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How do virgin cruises differ from carnival, rcl, etc?


AandBmom
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This video will give you a great deal of info and a good feeling for what VV is like.  Average age on VV for the past year has been 43 with a range of 18-90s.  Our current cruise is a little older with an average of 55....but it is a 14 night cruise.  Biggest difference compared to other lines is no kids.  Next, no unlimited drink packages, no tipping, wifi included.  No main dining room--6 sit down restaurants that take reservations are included in your cruise fare, and THe Galley is like a food court rather than a buffet.
Watch the video, then ask questions.

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Significantly better than the other lines in my opinion. The variety and quality of food is amazing even down to the room service offering. The included WiFi, app and tablet to control the room are also all great features. It's refreshing as well not to have the thought of tipping and the staff are so friendly and helpful at all times. It's great if you like to be laid back and fun and want to do what you want, when you want and where and the destinations they go to are continuing to improve.

 

I'm not the only one who views it as their number 1 cruise line now.

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Posted (edited)

The other main difference is in the design of the ships. The guiding principles of VV ships is that it's meant to feel like you're on a yacht rather than a large, mass market cruiseship. As such the public venues are designed to be smaller, more intimate venues. Public venues are also designed to be separate, independent experiences. This means that in some areas there isn't a natural flow from one venue to another, and many venues are hidden. The pizza and ice cream areas are one such design example. They are tucked away in a corner and unless you're purposely seeking them out they're not in an obvious high traffic location. 

Many people remark that there's no signature dramatic focal point such as a huge main atrium or centerpiece cocktail bar. Again this is on purpose. People will also complain that the venues will seen crowded. Again this is on purpose.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by kwokpot
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This is all very helpful so far everyone. What is the crowd like? I just got off a bliss Cruise where I found everybody to be very outgoing and social but that's a very unique demographic. Are people like that on virgin?

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, AandBmom said:

This is all very helpful so far everyone. What is the crowd like? I just got off a bliss Cruise where I found everybody to be very outgoing and social but that's a very unique demographic. Are people like that on virgin?

Yes I would say that on Virgin the two sailings we were on the crowd was outgoing and looking to have fun. The employees on VV are allowed and encouraged to interact with guests in a more personal manner and less as 'service ' personnel. This also helps to encourage a more fun and social aspect on the ship. It should also be noted that although cruising in general attracts the LGBTQ community VV is even more open to this demographic. As part of this community I feel VV allows our community to be themselves moreso than other cruiselines (I mean each ship has a resident Drag queen) which means LGBTQ passengers, especially younger ones, will seem more visible and evident than on other cruiselines. 

Edited by kwokpot
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14 hours ago, AandBmom said:

This is all very helpful so far everyone. What is the crowd like? I just got off a bliss Cruise where I found everybody to be very outgoing and social but that's a very unique demographic. Are people like that on virgin?

 

I find the VV crowd to be very social. The entire ship is set up for socialization in the sense that there are literally chairs and loungers almost everywhere on the ship.  It's a very chill ship during the day where you can hang with folks out by the (very tiny) pool. Or partake in the activities during the day.

 

One Sailor said it was like being in Summer Camp for Adults on our first voyage featured in the video link above from @cantgetin. That's kind of how it feels. Without the constraints of kids running around and 'being careful of conversation' around the little ones, there's a sense of freedom to just be you and have fun. 

 

The biggest differences from the other lines are the mega-yacht feel of the ship, many inclusions so you're not having pay for a ton of extras, nobody upselling a drinks/dinner package, no photographers. Because all of the decks are essentially single story, the ship feels a lot smaller than it really is. You don't have that sense of scale with the multi story atrium or promenade or central feature of so many cruise ships that's more akin to a mall or Las Vegas resort. The ladyships are quite intimate and I think that leads to more social interaction. 

 

Food is always subjective and since I produced that original video, The Wake is now a brunch only meal for us. We went to dinner there twice since we did that original video and it was underwhelming. Razzle Dazzle and Pink Agave are our two tops picks now and on a good night, Extra Virgin is amazing.  We've really enjoyed Dine and Dash special dinner items the last few times we've been on the ships such as the butter chicken. 

 

I have met folks from 18 to 80+ on the ships. If you are young at heart, you should really give VV a go. 

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I've only sailed NCL and VV, so I can't speak to other lines. In my mind, that whole "no upselling" thing cannot be stressed enough. It's so nice to go to a show and not spend the first 15-20 minutes listening to the CD selling raffle tickets. How refreshing it is to not have to dodge photographers during dinner.

On Valiant Lady, my partner had a question for sailor services, and I just kinda' wondered around the area waiting for him. A rep from "Get Lost" (MVNN) asked me if I needed anything, and I asked him a random question that popped in my head. (I think it was about how full our sailing was.) He actually answered my question without trying to sell me anything!

That, in turn, made this the first time I've ever bought a future cruise credit.

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1 hour ago, Swells1 said:

I've only sailed NCL and VV, so I can't speak to other lines. In my mind, that whole "no upselling" thing cannot be stressed enough. It's so nice to go to a show and not spend the first 15-20 minutes listening to the CD selling raffle tickets. How refreshing it is to not have to dodge photographers during dinner.

On Valiant Lady, my partner had a question for sailor services, and I just kinda' wondered around the area waiting for him. A rep from "Get Lost" (MVNN) asked me if I needed anything, and I asked him a random question that popped in my head. (I think it was about how full our sailing was.) He actually answered my question without trying to sell me anything!

That, in turn, made this the first time I've ever bought a future cruise credit.

I tried to buy a pair of shoes at one of the shops, when asked if they could check if they had my size, they seemed puzzled.  Almost like they were shocked I wanted to buy something.  Needless to say they had a very small selection of sizes and nothing in my size...

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The shops on VV are....just peculiar. I'm on board now and they are even more odd than normal.  They have about 3 styles of t-shirts and some hoodies along with a very limited selection of notepads, tote bags, etc. in the Logo shop.  It is half the size it used to be and really didn't have anything.  On my first sailings, they at least had some interesting t-shirts and gift items.  Most of the other shops are quite expensive and just not interesting.  There are 2 designer purse shops, a store with very limited ladies clothing and high end perfume and makeup, a store with men's clothing, and a little area with some swimwear and misc.  And there is the "sundries" shop with drug store stuff, hammocks, some computer stuff, etc....but overall not stuff that I'd be buying.

 

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34 minutes ago, cantgetin said:

The shops on VV are....just peculiar. I'm on board now and they are even more odd than normal.  They have about 3 styles of t-shirts and some hoodies along with a very limited selection of notepads, tote bags, etc. in the Logo shop.  It is half the size it used to be and really didn't have anything.  On my first sailings, they at least had some interesting t-shirts and gift items.  Most of the other shops are quite expensive and just not interesting.  There are 2 designer purse shops, a store with very limited ladies clothing and high end perfume and makeup, a store with men's clothing, and a little area with some swimwear and misc.  And there is the "sundries" shop with drug store stuff, hammocks, some computer stuff, etc....but overall not stuff that I'd be buying.

 

The onboard vendor for all the shops somewhat recently changed from when VV debuted. When we sailed on the Valiant Lady in January '23 with the original shops my husband accumulated enough casino comps from playing onboard that we had over $700 to spend in the shops. We bought a boatload 😉 of stuff with a mix of logo gifts (the packable mini backpack is my favorite) and designer clothes from top brands. 

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1 minute ago, kwokpot said:

The onboard vendor for all the shops somewhat recently changed from when VV debuted. When we sailed on the Valiant Lady in January '23 with the original shops my husband accumulated enough casino comps from playing onboard that we had over $700 to spend in the shops. We bought a boatload 😉 of stuff with a mix of logo gifts (the packable mini backpack is my favorite) and designer clothes from top brands. 

That change was more than 6 months ago....shortly before our previous cruise.   whatever....I think we are dropping most of our loot at the spa this time.

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On 4/30/2024 at 2:07 PM, cantgetin said:

The shops on VV are....just peculiar. I'm on board now and they are even more odd than normal.  They have about 3 styles of t-shirts and some hoodies along with a very limited selection of notepads, tote bags, etc. in the Logo shop.  It is half the size it used to be and really didn't have anything.  

 

I got a really cool Razzle Dazzle-themed coaster that sits on my work desk, so I have a constant fun reminder of vacation. I'd run out of loot between the spa and the tattoo... I'm not someone who ever shops on cruise ships as I've never wanted cruise logo items on any line before (and definitely not a luxury goods/watches/jewelry person). I feel like the VV brand has hooked me enough to want more of their stuff, so hopefully the logo store on my next will have a decent selection.

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I’m on Scarlet Lady right now.  This is my first one.  My primary cruise line *was* Royal Caribbean 😂

 

This is anecdotal to my point of view.  Virgin is definitely a party ship.  It is close to Carnival in energy but its not exactly the same kind of energy.

 

The music and energy on Carnival I feel leans towards hip hop.  Not exactly my kind of energy.

 

The music on Virgin leans more towards house music.  It IS my kind of energy.

 

Here’s another example of my perception.

 

On other cruise lines i’ve been on (Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, NCL and Royal Caribbean), the longer the cruise, the more sedate and older the population.  On my longer Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises, there really wasnt much of a party scene outside the 70s night.  Parties were lukewarm at best.

 

Virgin.  The first night was the PJ party and it was slamming.  I was like “is this normal?”. Next night was the 70s party and again, same thing.  The energy has been consistently high to a point I have not seen in almost 10 years since my Carnival cruise in 2015.  And even then, it wasn’t THIS high since that was a 7 night.  I’m told by Virgin Veterans that this IS sedate for Virgin.  I’m a little afraid how the shorter cruises are.  

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Virgin is very different (in good ways IMHO) from other cruise lines.  However, I do not recommend it to people who are not into an open and accepting atmosphere.  People who are offended by drag shows should not sail Virgin.  If you are offended by the fact they call theirfree gelato place "Lick Me Till Ice Cream" you should not go.

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On 4/29/2024 at 2:42 PM, Jamesv281117 said:

Significantly better than the other lines in my opinion. The variety and quality of food is amazing even down to the room service offering. The included WiFi, app and tablet to control the room are also all great features. It's refreshing as well not to have the thought of tipping and the staff are so friendly and helpful at all times. It's great if you like to be laid back and fun and want to do what you want, when you want and where and the destinations they go to are continuing to improve.

 

I'm not the only one who views it as their number 1 cruise line now.

I couldn't agree more. Just came back from sailing NCL after 4 cruises on Virgin and seriously doubt I'll ever sail on anything other than Virgin going forward. 

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On 4/29/2024 at 4:16 PM, kwokpot said:

The other main difference is in the design of the ships. The guiding principles of VV ships is that it's meant to feel like you're on a yacht rather than a large, mass market cruiseship. As such the public venues are designed to be smaller, more intimate venues. Public venues are also designed to be separate, independent experiences. This means that in some areas there isn't a natural flow from one venue to another, and many venues are hidden. The pizza and ice cream areas are one such design example. They are tucked away in a corner and unless you're purposely seeking them out they're not in an obvious high traffic location. 

Many people remark that there's no signature dramatic focal point such as a huge main atrium or centerpiece cocktail bar. Again this is on purpose. People will also complain that the venues will seen crowded. Again this is on purpose.  

 

 

 

 

Thank you! We have our first VV cruise booked for next January for my birthday. The yacht atmosphere is one of the principal things that interested me. I also like to work out and it's nice they feature that, as well. My wife and I can't wait.

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I am considering a cruise on VV and would like to know generally how people dress onboard…other than theme parties?  I’m a casual, coordinated person but I do like to dress up on occasion.  EM

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28 minutes ago, Essiesmom said:

I am considering a cruise on VV and would like to know generally how people dress onboard…other than theme parties?  I’m a casual, coordinated person but I do like to dress up on occasion.  EM

Relaxed most of the time with many people choosing to be a little nicer for dinner such as a shirt or better t-shirt.

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You will see some people dressed fancy and others in shorts/t-shirts.  The only rules are that you do actually have to be wearing clothing and if you are in a bathing suit it has to be covered up (at least in sit down restaurants) and dry.

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Posted (edited)

We haven't been on a cruise since 2019. We recently moved to Florida and wanted to get back to cruising. Our go to lines were Celebrity, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. I have been reading so many bad reviews from seasoned Cruise Critic members about the changes in food quality, entertainment, service, as well as new Tech features that they promote not working that I thought VV should be considered. We never sailed with them so we will have no expectations. I was going to book a shorter cruise to try it out but from what I am reading it seems the longer cruises would be more of the vibe that we are used to. We are 55 and 64 yrs old and live in an active resort style adult community so there is always something going on here and I was just wondering how we would fit in on VV.  

Edited by Iamcruzin
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12 minutes ago, Iamcruzin said:

 I was going to book a shorter cruise to try it out but from what I am reading it seems the longer cruises would be more of the vibe that we are used to. We are 55 and 64 yrs old and live in an active resort style adult community so there is always something going on here and I was just wondering how we would fit in on VV.  

In my experience, longer cruises on VV skew older and have less of a party atmosphere.  I am in my 60s, and got off my first VV cruise with 3 more booked!  There is a varied group on board, and always something to do whether that was relaxing on the hammock with a book, playing in the arcade, going to an exercise class, etc.  There are lots of places to hang out, each with a bit or its own atmosphere. There's a lot of being a kid again--arcade, social club, summer camp activities, etc.  

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5 hours ago, Iamcruzin said:

We haven't been on a cruise since 2019. We recently moved to Florida and wanted to get back to cruising. Our go to lines were Celebrity, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. I have been reading so many bad reviews from seasoned Cruise Critic members about the changes in food quality, entertainment, service, as well as new Tech features that they promote not working that I thought VV should be considered. We never sailed with them so we will have no expectations. I was going to book a shorter cruise to try it out but from what I am reading it seems the longer cruises would be more of the vibe that we are used to. We are 55 and 64 yrs old and live in an active resort style adult community so there is always something going on here and I was just wondering how we would fit in on VV.  

 

Every cruise line has people complaining about downward changes in quality.  Some of that may be true, some may be people looking at the past with rose colored glasses.  

 

As far as tech goes, don't count on VV to be an improvement over any other line.  The app is extremely flakey.  We had a friend in tears trying desperately to get dinner reservations when they opened.  That is why we generally let our TA deal with that.  

 

I'm not trying to dissuade you from trying VV.  Certainly worth trying.  Some people never go back to the other lines.  Personally, I like variety.  And the fact that the beds in non-Rockstar rooms are very uncomfortable (IMHO) and that the pools are a joke will certainly keep me from ever making VV the only cruise line I sail.  

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2 hours ago, rebeccac said:

 

Every cruise line has people complaining about downward changes in quality.  Some of that may be true, some may be people looking at the past with rose colored glasses.  

 

As far as tech goes, don't count on VV to be an improvement over any other line.  The app is extremely flakey.  We had a friend in tears trying desperately to get dinner reservations when they opened.  That is why we generally let our TA deal with that.  

 

I'm not trying to dissuade you from trying VV.  Certainly worth trying.  Some people never go back to the other lines.  Personally, I like variety.  And the fact that the beds in non-Rockstar rooms are very uncomfortable (IMHO) and that the pools are a joke will certainly keep me from ever making VV the only cruise line I sail.  

We don't really use the pool and people were complaining about beds on Princess for years and we never had an issue with them or any other line.

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