complaints here. Had it for lunch one day, and then late night on our last night. Enjoyed it both times.

 

Sun Club Cafe - these were tasty, just small. Order two (or even three) if you plan to make a meal out of it.

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53 minutes ago, chloe173 said:

Next topic: food.

This is - hands down - the best cruise food we've ever had. That being said, we're still used to eating at much better restaurants on land. I enjoyed almost everything I had, but wouldn't write home about it either. 

 

The Wake - we ate here the first night, and had an amazing waiter - really good service here (forget his name, but he was from the Netherlands). The Salt-Crusted Dorade was excellent - probably my favorite dish on the ship. The rest of the food was ok, not noteworthy. When we went back for breakfast, we tried the Wake Benedict (skippable) and the French Toast (good). 

 

Pink Agave - we are from Texas, so pretty particular about our Mexican food. This was definitely acceptable. We tried all of the small and medium plates (we were a table of four) and our favorites were the shrimp and the guacamole. I had the cochinita pibil, and the hubby had the duck. They were ok - it was almost like they had taken the traditional flavors in the sauces on both of these and just "toned them down" for a more general audience? Nothing was spicy whatsoever. But nothing was bad either. 

 

Test Kitchen - really interesting and good food. We liked pretty much everything here, especially the "controversial" cheese course. The dessert was probably our least favorite course. We did the wine pairings, and those do cost extra, even if you're a Mega Rockstar. The wine pairings were ok; not the best pairings I've ever had, but each things was suitable for what it was paired with. One of our dinner mates had the cocktail pairing instead, and he said they were all really good, but fair warning that he was pretty tipsy by the end! 🙂 Also, they did offer us a complimentary tour of the restaurant and the kitchens as Megas. So that was cool. Got to see how some specific items were made. 

 

Extra Virgin - Food here was all  pretty good. The bread was our favorite. Good appetziers as well (we had the meatballs, the artichoke, and the chicken liver and liked all of them.) The pasta was nothing to write home about; we tried the ragu and the gnocchi and the gnocchi was the better of the two. And then I had the Sea Bass (very well cooked and tasty) and the hubby had the steak (he really liked the spicy butter on it.) The only weird thing about this place was the service. The waitress was maybe new-ish and like could not figure out how to deal with the fact that we had brought in our own bottle of wine. Having already done this same thing in The Wake previously, we explained to her that we knew we needed to pay corkage, but she was just flummoxed by the whole thing. Took bringing the sommelier over to sort it out. 

 

Razzle Dazzle - our least favorite by a mile. Ate here for both dinner and breakfast and both were underwhelming, but breakfast was the better of the two. I had the avocado toast for breakfast, and it was fine but preferred the Galley's avo toast. Very, very weak coffee at breakfast though. Hubby had the Razzle breakfast and thought it was fine, but also hard to screw up. (eggs, toast, bacon.) The fairy toast was oddly plain - literally just white bread with sprinkles, no other flavor profile. But for dinner, it was all pretty screwed up. 2 out of 3 courses came out cold. We could see our two servers arguing with each other throughout the meal - they clearly didn't like working together. Drinks took forever. And there was a really long pause between the main course and the desserts, which is probably why the churros were cold by the time they got to us. 

 

The Dock - tried just about everything here and it was all good. I like the muhamarra dip best, but it did give me heartburn, lol. Thought the steak was the best of the skewers, with the shrimp a close second. Chicken wasn't super flavorful, octopus was a little chewy. 

 

Galley - did grab and go a couple times, which was convenient. Otherwise, got a bento box and it was like, Whole Foods quality - not bad by any means, but also not as good as most sushi restaurants. And we did breakfast here one day; I got the avocado toast & the chorizo burrito and then sort of combined them. The hubby got the diner breakfast and liked it. Never tried the ramen, the burgers, etc. We tried some of the desserts and they were ok-to-good. The "scarlet lady" cake dessert was underwhelming, the others we tried were better.

 

Social Club - hubby had a philly hot dog the first day and thought it was good but said he probably would've preferred the plain hot dog better.

 

Pizza Place - tasty pizza, no complaints here. Had it for lunch one day, and then late night on our last night. Enjoyed it both times.

 

Sun Club Cafe - these were tasty, just small. Order two (or even three) if you plan to make a meal out of it.

 

Totally agree with the food reviews- not sure why Razzle Dazzle gets so much attention. I'm not a foodie so for me Virgin is some of the best food ever!

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@chloe173  - fantastic and very informative - 

 

-Would love to hear all about Richards Rooftop - 

-I also hear that Mega Rockstars seem to have the best seating at the Dining Options, did you find that?

-In the suite, did they bring Lemons/Limes for mixers, any chance of Bitter Lemon, - Hoping also for Triple Sec and cranberry to make cosmos.....

 

We are going to be on an 11 Night cruise and can't wait....  thank you for posting all these details?

 

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6 hours ago, chloe173 said:

She also suggested that because we said we liked cocktails, we might like to have a private mixology class with the beverage director onboard, Rick. She set that in-suite class up for us the next day, which was great.

Was that complimentary?  We were regular rockstars in dec and did the shot for shot class w/ rick.  He was awesome!  We're going as megas back to back in june/july this year and are starting to brainstorm ideas for what to ask our roadie for.

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1 hour ago, marcoigna said:

 

-Would love to hear all about Richards Rooftop

We were on what seems like the highest capacity US sailing (~1,600-1,700).  Seating at the pool wasn't super difficult, but it was loud and crowded at times.  We went up to the rooftop on sea days for some peace and quiet and just went down the stairs whenever we wanted to take a dip in the pool. 

 

People have complained that it's "dead" up there, but I really enjoyed being able to read a book and get some sun without hearing people blabbing all around me.

 

More relevant for regular rockstars, but they have free moet every night and they seem to not care how much you take - we spent one evening in the hot tub, and one of the bartenders kept topping us off; other nights they sent us off with a couple full glasses each.

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We were on the same cruise sailing as you were but were in an XL Terrace on deck 8.  I agree with your observations on the check in process.  We arrived around 2:30 and there were only a dozen or so passengers going through the testing/on-boarding process then, and it was still a mess: no signage, no direction, conflicting instructions and directions - really poorly done.  The disembarkation process was even worse: we had to leave early (7:30) and were among the first group to depart this morning.  Everything was reasonably OK until we exited the terminal and there were NO ground transportation services to be found and no one out there seemed to know what was going on; even worse, they seemed surprised that people were coming out looking for transport.  Ended up waiting almost 15 minutes to get a cab to the airport.

 

The cruise itself was fine - service was great, food offerings excellent, the ship is awesome.  Lots of good to say about our experience.  But Virgin has a LOT of work to do on their administrative processes to move into the "truly outstanding" category.

 

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3 hours ago, marcoigna said:

-Would love to hear all about Richards Rooftop - 

-I also hear that Mega Rockstars seem to have the best seating at the Dining Options, did you find that?

-In the suite, did they bring Lemons/Limes for mixers, any chance of Bitter Lemon, - Hoping also for Triple Sec and cranberry to make cosmos.....

 

Richard's Rooftop was ok - it's a pretty large area, at the very front of the boat, so it's a great view but it can be very windy. There is a daily champagne reception for all rock stars (regular and mega) daily between 5:30p and 6:30p. We only went to that the first day, since we didn't "need" to as we could get champagne anywhere. Was nice to meet some other people though, and the servers there are very nice. There are also two hot tubs up there, which were almost always available.

 

As for the best seating...I think the only place that seating would really matter would be The Wake. We were not right by the windows on our first night, despite being a table of four mega rockstars, so I would say no, doesn't really affect seating. We did have a table by the windows at brunch, though. May have all just been coincidence, I think? Where we DID have excellent seating was at Never Sleep Alone, right next to the stage...that also meant that we were fair game for being called up on stage, which we were fine with, but shy people may want to beware of that lol.

 

I think for the in-room bar, your roadie would definitely 100% bring you lemons/limes if asked, but thinking you're more likely to get pre-cut slices from the bar rather than whole lemons/limes...as I doubt they would want to bring you a knife and cutting board. I didn't specifically see bitter lemon, but if you ask for it, they're just going to go ask Rick anyways, and he would definitely know if they have it and provide it if they did. Triple sec and cranberry should be no problem. Our friends asked for a bottle of Malibu and got it, and then after that were always well-stocked with juices that went well with Malibu as well. 

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2 hours ago, _tacocat_ said:

Was that complimentary?  We were regular rockstars in dec and did the shot for shot class w/ rick.  He was awesome!  We're going as megas back to back in june/july this year and are starting to brainstorm ideas for what to ask our roadie for.

It was complimentary, though we tipped Rick and Mimi well. (We realize tipping not required, but as they went out of their way, we felt it was warranted.)

 

Based on what I heard, most megas got like 1-2 "special" things that were complimentary. For example, we got the cocktail class, and also were given a tour at the Test Kitchen. The folks in the massive suite through a 40-person party in their suite that was fully stocked with food & drinks, or so we heard. We know one other set of Megas that got invited to do a private tour of the bridge. 

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Next topic: entertainment. We liked the "formal"  shows ok, but thought the non-formal shows were better.

  • Untitleddancepartyshowthing was very high energy and interesting and probably would have been our favorite until we got "scolded" for dancing too much, lol. Everyone else sort of stood around awkwardly just watching it, and I guess that's what they wanted you to do even though they told you to dance. 
  • Ships in the Night was really well done, excellent performers, though I kinda lost the thread of the plot at some point. 
  • And Duel Reality...personally I found this one pretty "meh". While the performers are undoubtedly talented, if you've ever seen a Cirque du Soleil show, you've seen this format done better and with more interesting story/music/costuming to go with it.
  • Never Sleep Alone - this one was ok. In my opinion, it's the closest to the type of entertainment you usually see on other ships e.g. Newlywed/Not So Newlywed game where the intention is to make some good-natured audience participants do awkward or mildly embarassing things. This one just had curse words in it and the theme was sex. Some folks clearly hated this and we saw them get up and walk out during it...I will say if talking about sex or curse words in public offends you...Virgin probably isn't the line for you. 

We also really liked the short term contract performers - the band East of June was on our sailing, the one before ours, and the one after, and they were great. (Former members of Incubus and Hoobstank in the band, for you fellow 90s fans...) And there was a guitarist/beat boxer named Matthew Lennox on our ship who was really talented and super friendly.

 

But let's talk about the current Diva!!! Wesley is an AMAZING drag performer, and she doesn't just lipsync, she's an amazing singer too. I was incredibly impressed, and thought her show was the absolute best entertainment on the ship. I would have happily paid $50/ticket to see that quality of show here at home.  And she doesn't just do one show - she also hosted bingo and karaoke onboard. 

 

Michie (the current Hostess) has a couple good shows as well and Diego the Charmer (e.g. onboard magician) has some nice sleight of hand as well. We caught the very first performance by The Unicorn, she also has a very nice voice, but not a ton of performance in her set...it was her first one though, so she may have just been nervous. Sort of a lounge singer style.


We also went to trivia once (fun, RJ the gamer is super nice), went to Scoop There It Is (utterly skippable), Myth of Scarlet Night (really weird...they do this about 5 times, and we heard some of the versions of this were really interesting and funny....ours was just 5 minutes of "this is what scarlet night means, now carry on with your day"), and Stargazers (nice, very low key).

 

Things tended to be a little dead in the afternoon, when most people were at the pool or out on excursions. We tended to take naps in the afternoon, or used the time to watch a movie in the cabin, so this was fine by us, but I think this must be what people who say "there isn't enough entertainment" must be talking about.

 

Overall, we were thoroughly entertained and never for want of something to do.

 

The one "knock" on the entertainment staff we experienced was around bingo. We were planning on going to the Bingo with the Diva, but apparently you had to buy your bingo cards in advance, which we didn't realize. The show was starting at 11, and we got down to the theater at 10:46, and they told us sales were already over (even though they still had cards right in front of them and could clearly have easily sold us some) and that we couldn't watch the show without a card. Very un-accomodating, and no reason for this - usually all other lines have sold bingo cards right up until the start of the show. We probably could have gone all Karen on them and demanded that we be let in as mega rockstars or gotten our roadie involved, but we didn't care about it enough so we just left and walked around the ship instead.

 

 

Edited by chloe173
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We were on this cruise as well and had an awesome time.  We had a Rockstar suite on deck 14.  Really liked the food (The Wake, Pink Agave and Extra Virgin were favorites).  Loved getting pizza for lunch and the French toast in The Galley was great.  Test Kitchen was cool experience but the food was not our favorite.  Getting on the ship was definitely clunky.  We were supposed to board around 1pm then got in the long line, then we’re told we could go in a separate line for Rockstars but weren’t sure where the line was.  All in all it wasn’t a big deal - probably wasted 20 minutes.  Disembarkation was a breeze - we stayed on until 10am.  
 

We thought the service was outstanding.  Everyone was so friendly.  All the servers and staff I talked with had worked on other lines previously but were very happy to be working on Virgin and I think that showed.  
 

Enjoyed the exercise classes although they might consider some varying levels and more outside classes.  The exercise equipment is top notch and the running track is nice.  
 

Ok so as mentioned above the music at night was a big issue for us.  My wife and I like to have a good time, we like music and we thoroughly enjoyed Scarlett Night, the DJ in the Manor and listening to music poolside during the day.  But please Virgin Voyages - turn the music off at night!  The bass was vibrating in our room.  I’m not a light sleeper but this made it tough to sleep.  In particular there was one night that it was extremely noticeable.  I’m not sure I’d stay that close to the pool again unless I know that this is remedied.  
 

Anyways, it was an awesome trip.  They have some kinks to work out but I think they are things they will get a handle on.  And please turn the music off after say 2am!!!  I’m definitely excited to book again.  

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Next topic: services

 

Spa - We didn't get any services at the Spa, but we did go down to try out our daily spa access as megas. Overall, we thought the spa was pretty lacking, especially compared to our last cruise's spa (Norwegian's thermal suites, which are awesome). The sauna/steam room/salt room are all good. But the whirlpools were really lacking - one 8 or so person whirlpool that wasn't even very hot - we called it a "tepid tub" and then three 1-person-at-a-time dunk pools (one slightly warmer than the whirlpool, and two very cold). Plus, the heated seating area is just hard marble - it's not contoured at all, so while it's nice they're heated, after a while you do get tired of laying on a hard rock. The mud thing was just confusing. They give you a little cup of mud when you go in, but there's no mirror or anywhere to apply it, and the actual mud room was like the steam room on steroids - it was SO hot and steamy in that room that I actually walked in, felt like I couldn't breathe, and immediately left. I ended up putting my mud on using my phone as a mirror in the salt room, and then just washed it off a bit later with the showers. 

 

Salon/grooming - I sent the hubby to get a straight razor shave and hair cut the first chance he could, as he was looking a bit mountain-man-ish. Unfortunately, they don't open Stubble and Groom until the second day, embarkation day it's reserved just for crew members to get haircuts. The hubby says the treatment was nice and relaxing, but it took 2 full hours, and he doesn't really understand why...was expecting it to be about 45 minutes. I also stopped by Mac at one point and asked for some lipstick tips for under a mask, and had a nice chat with the girls there...didn't feel overly pressured into buying anything which was great. 

Casino - no getting around this, it's small. We only played about $100 in the slots, and that was enough to try every single type of slots game they had. Dealers seemed friendly enough but we only did a single bet on a table game - and promptly lost, lol. We played in the Slot Tournament which is always silly fun. One pro-tip if you like domestic light beer - the casino bar has Miller Light! Only place you can find it on the ship. Or as the hubby likes to call it "The Beer That Hydrates".

 

Shops - good selection of stuff onboard, and no hard sells. One pro-tip is that there is one of those claw machines right outside the Social Club for little stress balls that say "Ahoy". It's $2 to play. But I'm actually pretty decent at those and so tried it and I won! And you get to redeem your ball for a special item in the Virgin shop downstairs. So I traded my $2 ball for a $35 tote bag! This was a lot of fun. 

 

Arcade - fun to try these out and the hubby liked that it was "infinite" play so you couldnt' really die. Would have liked to see Galaga and Paperboy in the mix, but they did have Mortal Kombat and Golden Tee, so I thought it was fun.

 

Bimini - we got a private golf cart ride over to the Beach Club, which was neat. We had also rented a rock star cabana, which we enjoyed but was not super "needed" as others have pointed out. The Beach Club is gorgeous. Water was a little cold, but hey, it was still February so not going to complain. Happenings staff did a good job keeping the float party fun, and our cabana attendants were friendly and helpful. 

 

 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Taylor2018 said:

Ok so as mentioned above the music at night was a big issue for us.  My wife and I like to have a good time, we like music and we thoroughly enjoyed Scarlett Night, the DJ in the Manor and listening to music poolside during the day.  But please Virgin Voyages - turn the music off at night!  The bass was vibrating in our room.  I’m not a light sleeper but this made it tough to sleep.  In particular there was one night that it was extremely noticeable.  I’m not sure I’d stay that close to the pool again unless I know that this is remedied.  

 

See above comment about the folks in the Massive Suite throwing an all-night party one night. I think that was the issue with that one night where the music literally went on and one until 7am. But 100% agree with you.

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Thank you so much for these details....They have been so hard to come by from Virgin! Cruising with Virgin for the first time in July - and My wife and I are in the EXACT same room as you, so the feedback is great! I have been so worried about the transfer process, bookings, and just the general communications being lacking or glitchy. Glad to know I am not doing anything wrong!

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19 hours ago, chloe173 said:

It was complimentary, though we tipped Rick and Mimi well. (We realize tipping not required, but as they went out of their way, we felt it was warranted.)

 

Based on what I heard, most megas got like 1-2 "special" things that were complimentary. For example, we got the cocktail class, and also were given a tour at the Test Kitchen. The folks in the massive suite through a 40-person party in their suite that was fully stocked with food & drinks, or so we heard. We know one other set of Megas that got invited to do a private tour of the bridge. 

Was it a large group on the ship with the party? What kind of group was it? Just curious what types of groups they get on the ship…
 

also really appreciate your detailed review! Thank you for taking the time.

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I don't know who was in the massive, heard about the party from another Sailor, and it explained the all-night bass we heard one night.

 

There was a group of around 30-40 on the ship that all seemed to know each other (so I would assume it was them in the Massive, but I don't know), and I did see one smaller group of about 8 who appeared to be celebrating a birthday or bachelorette or something who wore coordinated outfits several times, but I didn't see any other "organized" groups. Most folks seemed to be either singles, couples, or small groups of friends. Thankfully didn't see any of the tacky t-shirts you often see for groups on other lines, lol.

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Thanks for the thorough review and the tips. We are sailing in July in a Cheeky Corner Suite on Deck 13 after two years of cancellations.  Nice to know that Richard's Rooftop is underutilized as that might prove to be a nice quiet respite during the days and evenings. We also intend to make full use of that corner balcony while onboard. Was the ice cream really that bad that the venue is skippable? 🙂

 

It's interesting to read your comments about the service (or lack thereof) at times and the confusion in the terminal. Your comments echo many others I've read. I'm hopeful now that they've moved into Terminal V they might get the embarkation procedure into better shape. It's very surprising to read about crew members openly arguing or at least being testy with each other in view of the passengers. Can honestly say I have never experienced that in 14 cruises so far across 7 cruise lines. That behavior in view of the passengers generally doesn't fly on most cruise lines. It'll be interesting to see our experience in July. 

 

Your experiences on Deck 15 are precisely why we never, ever book a cabin in the deck right below the pool deck. Noise at night from parties and then those deck chairs being set up in the morning. Doesn't matter which ship or which cruise lines, it's the same experience. Avoiding the cabins underneath the buffet is another good idea to avoid the noise of chairs and movement in the early mornings.

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This was wonderfully informative, thank you!! We will be in a Post Suite on Resilient Lady's 11 day from San Juan to Lisbon next year so I'm expecting some of the most egregious rough spots (especially embarkation day & transport!) will be smoothed over by then.

 

This will be our first time on Virgin and our first transatlantic. All your posts helped stoke anticipation further! 😀

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23 minutes ago, karmamule said:

We will be in a Post Suite on Resilient Lady's 11 day from San Juan to Lisbon next year

 

I'll be joining you on the TA!  Not in a Posh suite, unless there's an upgrade opportunity. You're doing it right, laundry, services, bar tabs, brilliant!

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