The atmosphere on board is very relaxed and the average age of passengers is surprisingly low, without however going below 18 years (only adults are allowed on board). We are even surprised by a population which, a priori, is not at all attracted to cruises. Virgin immediately succeeded in attracting customers that other companies would drive away. This is surprising for me, because after a cruise on the Enchanted Princess where at the height of my 53 years I was one of the youngest on board, I find myself here rather among the “oldest” (but I am neither the only one in this age group, phew). Another notable feature: the overrepresentation of LGBT+ people on board. And yet, this was not a gay cruise. The end of the day and aperitifs are very similar to it, however. This obviously did not harm the desired festive atmosphere on board.
The omnipresent music in many places on the ship is also chosen from a much more recent repertoire than on the other companies, and often performed live by very good bands, with a British touch. Quite funny to come across a guitar player sitting on the floor in a hallway, as if he were begging in the metro…
The exteriors of the ship are modern, and offer, classically, a swimming pool (very small even if it is fake large shape) and jacuzzis. A net stretched at the back of deck 16 allows you to have fun and scare yourself from the heights if you are not too dizzy. The toilets are also a nod to a certain recent matter of concern (especially American’s concern).
Sporting or playful activity also takes a huge amount of space here. Bodybuilding, stretching, boxing, basketball… the list of possibilities is long. The jogging track is totally isolated from the rest of the deck, in height, which allows runners and walkers to be completely separated from the passengers who hang around on this outdoor deck.
A double fitness room completes the sports arsenal, one dark side, one light side.
And if you’re a Rockstar (because you’re in a suite), you can hang out at Richard’s Rooftop up front. This very quiet outdoor lounge offers many possibilities for relaxation, jacuzzis and a bar. And Richard (Branson) invites you every day, from 4:30 p.m. for 90 minutes. of happy hour… unlimited champagne!
The interior is also modern and, again, quite far from the classics of the genre. Worthy of a hotel well anchored in its time, everything is well indicated but you still manage to be confused at first with directions. It doesn’t last very long. The elevators (at the front, center and aft) are efficient, and immerse you in the feeling of entering when you take them… in aquariums! A 3D effect adds even more originality.
A sign of the times, hydroalcoholic gel dispensers are everywhere, perfectly integrated into the decor.
Screens everywhere too, animations, and sometimes a little psychedelic atmospheres…
Bars, lounges, and even beds to listen to concerts lying down…
As well as the inevitable arcade games room and nightclub. The latter also hosts shows quite different from the classics, again, some of which would be prohibited for people under 18 (if they were allowed on board, which is not the case anyway).
I also take this opportunity to talk about the spa. It is not in this matter that Virgin will have been able to stand out from the crowd, and does not succeed, in my opinion, in rising to the level of what we find on Norwegian or Celebrity (paying access) or Viking (access included in the price of the cruise).
You have to pay $39 to be able to relax here for a limited 3-hour slot (at this price, competing companies offer a full-day pass to their Thermal Suite). The list of possible treatments is just as long and just as expensive as on other companies.
But the biggest surprise for me on board will be with the food.