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Virgin Voyages

Bimini Beach Club

sunny 80 °F

Our final stop on the last day was at Bimini, where the cruise line uses the Bimini Beach Club beach facility. Great Beach, great pools, lots of covered and sunny seating and cabana's if you want to rent them. You take a tram from the pier to the beach club - only a few minutes - and it worked out without a problem. They serve lunch there also - not the typical fare - I had chicken curry with black beans a rice. It was sort of nice to no have hotdogs and hamburgers. All in all it was a great relaxing day.

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Posted by rpickett 22:09 Archived in Bahamas Comments (0)

Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady

sunny 80 °F

This was our second sea day as we made our way to the Bimini Beach Club on Bimini. We spent the day relaxing (again) and did some shopping.

Virgin Voyages is not for everybody - especially if you like structure, more formal activities and to be inundated with information. There is no cruise director and no announcements are made ship wide - sort of refreshing. There is a lot going on, but you have the either use the app or look at the story boards placed near the elevator to find out the schedule. If you are not app friendly, this may not be the right cruise.

In The Galley - the closest thing to the Lido on board, you can browse the stations or simply scan the QR code on your table and order whatever you want from the menu that pops up. The servers will bring you your order in a few minutes. In the other restaurants you also scan the QR code for the menu, but in all the restaurants, they have hard copies if desired.

There is no paper on board. All info is promulgated through your app. All transactions are made with your wrist band. The system worked good...but you have to know how to use it. If you just show up at the main specialty restaurants without a reservation, you may be disappointed. This happened to a foursome last night at the steak house, and one of the group said he preferred the fixed dining time. But not to worry, there are many less formal dining options available (taco, pizza, burger, all day breakfast, bento box, noodle shop) and one of the other specialty restaurants was likely available. They do allow you to reserve each specialty restaurant (no additional charge for specialty restaurants) - Vegetarian, Korean BBQ, Italian, Test Kitchen, Mexican and Steak House, but only once during your cruise. I booked our reservations when they opened up two weeks prior to the cruise.

All non-alcoholic drinks are included and the only extra charge I saw on board for was for specialty coffee in the coffee shops. The booze prices are very reasonable, and their bar selection was probably the best I have seen at sea, and even the very top shelf booze was reasonably priced.

One of the busiest places on board was the Squid Ink Tattoo shop. They have three tattoo artists and a reservation requires a $150 non-refundable deposit.

The crew is very happy. We talked to several servers who have worked multiple contracts with other cruise lines, and they like Virgin the best
because of the pay and the crew amenities on board. You could see it in their faces and attitude.

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Posted by rpickett 22:08 Tagged lady scarlet Comments (0)

Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady

sunny 81 °F

We arrived at our only real port of call - Cozumel - and would be here until a midnight sailing. We parked at the downtown pier along with Disney Fantasy, which made it easy to explore the city, which is a taxi ride away from the other 'big ship' pier. Cozumel was alive, bustling and everything 'Mexican'. We wandered the streets to my favorite store, Los Cinco Sol where we had some beer and nacho's at Cozumel's top restaurant - Pancho's Backyard - which is in the courtyard of the store . After some shopping we headed back to the ship and watched the sunset.

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For dinner tonight, we booked at the upscale, modern "Test Kitchen" where they serve six courses - mushroom, egg, scallop, beef, blue cheese and chocolate. I chose to add the six flight wine pairing to the meal for an extra $35. The only choice you make is for your protein, whether you want venison or beef. I chose the Venison. The whole experience was wonderful, with the same impeccable service that we have experienced throughout the ship.
After dinner we stopped by to hear a set of the Slam Allen Blues Band, which had the audience rocking.

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Posted by rpickett 15:27 Archived in Mexico Tagged cozumel Comments (0)

Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady

sunny 80 °F

Our first day was at sea transiting to Cozumel. The cabins are smaller than other cruise lines, but functional with some nice electronic features. "Transform your room at the touch of a button. Mood-matching lights, a configurable Seabed and in-cabin tech come together to make your life easier. Save the friction for the dance floor.
Wanna get cozy?
Choose a movie on your tablet, cast it to the TV and get high on that canceled plans feeling.
Need some zzz's?
There's a mood for that.
Down to host?
Transform your Seabed, order in mozzarella sticks, or adjust the lighting for an improvised dance-off."

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For lunch, I had a ramen bowl from the noodle shop and for dinner we visited the Korean Restaurant Gunbae for a spirited evening of tons of food. It's community eatery and our tablemates were family members from Vancouver and Newfoundland.

We were totally stuffed by the end of the evening, as our server/chef insisted that we sample everything that they offered!

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Posted by rpickett 21:22 Tagged lady scarlet Comments (0)

Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady

sunny 80 °F

Finally after a long hiatus, my brother and I headed to Miami to board Richard Branson's Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady. Miami was again full of cruise ships, with our ship, two Carnival Ships, an MSC ship and an NCL ship all in the embarkation process.

We were assigned a 3:00pm check in slot, arranged on the Virgin Voyages App - your electronic home for the cruise. Check in took some time but was efficient. We first checked in and got out paperwork for the required Covid test. After a brief wait we got the antigen test and headed to the second floor of the terminal for the official check in, where they checked our passport, our vaccination card, and our wristbands - essentially the electronic key to the ship. By the time we finished the check in process, our Covid results had been emailed to us and we could board. Our bags were waiting for us when we arrived at our cabin. The first evolution, as normal, was the required safety drill. To complete it, you watched the rather clever safety video, and then proceeded to you muster station where you checked in with your wrist band and watched a demonstration on donning the life jacket.

Tonight Cocktails were at the Draught Haus - with seven different beers on draft as well as liquor and other canned beers.
We had made reservations at Razzle Dazzle - one of the many eateries on board. Although Vegetarian by design, it had meat on the menu. I started with a wonderful mushroom tartare and then grilled salmon with a side of smoked bacon. My brother had grilled chicken with a side of loaded tater tots. Desert was three giant cookies with cinnamon "cereal milk" The food and service was all excellent.

This morning for breakfast we headed to "The Galley", the ship's approximation of the buffet. Of note, is that since you "live" on the ship with the Virgin app on your tablet or phone, signed in to the ship's good wifi, there are charging stations at each table in The Galley.

Today is a sea day, so we are relaxing and exploring the ship!

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Posted by rpickett 21:23 Archived in USA Tagged sea to miami Comments (0)

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