Virgin Voyages & Scarlet Lady: Day Three (Bimini) Recap

Today through Sunday, January 30th, Premier Custom Travel Founder and President Chris Grum is onboard Scarlet Lady, the first ship launched by the newest cruise brand – Virgin Voyages. Each day, Chris will be posting a recap blog with his thoughts on the ship and the experience. Here’s a look at day three and the ship’s visit to The Beach Club at Bimini.

Today, Scarlet Lady visited the second of our two ports on this four-night voyage – Bimini, an island in the Bahamas. Virgin Voyages leases time at a part of Resorts World called “The Beach Club at Bimini.” It is not a private island like some other cruise lines have. Instead, this is a part of a large complex on the island. Resorts World is a 750-acre Caribbean beachfront resort and casino located on North Bimini Island. The Beach Club is a six-acre part of that resort and when one of the Virgin ships is in port, the area is for the exclusive use of those guests. On other days, it is open to other visitors to Resorts World.


You essentially have three choices when you arrive at Bimini:

  • Book one of the excursions listed above
  • Spend your day at The Beach Club at Bimini
  • Explore Bimini on your own
  • You can, of course, remain onboard if you want, but I highly recommend at least exploring the beach club and all it has to offer.


    The idea behind The Beach Club is to give Sailors a resort-like experience plus a chance to explore the island or enjoy an excursion. The ship docks at a pier a couple of miles away from The Beach Club. At the end of the pier there are trams and golf carts, waiting to take you to The Beach Club. Once you arrive, you have many options from which to choose. The area features cabanas that can be rented, tons of lounge chairs (I didn’t count but there seemed to be enough for anyone that would want one), several dining options, bars, two pools, and of course, the beach itself.

    If you arrive early, it’s a more serene scene. There is morning yoga, sunbathing by the pool, and other more reserved activities. As the day progresses, The Beach Club becomes more alive, culminating with a DJ and bonfires to welcome the evening. We arrived around 8am this morning and all-aboard was 7:30pm, giving everyone plenty of time to enjoy both The Beach Club and the surrounding areas. For those wondering, masks were required at The Beach Club unless swimming, eating/drinking, or involved in an activity. However, I never did see any Virgin employees asking those without masks to put them on. Most people are following the mask rules both onboard and ashore.

    The photos above are just a glimpse into The Beach Club at Bimini. If you’d like to see the entire set of photos, head on over to our Facebook page. So far I’ve posted over 400 photos from the ship and the islands. More to come.


    In several of the sales seminars I’ve attended for this brand, they have repeatedly used the phrase, “We believe Wifi is a basic human right, so it is included in your fare.” Since it is typically an additional charge on many cruise lines, I must say that I am grateful that it is included onboard Virgin Voyages ships. I opted for the optional $40 voyage-long upgrade to the faster wifi for this voyage since we were going to be doing a live show streaming from the ship. I’ve found the connection to be mostly very good, with a few hiccups here and there. Outages are to be expected at sea, but overall the wifi onboard Scarlet Lady has been adequate for my needs. I would also note that unlike some other lines, you can use multiple devices on your wifi account without having to switch your service between them. I currently have three devices connected (phone, iPad, and laptop). I don’t know if there is a limit, but for most people being able to connect two or three devices will likely be enough.

    One spot where I believe they have room for improvement is their app. It is not the most user-friendly experience in my opinion, and I’ve found that many times I must shut it down and re-start it to get any data to load. Prior to the cruise, I also had issues with it crashing or giving me error screens, including during a crucial point of my arrival at the pier. I’ve also found no deck plans anywhere on the app (there is a printed copy in my cabin but it should be available on the app). Instead, the app divides the ship’s features into categories, making you search them to find the venue you want and then click it for more details. I’d like to see a simple way to see what is and isn’t open and the location of each venue.

    One unique feature of the app is the ability to “shake for champagne.” If you open the app and shake your phone a few times, the screen will change to bubbles and the sounds of champagne flowing. It will then show you a button that, if you push it, will have a bottle of Moet Chandon Imperial delivered to wherever you are. This feature does come with a hefty price tag – $95 for the bottle.


    There are three ships in the Virgin Voyages fleet, only one of which is actually sailing now. The second ship, Valiant Lady, will make her debut in March. Resilient Lady, the third Lady Ship in the fleet, is scheduled to enter service this summer. There are reports of a fourth ship coming, but that has not been officially announced nor has the ship been named.

    The pandemic has caused the cruise line to re-arrange their Itineraries many times, but the basic plan is this:

    Scarlet Lady – Year-round cruises from Miami
    Valiant Lady – Summer sailings in Europe (from Barcelona) and winter sailings from Miami
    Resilient Lady – Summer sailings in Europe (from Athens) and winter sailings from San Juan, Puerto Rico

    There are a wide variety of itineraries, ranging from 4 nights to 7. I’m on the 4-night “Fire & Sunset Soirees” itinerary. Originally, we were scheduled to go to Bimini and Key West, but with the latter still restricting larger cruise ships, our route was changed to replace the Keys with Nassau.


    I’ve been very impressed with the crew on Scarlet Lady. Everyone I’ve interacted with has been friendly and approachable. Many greet you in the hallways and as you walk about the ship, and I have yet to encounter any language barriers despite the ship having an international crew. The staff seems to have a larger number of English as a first language people than other lines, but that may have to do with the style of the onboard entertainment.

    On this sailing, the crew greatly outnumbers the guests, and I’ve often found myself in venues where there was a much higher percentage of staff than Sailors. As you can see from the sample photos above, the uniforms are very different from traditional cruise ship crew. I’ve also observed the crew dining in the ship’s public restaurants and enjoying the various venues onboard. I’m not sure if this is due to the small number of revenue passengers or is something that is always allowed onboard. I have no problem with it whatsoever, although I know that sometimes the crew mixing with the passengers is frowned upon by some cruisers.

    One thing I wish they’d change – the crew name tags are very basic, with just a VV logo and the person’s name. Most other lines include their home country, something that I appreciate greatly and a good icebreaker when you’re chatting. I wish Virgin Voyages did that as well.


    Tonight, I dined at Pink Agave, the ship’s upscale Mexican eatery. It may seem like hyperbole, but the meals keep getting better onboard this ship. I had been told by several people that this was their favorite restaurant, and I can certainly see why. Everything I had, from the enchiladas to the corn, chorizo, and even the chocolate dessert tacos, was fantastic. And if you’re a tequila lover, they have literally dozens of different options from which to choose. I’ll put the entire list up in the Facebook photo gallery for this cruise.

    I have a decision to make for my final dinner tomorrow evening. I’m scheduled to visit “The Test Kitchen,” which is experimental dining. There are two other featured restaurants I have not yet tried: “The Wake” (steak and seafood) and “Razzle Dazzle” (the vegetarian option with a “cheat” menu). I’d really like to try them all, but I doubt I can (even if they’d let me). Stay tuned for my decision. I’m sure no matter what I choose, it will be great. I have not been disappointed yet.


    Tonight, I experienced two of the ship’s experiential shows. The photos above are from “Never Sleep Alone,” a cabaret-style show based on a real sex therapist’s book. Part music, part audience interaction, and part comedy, this was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. You know it’s going to be an unusual show when there are masks and condoms on the tables and they take pre-show sex surveys at each table.

    First, let me say that nothing overly illicit took place during the show. It was certainly 100% adult content, some of it very funny. There are two sections where you can sit – closer to the stage, where you may be called upon to participate, and the voyeur section, where you can just watch what happens. I’m certainly no prude, but I found the show to be entertaining and times and a bit dragging or repetitive during others. The band and performers were very good, but I thought it could’ve been done in 30 minutes and not an hour. I also assume that this show varies depending on the mood and energy of the audience. If you don’t like interactive shows, stay away from this one.

    The second show I watched this evening was one of the best I’ve seen at sea and also completely unique. Set in The Red Room (the ship’s entertainment flex space), “Duel Reality” is part Cirque du Soleil, part Shakespeare, part musical, and simply incredible. It reminded me a bit of West Side Story meets the circus, with amazing acrobatics, stunts, juggling, hula hoops, singing, and even some audience participation. Where it tops the Cirque shows is that it actually had a discernible plot and a wonderful resolution to the story. Clocking in at just under one hour, it’s a show that I would have gladly watched for twice that time.


    Tomorrow is my final day onboard – a day at sea. I’m going to enjoy some more of the onboard events and entertainment, and explore the final few areas of the ship I’ve not yet visited. And of course, I’m expecting more great dining.

    But before I go, a story about the photo above. As I was enjoying my dinner tonight, I noticed that the water glass had something engraved in the bottom. I soon realized it was the name of the company that produces that glassware. However, given the last two years, I’m not sure that I would have gone with a company called “Rona.”

    Thanks for reading – and good night from onboard Scarlet Lady.