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Scarlet Lady

Updated: Apr 21

Day 3: Virgin Voyages | Scarlet Lady

Our time in Miami has come to an end as we approach the real reason we were in Miami…to set sail on Scarlet Lady. Scarlet Lady is Virgin Voyage’s first cruise ship that made its Mermaiden Voyage in 2021. It’s an adult-only cruise line that does things differently. Essentially a cruise for virgin cruisers with a focus on music, food, and wellness.

If you’ve been watching the news you may have noticed that the CDC has placed many ships in a yellow status and has initiated a level 4 warning advising citizens not to cruise. Before I dive into our cruise experience, I want to elaborate on why we chose to set sail despite the warning. First off, the yellow status. Yellow doesn’t sounds like a great status. It’s not green after all. So what makes a cruise ship turn yellow? One positive case among the crew will do it. The cruise failing to email a report will bring it to yellow. Also, if 0.10% of passengers test positive within 5 days of disembarkation. Our cruise currently has 600 passengers so that number is 0.6 people. So if 1 crew or 1 passenger tests positive within 5 days of being on a ship then the cruise goes to yellow. Our ship is yellow. Ideally, this number would be zero, but my community is currently pretty high with cases so I personally feel like the likelihood of coming across Covid-19 on my cruise ship is a smaller chance than taking my son in and out of his normal activities with unvaccinated children.

Safety precautions are plentiful. In order the board the ship, you must be vaccinated and must test negative when you are tested at the port. Additionally, masks are required at all times except when in the pool or actively drinking or eating. For the most part, everyone is walking around in masks and crew members are wearing N95 masks. Yes, it’s still possible to catch the virus here, but I like my odds with being around fully vaccinated, recently tested, mask wearing adults versus my everyday life where the community is about 50/50 with the vaccine and many aren’t wearing masks at the store. Also, I’m naturally around unvaccinated children with a child who can’t yet be vaccinated and attends a school with other unvaccinated children.

Now for the fun part! The cruise! Our embarkation time was 12:45pm. We took an Uber from our hotel in South Beach to the port. It was a quick 15 minute drive and we lucked out with a driver who knew exactly where he was going. We arrived at the port at 12:20pm and were immediately greeted by porters who collected our checked luggage. We then headed to check-in. First, we had to scan a QR code and fill out some digital paperwork to schedule our Covid-19 tests. We then proceeded inside where we went through metal detectors and our carry-on bags were x-rayed. If you’ve never been on a cruise, think going through the TSA pre-check line at the airport. Next, a stop to check our vaccination status and collect paperwork for our Covid-19 test. We then headed to an area for the test. It was out in the open and there were several providers swabbing. It was the most pleasant COVID-19 test I’ve ever had. I actually enjoyed it! It felt like a pampering massage in my nose. Once our samples were collected we headed to a waiting area. We waited about ten minutes before we each received our test results via e-mail. We were all negative so we could move forward! Our results were verified and then we checked into the ship. There were several kiosks and here they verified our passports and issued us our seabands. Many passengers received their bands in the mail before the trip, but we never received ours. Once we finished, we were given a boarding number. Number 6. Then, we waited for our number to be called. This took much longer than I was expecting. It was about 2:15pm when we finally boarded so the whole process took about 2 hours.

Boarding Virgin Voyages
Boarding Virgin Voyages

Our first stop was to our cabin. Our luggage was already inside and the room was ready for our arrival. There was a pitcher of cold water waiting for us and as we settled in, the doorbell rang. I had no idea cruise ships have doorbells! It was our cabin stewards introducing themselves to us. The cabin is a decent size. Our closet area was immediately to the right. There is a curtain to close the closet. There is an area to hang things with 10 hangers, an area above the pole to store bags, a double decker shoe rack at the bottom, and an enclosed area with shelving. The top shelf has the life jackets, the next shelf down has towels for our beach day at Bimini, the third shelf down a safe, and then four empty shelves. There was also a hair dryer in there. Across from the closet is the bathroom. It has a rain shower with three large bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and soap. As someone with long hair, this made me happy! Next to the sink was a bar of black soap and also make-up specific towels. Another luxury! Next in the cabin is the bed with the TV across then a chair and desk area. There is also a mini-fridge and one of the coolest bottle openers I’ve ever seen. Next, is a door to our balcony. The balcony has two chairs, a small table, and a hammock. The door was much easier to open than other ships I’ve sailed. I suppose with no kids there isn’t a reason to make it so hard to open!

Cabin on Scarlet Lady
Cabin on Scarlet Lady

We’re all ravenous with hunger so food is next on the agenda. Virgin Voyages is known for their food and lack of buffets. We head to The Galley which is the dining hall most equivalent to other ship’s buffet. It is an area filled with little food stands and has a feel similar to North Market in Columbus or the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. We were expecting to go up to the stand and order, but that’s not how it works. You choose a table and then a server comes by to take your order. Drinks and desserts you grab on your own. I ordered the Buffalo Mozzarella Panini with a side of fruit. I was a little disappointed that the fruit was honeydew melon, cantelope melon, and pineapple; BUT it turned out to be the best fruit. I don’t normally like honeydew melon at all, but this was nothing like the honeydew from your local grocery store. I gobbled it all. The sandwich was good too. I ordered it without tomato which ended up being a great choice. My brother ordered it normally and he said the sandwich was a little soggy with the tomato. Brian loved his avocado toast. My sister-in-law had a salad which looked amazing. The desserts were plentiful and we tried three different ones as a table: a red life-boat looking one filled with chocolate mousse, a pistachio giant macaron, and a passionfruit tart. The lifeboat was by far the favorite.

The Galley on Scarlet Lady
The Galley on Scarlet Lady

After lunch we explored the ship. There are lots of nooks and crannies around the ship. You can easily find a non-populated area so if your goal is to stay away from people, you can do that! The areas with the most people were the swimming pool and the galley, but neither was crowded by any means. Lots of open space. I’ll share more about the ship as we experience it over the next few days!

Virgin Voyage's Scarlet Lady
Virgin Voyage's Scarlet Lady

After exploring, we headed back to our cabins to relax and settle in. I unpacked while my husband fell asleep in the hammock outside. The room is mostly controlled with a tablet in the room. At a quick glance, we couldn’t get our tablet to work, but turning it on and off fixed it. The wi-fi and app were super flaky while we were docked, but as we sailed it improved immensely. I opted for the upgraded wi-fi because I plan to do a little work while I’m onboard and I have little patience for slow internet.

Before we knew it, it was time for our six o-clock dinner reservation at The Wake. This is the steakhouse onboard and it is located at the rear of the ship. We were seated next to a window that looked out to water. We witnessed the boat being untethered to the dock and saw the wake begin as we floated away from Miami. It was probably the best place on the ship to watch us leave! There was a deck bon voyage party at the pool, but we missed that for dinner. I’m kind of in an avoid people mentality on the ship so I wasn’t heartbroken to miss it. Dinner was very good, but not at the same caliber as the two restaurants we ate at in Miami. My sister-in-law and Brian both ordered the Clam Chowder and a nearly empty bowl was placed in front of them that did not contain soup. Brian muttered, “this isn’t want I expected.” I started to explain that they hadn’t poured the soup in it yet and we all erupted in laughter. I ordered the wedge salad which was delicious. For entrees, we had lamb, filet mignon, and salmon among the table. Oh there was also tear-away bread served in a skillet. That was good! The table also had the cutest pear-looking golden dish of salt and a mini fancy-room service thing for the butter. Dessert was my favorite. My sister-in-law ordered the Baked Alaska, my brother the lemon cheesecake, I ordered the wake which was a chocolate dish, and Brian had the an apple dessert. The lemon cheesecake wins for the most decorative. It looked like an actual lemon. It was so cute! Emily’s Baked Alaska was my favorite. It tasted like blue moon ice cream to me which was my childhood go-to ice cream flavor.

The Wake on Scarlet Lady
The Wake on Scarlet Lady

We ended our night at the hot tub. That area of the ship was almost completely empty. We had the hot tub to ourselves and the two other hot tubs were empty. Near the hot tubs is a gym-like structure with monkey bars and other almost playground type things. There was one person working out there. It was nice to relax and chat. Before we knew it, we were exhausted and headed back to our cabins. As a write this, there is a pajama party going on upstairs. It sounds like it would be fun, but then I think, there will be people. I’m good here. Pandemic aside, I almost always pick the quieter and relaxing atmosphere over a loud party.

Hot Tub on Scarlet Lady
Hot Tub on Scarlet Lady

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