Like A Virgin Voyage
Ahoy sailors! We just got back from a week on the high seas, sailing with Virgin Voyages on the Scarlet Lady on their 5 night Dominican Daze itinerary, which means this show is a rare occasion for us- a trip report that the whole...
Like A Virgin Voyage
Ahoy sailors! We just got back from a week on the high seas, sailing with Virgin Voyages on the Scarlet Lady on their 5 night Dominican Daze itinerary, which means this show is a rare occasion for us- a trip report that the whole group can contribute to! We’re going to talk about what we did, saw, and ate, share our honest opinions on the whole experience, and talk about why Virgin Voyages is the cruise for everyone, as well as a great value and something different in the world of cruising. Join us as we take you on a thrilling cruise adventure with Virgin Voyages, complete with amazing food and beverages, fun parties, relaxation, and exhilarating port adventures. Indulge in delicious seafood and refreshing cocktails, dance until dawn at exciting parties, and unwind by the pool or sundeck. Explore new lands and discover hidden gems on exhilarating port excursions. Come aboard and be amazed at every turn!
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Like A Virgin Voyage
[00:00:00] Dan: Welcome back to another meeting of the Gold Key. Adventurers Society. My name is Dan Leonard,
[00:00:05] Jeff: Hi, Dan.
[00:00:06] Dan: and join me this week in the studios Heather Strait
[00:00:08] Heather: y'all
[00:00:09] Dan: and Mr. Jeff
[00:00:11] Jeff: You already heard my voice.
[00:00:14] Dan: We can't wait to hear it some more. Our show is always is brought to you by Key to the World Travel. Key to the World Travel is a full service travel agency specializing in Theme parks, cruising and destinations around the world.
Head to www.keytotheworldtravel.com for more details and a no obligation quote on the vacation of a lifetime. A Hoi sailors well, we all just got back from a week on the High Seas sailing with virgin voyages on the Scarlet Lady, uh, for their five night Dominican days itinerary, which means that this show is a real rarity for us. It's a trip report that the whole group can
[00:00:54] Jeff: That's right. I think this might be a first.
[00:00:58] Dan: Well, if we, uh, the only other one was our combined star cruiser
[00:01:02] Jeff: Ah,
[00:01:03] Heather: True. True.
[00:01:05] Dan: star cruiser
[00:01:06] Heather: That would be fun.
[00:01:08] Dan: Yeah, I know.
[00:01:11] Jeff: I'm wheeling and d.
[00:01:14] Dan: Good. Let's, let's meet at the Star Cruiser. Um, uh, but that's for a future show tonight. Uh, today we're gonna talk about what we did saw Nate. We're gonna share our honest opinions on the whole experience and talk about why Virgin voyages is the cruise for everyone, as well as being a great value and really something different in the world of cruising. go
[00:01:35] Jeff: And go,
[00:01:36] Heather: What do you wanna talk about Dan?
[00:01:39] Dan: uh, I mean, let's just kind of
[00:01:40] Jeff: I'll say, if we wanna start at the beginning, the embarkation process there, getting on board and setting sale was so smooth, so quick, so easy before you, uh, set sale, you reserve a time to show up at the port. And I, I think it was maybe 20 minutes from the time we were dropped off in the car to the time I was literally in the state room.
[00:02:04] Heather: Yes.
[00:02:04] Dan: Yeah, in the state room too, that's important. You get access to that
[00:02:08] Heather: rooms are ready when you board and they're right there on the gang way saying your state room is ready.
[00:02:14] Jeff: I don't know what the earliest possible boarding time was, but. Okay, so one 30. So my boarding time was two or two 15. Several of us were around the two to two 15 mark. By the time we got on, there was no line at all. You walk up to a single kiosk, they take your pic. No, they don't even, you take your picture ahead of time.
All they did was give me the band and we signed something and off we went. It was the fastest ever. No line at any point.
[00:02:39] Heather: and I love the sailor band. Concept instead of a state room key. It's kind of like a magic band for your cruise, but it was a cool sort of, I don't
[00:02:50] Jeff: like a para cord type bracelet. Water resistant.
[00:02:55] Heather: an anchor anchor on it, and, uh, fun, fun little puns that you could choose,
[00:03:03] Jeff: Yeah. It was just a little, little, uh, little puck on a string bracelet. You're up around twice. Adjust very comfortable to wear net. Opens your door and is also your charging puck for everything on board.
[00:03:18] Dan: Yeah.
[00:03:19] Jeff: Uh, by the time you get on that ship, your room is ready. We went straight. There's no grand atrium and no big like, hey, blah, blah, welcomes the woo-hoo, none of that.
You just get on and they immediately like direct you, you tell 'em what your room number is and they're like this elevator to that floor. And boom, we were off.
[00:03:39] Dan: Yeah. This quick get, get, drop your bags if you carry them all on, uh, at your state room.
[00:03:45] Heather: and it was,
[00:03:46] Dan: you check your bags up front, it did take a couple hours to get all those distributed, but it wasn't,
[00:03:51] Heather: mine was pretty quick. Um,
[00:03:53] Jeff: I think, um, yeah, it was about an hour from when the stuff I carried on, I dropped right away and the stuff that the bellman checked was on there within an hour.
[00:04:02] Heather: The port is so pretty. It was almost a little bit disappointing that I didn't have more time to explore it. They have a beautiful outdoor deck with chairs and umbrellas that looks out over the bay there. That would be
[00:04:18] Jeff: Yes, striped red and white chair. Nice little hangout out there where you could get some great, I didn't even think to do it cuz everything just moved so quick. But you, if you had gotten to the port early, like if you had an early flight or something, looked like a nice area to hang out and get some great photos of the ship.
[00:04:34] Heather: Another really great tip, if you do have an early flight, you can go to Virgin's port, drop off your bags, and then they have a free shuttle that takes you to the Bayfront market and Bayfront Park area. And you could go and eat lunch or just walk around in the park, go do some shopping in that little shopping area.
I thought that was a really great service.
[00:04:57] Jeff: little area with a lot of restaurants and uh, stores. There's a beautiful park that just has great views looking out on the bay and at Miami Beach and, uh, one of those big scenic Ferris wheel rides and food trucks, all kinds of stuff around there.
[00:05:13] Heather: Mm-hmm. . And then you take the shuttle back to the port when it's time to get on the ship. It was, I thought that was a great touch. Miami is such a pretty hort.
[00:05:24] Dan: Yeah, it's a beautiful city. I would love to have some time to do some more exploring. Uh, next time I, I go down that way,
[00:05:32] Jeff: It,
[00:05:32] Heather: you checked
[00:05:33] Jeff: Dan, you did the most exploring of any of us. He walked 35 miles that day,
[00:05:38] Dan: I was only about five miles out and then I took a bicycle five miles back to my hotel. But yeah, I, I checked out Ocean. Ocean Boulevard where they have all the cool old art deco
[00:05:49] Heather: Mm-hmm.
[00:05:50] Dan: painted in the candy pastel colors. It's beautiful place. Just cool to walk around, see the sites. It's right there on uh, south Beach
[00:05:57] Jeff: famous, uh, birdcage, uh, hotel in the opening scene that comes out across the water and right up to the front of the hotel.
[00:06:07] Dan: Yep.
[00:06:08] Heather: Very
[00:06:09] Dan: a really cool place. I, you don't necessarily have to walk five miles. Normal people probably would've called for a lift or, or a taxi or something, but I decided to walk, um, just cuz I'm weird. But, uh, yeah. So you get on the ship, they, they are very high energy. They have the entertainment crew out directing you to go to your rooms or go up to deck 15 to the galley to grab some food.
[00:06:35] Jeff: I love that the entertainment crew, people are dressed like fun, hip, sexy versions of the regular crew members you see on other cruise ships in their sort of, Red or white jumpsuit. Things that look like, you know, they should be swapping the deck or something. But one of 'em was into a skirt with bicycle shorts underneath, made out of that same material, and one of 'em had like one leg on, one leg off of the thing.
A lot of 'em were open in the front. You, they're all like, you know, hip, sexy crew members and they're the ones that are welcoming you with bullhorns and trying to get the whole party vibe started. That was, that was when, you know like, oh, okay, we're not on Disney cruise line right now.
[00:07:15] Heather: we went straight up to the galley, which is one of the first differences. There's no buffet.
[00:07:22] Jeff: Love that.
[00:07:24] Heather: but it's almost, it's just, it's kind of the best of both worlds cuz it, it reminded me a lot of what a, a lot of the cruise lines are doing now with the little food station type things in their buffets.
But instead of having to stand in line and get your own food, you just sit down and there's table service and that's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
[00:07:46] Jeff: That concept is very popular all over with the sort of different ethnic food stalls or types of food. They had a diner, they had a burger place. They had a sweet place. They had a noodle bowl like Saigon noodle house
[00:07:59] Heather: I had
[00:07:59] Jeff: They had a Popsicle truck. They had a, they have a Bento box you can grab and go any kinda sushi all day, every day.
Like that was amazing. Every time I went near the place, I'd get a box of sushi.
[00:08:12] Dan: Yeah. And they have breakfast. Uh, at breakfast time. They have mixed
[00:08:15] Heather: Mm-hmm. . And there's breakfast all day. So if you're the type who is out partying until two and then you sleep until two, you can still go get breakfast in the galley. I also liked that they had a little grab and go section in the galley where you could grab snacks, uh, put
[00:08:34] Jeff: charcuterie boards,
[00:08:35] Heather: some in
[00:08:36] Jeff: pressed sandwiches.
[00:08:38] Heather: all the time that was there, which I, I loved.
The food on board is one of the standouts for me.
[00:08:45] Jeff: Yeah. The reason,
[00:08:46] Heather: restaurant was amazing.
[00:08:48] Jeff: the reason they don't have a buffet is they've gone to a boutique restaurant style. So there's many different restaurants and they're all the size of just a normal land-based restaurant, not these giant two and three story monstrosities. Some of the other ships have.
[00:09:03] Heather: No, no enforced dining times. You don't have a rotation or a, you know, you, you eat every day at 5 45 kind of thing.
[00:09:12] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:12] Dan: Which everybody
[00:09:13] Heather: I loved that.
[00:09:15] Jeff: Yeah. If you wanted
[00:09:16] Dan: the great thing is all of these, all of these. Table serve all of the main restaurants. I believe there's seven of the like main sit down spots. There's 20 places to eat overall. Um, but each of these main restaurants, it's like on any other cruise ship, it would be one of the spots that you pay extra to upgrade your meal in instead of eating in the main dining room.
No, that's included in the cost of your voyage. You show up and you get more food than any sane person
[00:09:47] Jeff: Yeah, this, this was some high quality, amazing dining. They had a Korean barbecue place, a high end, like Mexican place. Gun Bay was my favorite. That was the Korean barbecue fun vibe in there. They cook at your table,
[00:10:00] Heather: They,
[00:10:01] Jeff: they, you play drinking games and it's super, super fun.
[00:10:05] Heather: and the uh, of several of the places. There were things on the menu that you could pay a little extra to upgrade if you wanted. Like in the steakhouse there was a tomahawk and
[00:10:16] Jeff: But even for an enormous two person tomahawk steak, it was only $65 I think, which that's like a $200 steak elsewhere.
[00:10:24] Heather: And Gun Bay, you could upgrade to add a course, which I wish we had realized was completely unnecessary.
we got some Liu and it was so, we had so
[00:10:36] Jeff: The Wagyu was amazing, but it was unnecessary cuz there was so much great food. If you have probably, we were always in our, we had a group of 37 people, so we were always in groups of five and six people. So they would basically say, do you want us to just bring everything? And of course the answer to that is always say yes.
Um, so and that's one of their mottoes on the ship, always say yes, but they would just bring out a sampling of everything. And if you like something, you could get more of it. If you didn't like it, no big deal. But we got to try basically every menu item from every restaurant
[00:11:11] Heather: Yes. And it was all so good.
[00:11:15] Dan: and by the way, if you've only got two or three people at your table, they'll do that. You just have to ask.
[00:11:19] Jeff: good. I wondered about
[00:11:20] Heather: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:21] Dan: But yeah, I mean, it's, it's a cruise ship, so you can order three entrees if you want, and if you wanna just order family style for the table and let everybody try it, they'll do that too.
We did that at, uh, at the steakhouse, at the Wake the Steakhouse. We did that specifically for, uh, dessert. We just said,
[00:11:37] Heather: delicious. All, everything we ate on board was so good. You can make reservations before you go when your booking date opens if you want. Or you can make reservations while you're on board, or you can
[00:11:48] Jeff: We did a little of both. I did a little of all three
[00:11:52] Heather: Yeah, we would just walk
[00:11:53] Dan: hold a ton of tables available for walk-ups. Uh, it, it looked like it was at least half the restaurant was held for walk-up
[00:12:01] Heather: we never had a tr a problem just getting in somewhere.
[00:12:04] Dan: right. So don't get discouraged if you're looking at the app and you see, oh, there's no reservations available. That's because they don't hold them air reservations.
I will say though, it seemed like the restaurants were the busiest on the last night of the cruise. I think that might be because there's not a big theater show, and also it's the last night, so people are kind
[00:12:24] Jeff: Gotta try that. One thing they didn't get to
[00:12:27] Heather: Another
[00:12:28] Dan: little bit more trouble walking up that night. But other than that,
[00:12:32] Heather: interesting cuz that's the night that we walked up to Wake and got right
[00:12:35] Jeff: the wake had that's, uh, the biggest of the restaurants cuz it's multiple large areas. It looks like maybe it was gonna be two, two restaurants at one point and they just opened it all up as the wake. It's a high end steakhouse. Really, really good. Every piece of food I put in my mouth was amazing.
[00:12:52] Heather: And another tip that I didn't catch onto till about halfway through is they have brunch every day in razzle dazzle and the wake. And I never got to try those. So that's, that's what I'm looking forward to. Trying next time.
[00:13:07] Dan: I think the Mexican place does breakfast
[00:13:09] Heather: Oh, the Mexican place.
[00:13:11] Jeff: Mm. Could I give um, the Mexican corn omelet?
[00:13:15] Heather: Oh,
[00:13:16] Jeff: I made a fool of myself. The Mexican place there is not like your typical sloppy burrito Mexican place you may be used to at home in love, but this was kind of high end like craft Mexican small plates ish. But they had a Mexican, deconstructed Mexican street corn there that I myself had 14 bowls of
[00:13:36] Heather: I think that was my favorite place as far as the Food Gun Bay was my favorite overall experience because the food
[00:13:43] Jeff: so much fun.
[00:13:45] Heather: were great and it was fun. But the food at that Mexican place, I had this pork dish that, ugh, I wanted to take seven bowls of it home with me.
It was so good.
[00:13:54] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:55] Heather: Delicious.
[00:13:57] Jeff: Yeah. I think immigration does not let you bring bowls of pork, pre-cooked pork from the night before into the US
[00:14:06] Heather: in this Ziploc bag? Gross.
[00:14:10] Jeff: It was good. I had a, I had a steak that night. It was really excellent. It was like steak and mole sauce. You, dan had duck. That was amazing. All, all the side foods were good and they bring you tortillas so you can make a, a little taco out of anything you've ordered. I like that.
[00:14:27] Heather: mean, I kept hearing from everybody who I'd know who had already been on that, just, you're gonna be blown away by the food and no lies detected. It, it was excellent.
[00:14:39] Jeff: And these are people that also think the food on other cruises is great. So I was like, ah, we'll see, cuz I, I always find cruise food to be sort of medium everywhere.
[00:14:49] Heather: I mean, the other places, for example, Disney Cruise Line, I find the food in PA and Ashanta and, uh, Remy to be outstanding. But the rest of it is just, you know, it's just good.
[00:15:01] Jeff: Very mid. Yeah. And it's hard to mass produce. They're, they're feeding 3000 people at one sitting. That's impossible to do in a craft way. And that's what's nice about this. You just order what you want and you eat when you want. And there's never more than 150 or so people seated at a time. So it works like a normal restaurant.
[00:15:19] Heather: the pizza and the hot dogs?
[00:15:21] Jeff: Yes. In addition to the regular restaurants, they have a pizza place that's open till one 30 in the morning. That is a real,
[00:15:29] Dan: the
[00:15:30] Heather: the
[00:15:30] Jeff: yeah. That is . That's really knowing your audience because they, people are out partying till one o'clock and then that place is stacked at one 30. People bring in pizzas back to bed.
[00:15:41] Heather: who, yeah. Who took one to two pizzas back to his room every night.
[00:15:46] Jeff: Yeah.
[00:15:46] Dan: the key, the key was he, as he put it, this is, this is sober me thinking about drunk me later. Uh, so, so it just became a regular stop every day in the evening after dinner, you go to the pizza place, get your supplies for later in the night, take him back to your room and then go out and
[00:16:01] Jeff: Stop off and get your bed pizza.
[00:16:04] Heather: Which was right next door to lick me till I scream the ice cream shop. Oh. Which is,
[00:16:11] Jeff: really great. Ice cream shop. None. Again, nothing extra. They have treat counters and ice cream and like on Disney Cruise line, they have a sweet shop in a ice cream place. It's an upcharge for like four 50 or something for a scoop of ice cream. This is all included and they had some fun, great flavors like lavender and, uh, the, yeah, so yummy.
[00:16:33] Dan: them daily. They ha they have a one or two rotating flavors daily. Um, should also add that, like, at that spot, just like at other places, they are very mindful of like, there's a sugar free option. There was, um,
[00:16:49] Heather: Gluten, gluten-free cones.
[00:16:52] Dan: gluten-free cones.
[00:16:54] Jeff: cones, they had in different flavors. So you could get a traditional waffle cone or a red velvet cone. That one was good. A chocolate cone.
[00:17:01] Heather: several times, which was vanilla, which is odd, but
[00:17:05] Dan: Mm.
[00:17:05] Jeff: beans are black,
[00:17:07] Heather: It was delicious. And it makes for a cool Instagram shot of your ice cream cone in the black cone.
[00:17:15] Dan: in front of the
[00:17:15] Heather: Yes.
[00:17:17] Jeff: so that pizza place, it was the gra, the longest we ever waited for pizza was about 15 minutes. And the other 17 times I went by there, you could get 'em at about five.
[00:17:26] Heather: I ate so
[00:17:27] Dan: And you can also pick up a, you can also pick up Caesar salad at that spot to go. Um, and they had beer
[00:17:34] Heather: I never tried the hotdogs. You guys were raving about the
[00:17:37] Jeff: dude. Yeah. So in an area called the Social Club, it's got uh, uh, it's kind a classic arcade and a little small diner. Then it has foosball tables, air hockey tables, shuffleboard, all these other games all included. They arcades are, games are wide open. You don't have to put quarters in or anything, but they have a counter there.
That's popcorn, which was great. Popcorn and is open late. And then hotdogs like a weird thing, but I love a hotdog. So I had a, I had a, oh, and then boozy milkshakes
[00:18:11] Dan: They're yeah, floats.
[00:18:13] Jeff: and those, those cost extra because they were, uh, boozy, but they were eight to $9 depending on which one you got. And then the hotdogs are all included.
But I had a Ruben hotdog that had,
[00:18:25] Dan: Oh man.
[00:18:26] Jeff: had the corn, beef and the crowd and the thousand island on top of a hotdog and a really good bun. Super good. And then the Philly one, I went back for that a couple of times. It was the peppers and onions and the
[00:18:40] Dan: night. It was a
[00:18:40] Jeff: peppers and onions, and then the chopped steak and the cheese sauce over the top of the whole thing.
It was very messy, but very delicious.
[00:18:48] Dan: Yeah. I really enjoy the hotdogs where you put an entire other sandwich on top
[00:18:52] Jeff: Yes, you too. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:18:55] Dan: That's, that's, that's what you call indulgence?
[00:18:57] Jeff: what they needed to, uh, team up with the crew down the hall and put one of those pizzas on top of one of those
[00:19:03] Heather: Oh, yum.
[00:19:05] Jeff: if you could get something, a hotdog with part of that white, white pizza on there,
[00:19:09] Heather: mm-hmm.
[00:19:10] Dan: Yeah. Or, or cut up the hot dogs and put them on top
[00:19:13] Jeff: or stop off at the hotdog place and head to the pizza
[00:19:16] Heather: then go get a pizza
[00:19:17] Jeff: But at that same counter where they did the hotdogs and the milkshakes, et cetera, they have a sweet treat counter, and they have, uh, like rice crispy treats, but made out of different cereals. They have those kind of thing. They had cake pops, they had fudge, they had multiple kinds of fudge brownies.
Yeah. All different sweets. You can, you could just stop off every time you walk by and get a cake pop.
[00:19:39] Heather: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:40] Jeff: so good and so, so inclusive. The chocolate cake pop was really good, but the one that got me was the birthday cake pop. So it had all the birthday weird confetti stuff inside of the cake pop. And it wasn't like a little like a Starbucks with a little meatball size cake on top of a stick.
This was like a big hunk of cake kind of
[00:20:01] Heather: like a more like an ice cream bar
[00:20:03] Jeff: Yeah, like a, yeah. Speaking of ice cream bars, they have that too. Uh, you can get 'em all day long in the, uh, canteen or the galley.
[00:20:12] Heather: chocolate.
[00:20:14] Dan: Uh, yeah. It's, it's actually a Popsicle stand. They had, uh, guava. Guava mango. They had a raspberry one. There was a third one that I can't recall, and they had a banana popsicle that was dipped in chocolate, so it looked like a ice cream bar. And that was phenomenal. It was really good. Um, yeah. Yeah, those were good.
[00:20:35] Heather: and then lots and lots of bars. Bars everywhere. No one will be shocked that my favorite was sip. The champagne bar?
[00:20:43] Jeff: You know what? I didn't even drink champagne in there. It just had a beautiful, mellow vibe. It was a good throughway. So you got to see all the people, great people watching there, but, but never too loud and never
[00:20:54] Heather: had that one drink. That was bourbon and champagne and what
[00:20:59] Jeff: Yeah, it was sort of like a French 75, but with bourbon,
[00:21:03] Dan: Oh
[00:21:03] Jeff: it was a bullet. Bullet, rye and champagne and citrus.
[00:21:08] Heather: I love that place. They really had a bar vibe for everyone. Everywhere.
[00:21:13] Dan: The whole sixth and seventh deck. It's like a series of hotel lobby bars from different hotels that have a different flavor. So, so you've got the sip. Then down below they've got that kind of dark green lounge that the drinks were all kind of sailor themed, but very high end, fancy sailor themed.
And they had musical acts down there. Um, down towards the, uh, back of, uh, the ship, there was, uh, that dock house inside seating area that they
[00:21:43] Jeff: that was gorgeous.
[00:21:45] Dan: that were more like a bed and
[00:21:46] Jeff: was like kind of wicker and cord and that kind of look.
[00:21:50] Dan: Yeah, it's, it was a Mediterranean kind of place.
[00:21:54] Heather: Yeah. They had Mediterranean, small bite snacky type things there too.
[00:21:58] Dan: yeah, they had the magical red flag that you raise and your wa your waiter shows up for you. More bar. I mean so many bars. The loose cannon, it was really loud in there, but that's where they have the gigantic stunt drinks. They have the octopus, is shots that are in like six ounce
[00:22:15] Heather: Okay. It was basically a cocktail sized shot.
[00:22:18] Jeff: Yeah, they were big. They were in like a rocks class.
[00:22:21] Dan: Yeah. And they, they, but they serve it to you on this octopus, metal octopus. And each arm is holding a, a glass. They
[00:22:28] Heather: it was delicious. I can't remember what was in it, but it was
[00:22:31] Jeff: Yeah. It's like an octopus statue holding five my ties essentially
[00:22:35] Dan: Yeah. It's kinda like a my
[00:22:36] Heather: we then pounded
[00:22:37] Dan: cream in it. Yes. I insisted that everybody drink them like a shot. Since they're described as giant shots, they also have a tiki bowl type drink that's in a gigantic clam shell, white clam
[00:22:50] Jeff: You, you had that one, right, Dan?
[00:22:52] Dan: Yeah.
[00:22:53] Jeff: Was that good?
[00:22:54] Dan: was like, yeah, it was good. It was, it was gin and and, uh, Yes, that's what I said.
Or, and, uh, some other stuff.
[00:23:04] Heather: It's only been about a month since I've known exactly how to pronounce that. Jeff sent me a little, did you know
[00:23:10] Jeff: Yeah, I had no idea.
[00:23:13] Dan: I'd just like to say almond.
[00:23:15] Heather: Mm-hmm.
[00:23:16] Dan: Yeah. Uh, but that
[00:23:17] Heather: I saw at one point just outside Loose Cannon, they were playing beer pong one evening.
[00:23:23] Jeff: Yeah, it's pronounced or.
[00:23:25] Heather: or
[00:23:26] Dan: Oria, and that's another thing. There's all these activities on board, but it's not like, well, they have the shuffle board tables, but they're the table kind, not on the deck. It's, they're fun and funky activities all over the
[00:23:37] Heather: all over.
[00:23:39] Dan: I think it was the first night or the second night, they had college games in the, which I don't know if they had anything other than beer pong, but they were playing beer pong in the social
[00:23:47] Heather: I think they did play a few others.
[00:23:49] Jeff: had others we just left before it was over. And that's what I like there. There's these pop-up activities and maybe, you know, I like, I'm an elderly person so I'm like, I'm not playing beer pong with these young people. But you don't have to, it doesn't take over the whole boat or anything. So you can wander out of there and go find a quiet spot
[00:24:07] Heather: And they had some typical cruise stuff, like trivia. Lots of different kinds
[00:24:12] Jeff: lots of trivia, lots of pop-up, karaoke all over the
[00:24:15] Dan: Yeah. Yeah. They had a speed jigsaw puzzle competition. Uh, that the prize was booze, I
[00:24:22] Heather: Yes. It was a, it was a big drink. Uh, some folks in our group won that one. They put together a jigsaw, what was it? 3, 3,
[00:24:30] Jeff: 300 piece jigsaw puzzle.
[00:24:32] Heather: in like 20 minutes.
[00:24:33] Jeff: Yeah, that would take me two weeks.
[00:24:36] Dan: right. . Yeah. Uh, they also have, I mean, they do have a bingo night. I don't know if any of our agents went to that, but I imagine that it was not your
[00:24:43] Jeff: They had drag bingo.
[00:24:45] Heather: drag queen
[00:24:46] Dan: Oh, it's drag
[00:24:46] Heather: of the nights. Yet. I think they did a, they did a couple of different versions of bingo, but there was a drag bingo, which I'm sad I didn't go to that one.
[00:24:55] Jeff: they have a bunch of different exercise classes too. So in the main theater that is, that is also the main theater. That's also where they do the shows at night. Sometimes there's bleachers in there, sometimes there's not. It's flat. It's very, um, transformable. But we walked by one time and they had the one side of, it was a stage where they were doing Zumba class
[00:25:18] Dan: Oh yeah, yeah, they do. Uh, they have a, a deck, a platform at the very highest deck level where they do sunrise yoga classes. There's the running track. They've got a boxing gym area where they
[00:25:33] Heather: Yeah. Didn't you hurt your hand in there?
[00:25:36] Dan: Yeah, I, I
[00:25:37] Jeff: basketball court.
[00:25:39] Dan: Took a few swings at the heavy
[00:25:40] Heather: the, the way they broke up the gym was interesting. One whole side of the ship was like, um, Peloton style spin bikes, and then the other side was treadmills and weights, and so that both of them could have nice, big views of the sea while you were
[00:25:58] Dan: all of the machines face outwards to the big floor
[00:26:02] Jeff: Yeah, and then all the weight room and all that stuff was separate.
[00:26:05] Heather: Yep. But all those fitness classes that were included, there were tons of them. You went to a boy band fitness class that was
[00:26:13] Dan: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I,
[00:26:14] Heather: songs.
[00:26:15] Dan: I didn't stay for the whole time, but I did stay, they had a, a nineties boy band dance class that, uh, looked like fun. Um, like I said, there's lots of yoga. Their whole thing is they say you spend the morning detoxing so that you CanOx at
[00:26:29] Heather: yes. yes.
[00:26:31] Jeff: I kept the, um, detox part and just kept detoxing.
[00:26:35] Heather: kept on going.
[00:26:38] Dan: you just kept to talk.
[00:26:38] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:40] Dan: But so yeah, that, I mean, it's, it's something for everyone. If you want to work out an exercise, you can. If you don't, you can
[00:26:46] Heather: you don't have to, that's, that was what I was struck by on this cruise line is it really seems to be something for everyone. If you hate dressing up for dinner, you don't have to. If you love dressing up for dinner, go ahead
[00:27:01] Jeff: I never wore long pants the whole time.
[00:27:03] Heather: but we saw a mix. If, if you're the type of person who wants to change and dress up and go, go to dinner, go for it.
Nobody's gonna look at you weird walking around in a ballgown at night. But if you wanna roll up in shorts and a t-shirt, you can
[00:27:17] Jeff: It was very be yourself and yourself can be any kind of person. When they first launched this cruise line, I think they went a little hard with the avant-garde marketing. I wasn't sure if some people were gonna think it was a little too young or a little too party or a little too rowdy or a little too gay, or a little too anything.
And there's some of all of it. And that's what's so great. Like we had a mix of people from mid twenties to, I'm in my mid fifties, so, and we all loved it.
[00:27:49] Heather: Yeah. And it
[00:27:49] Dan: the ship itself had people up to their mid
[00:27:52] Jeff: Oh yeah. We saw some very old people that on multi, uh, generational family cruise trips that were all having fun and all in different ways in all in ways they probably didn't expect to. There was some really old people at the Scarlet Night Party on deck, which we'll get to, uh, later, but that very old people really having a good time and shaking their
[00:28:13] Heather: life, you know, just all kinds of different people.
[00:28:17] Dan: Right. And that's,
[00:28:18] Heather: boozy painting class that I was expecting it was gonna be like traditional, you know, we're going to paint this sunset on this canvas. And it was sh little, uh, ceramic sugar skulls and we just could do whatever we wanted while drinking champagne.
[00:28:35] Dan: to the point that Jeff made about, you know, there's, there's all of those things. So there's something for everybody, but nothing is up in your face and all over the place. If you want to find the certain vibe, you can go find it.
[00:28:48] Jeff: Yep.
[00:28:48] Dan: for it. But it's there. But you're not, nobody's forced into any situation that they're not uncomfortable
[00:28:54] Jeff: Absolutely.
[00:28:55] Dan: You know, it's all, it really is inclusive
[00:28:58] Heather: of the ship too. How everything was spread out was, so there's something everywhere, like even the salon spa type of thing. There's one section where your go, you go for massages and body treatments. There's a,
[00:29:11] Jeff: male place.
[00:29:12] Heather: there's a nail place, there's a tattoo parlor
[00:29:15] Jeff: Yeah, they had a hip, hip little area there that was all these high end shops and gift shops. And then it had a record store, and then there's a tattoo parlor, which Heather got a tattoo. And then, uh, next to that was a, like a gentleman's, what'd they call it? Who? The bar, like the barbery or whatever. But it was like a hipster barber shop where you could get a shave and a facial or whatever.
But it was very sort of, yeah, like
[00:29:44] Dan: it was
[00:29:44] Jeff: hipster pirate. Yeah. Stub and groom. That was
[00:29:47] Dan: stubble and groom. Yeah. Uh, they'll do a, they'll do a, a high, a fancy, um, hot towel, straight razor shave, and you can upgrade it to add on either a beer or a glass of whiskey to enjoy while you're being shaved. Um, and they also do regular
[00:30:02] Heather: next to that was the dry dock. That was a, a blowout bar for just
[00:30:07] Jeff: I never saw anyone in there.
[00:30:08] Heather: I did and I alm, I thought about going to do it, but I ran out of
[00:30:13] Jeff: There's a concept I was shocked to even know existed. First time I was in Vegas there was a dry bar and I'm like, what is this? People go there, ladies go there and get their hair dried and whatever. Styled.
[00:30:26] Heather: and dried, it's, you know, you get a style and maybe, maybe an updo for a fancy night or maybe you're just tired of having to
[00:30:34] Jeff: Maybe you just don't even wanna hold your arms up and blow dry your hair. Yeah,
[00:30:39] Dan: Well, and that reminds me too, in addition to like the fitness classes, they also have wellness classes. And so there were things like, uh, how to turn your bathroom at home into a spa and give yourself home facials
[00:30:53] Heather: Oh, wow.
[00:30:53] Jeff: it was crazy the amount of things. There was a sex, there was a sex advice. Uh, Show that they had, it was sort of half comedy and half like Dr. Ru, like a hip Dr. Ruth kind of show. And it was apparently pretty risque. But also, again, you don't have to go, it's, it's not out in the open.
[00:31:11] Heather: it's not gonna be you. You won't even notice that it's happening
[00:31:14] Jeff: And since there are no kids anywhere, it just makes it so,
[00:31:19] Dan: right
[00:31:19] Jeff: uh, so
[00:31:20] Dan: was stuff like, there was stuff like, uh, before our, our beach day, they had classes of, here's ideas for makeup and hair looks for your perfect beach day look. And before Scarlet Night there was like, Hey, here's ideas for party updos and makeup
[00:31:35] Heather: Mm-hmm. . Oh, wasn't there a class on? Instagram Photography for your food
[00:31:41] Jeff: Yes. I wish I had known I wanted to take that.
[00:31:44] Dan: there's Instagram, food, photography. There was also one where they taught you how to make and photograph, uh, beverages.
[00:31:52] Heather: I need to do that
[00:31:53] Jeff: Yeah, I'm doing that next.
[00:31:55] Dan: also.
[00:31:55] Heather: Yeah.
[00:31:56] Dan: Um,
[00:31:56] Jeff: They also, speaking of Scarlet Night, not just on Scarlet Night, but they also had, um, in the sort of center area of the ship on deck seven as you went by, they would set up and do different things. Like, um, they had a thing where ladies or men, anybody that wanted to, could get jewels applied to their face, like, be dazzling your face.
And that was free. So, uh, we were with a big group and , I didn't see the table. We just wandered into one lounge and here's 25 of our ladies sitting there with diamonds all over their
[00:32:28] Heather: Yes. That. Wait, that happened several nights in
[00:32:31] Jeff: that was, that was
[00:32:32] Dan: And that was, that was like run by. And that's something we could mention. The entertainment team, the entertainment crew, there's not happenings cast. That's what it is. They, it's not just like one cruise director who's yelling at you over the. Over the intercom. Come play shuffleboard, come play bingo or whatever.
It's there. These people are roaming the ship and they set up and they do these little events in different parts of the public areas
[00:32:57] Heather: had a little magician experience one night when we were just sitting in the
[00:33:01] Jeff: Might, might be a game or an up close magician or a dance like you're just somewhere and a dance breaks out. You don't know what's gonna happen in karaoke and pop-up photography studios,
[00:33:13] Dan: right. And then, and, and then those people might, if you're lucky, invites you to come somewhere for a special experience where the magician does a private magic show in a, I don't know where, because I, we didn't get invited. But he'll, he'll say, Hey, come, I'm, I'm doing a special show.
Come do this. Or some other members of the team, uh, uh, they, they'll invite you to a special place for a special happening that only a handful of people get to experience. And so
[00:33:39] Jeff: where you wake up the next morning in a bathtub full of ice and your kidneys missing.
[00:33:43] Heather: that's true. I, I don't think that happened.
[00:33:45] Dan: no, but that's, that's why they told us always say
[00:33:48] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:48] Heather: by Jeff Williams,
[00:33:50] Jeff: Yeah, that is not true.
[00:33:52] Dan: Yeah. But it is true that you should always say yes
[00:33:54] Heather: say yes.
[00:33:55] Dan: they are looking to make special experiences for everybody to make the crews
[00:33:59] Jeff: Yeah, so like if you enjoyed this little taste of whatever dance or karaoke or
[00:34:05] Heather: or the magic When
[00:34:06] Jeff: twirling or a magic guy, then come to this and then they get people that they know are gonna enjoy to go to another show that might be in a smaller room somewhere. Pretty cool.
[00:34:16] Dan: Right. And then they have some shows in the big rooms that, especially that red room that are pretty spectacular. I only managed to see
[00:34:24] Heather: dual reality.
[00:34:25] Dan: into dual reality, which is amazing. So Jeff mentioned this room transforms, uh, for whatever they're using the space for dual reality. They do kind of two on, on the opposing sides of the room.
They've. Tiered stadium seating, and then there's a wide alley down the middle and it's an acrobatic take on Romeo and Juliet and holy
[00:34:47] Jeff: was incredible.
[00:34:48] Dan: somebody almost cream their face on the floor was
[00:34:52] Heather: the take the, the, the link to Romeo and Juliet was a little tenuous for me, but the whole thing was so cool. I
[00:34:59] Jeff: Yeah. So, and when you come in, they give you either red side or blue side. So all the blue sits on one side, red sits on the other. They give you these wristbands. So then it comes out and it's like what? It's like a street fight is happening, which I, you know, that's obviously the monague or.
[00:35:17] Heather: love a good dance
[00:35:18] Jeff: Yeah. And so it's like a cross between fighting and dance.
And then they start like from there going into a little bit more acr acrobatic. And so people are doing like high climbing stuff on poles and acrobatics, and then like all sorts of stuff starts getting in. So it turns into a contest where like the blue and the red, or rather than being the family's fighting, it's they're competing in who can do the most amazing acrobatics.
And then of course you a blue falls in love with a red and all this, but it's, it's musical, it's dance, it's acrobatics, it's de crazy death defying stuff. People sliding down poles, holding on just by their legs, with their hands behind their back towards the thing. And who could get the closest before smashing their face.
They measured and it was a contest, like some of the high flying Adventurers were incredible.
[00:36:10] Dan: and the vibe in that room was amazing because each side really got into cheering for their color. And, and that was encouraged a little bit with some of the soundtrack and stuff, but it was like the, it was like being a, a spectator at a sports event, and, and everybody was cheering and it was really high energy.
[00:36:28] Jeff: but then being, you know, whatever it turned into, let's all love each other kind of thing at the end. Which, the way they pulled that off, I won't spoil it here, but it was just fantastic and everybody left there feeling great. Wow. Those people are talented.
[00:36:44] Heather: Yeah. They
[00:36:44] Dan: you all see any of the other shows in there?
[00:36:46] Heather: No,
[00:36:47] Jeff: Mm-hmm. , that was another thing. I, I didn't look, I didn't look at much of what was available before we went. So the first couple of nights we had dinners at the time of the big shows, and they do them multiple times of night, but it just didn't work out the first couple of days to see the other two big shows
[00:37:07] Heather: One of the nights they have a, like a dinner in a show. So you're in, uh, I think is that one, I
[00:37:13] Jeff: that was in the manner.
[00:37:15] Dan: was in the, that one sounded really good though. It was like a variety show and they do weird
[00:37:18] Jeff: The manner is a sometimes dance club. Sometimes they do shows and then sometimes sex Advice talk seminar, but it's a two story place with a stage, and then upstairs from there was you could enter from this floor above and it had a wraparound balcony with two bars, seats, and then tables along the edge.
[00:37:42] Heather: The dinner in a show, one you really needed a reservation for, obviously, because it's limited seating, so I highly recommend getting a reservation for that in advance.
[00:37:52] Jeff: So we mentioned Scarlet Night, the in addition they had pajama party night. So one night like what, when did that start? Like 10 o'clock after dinners and stuff? Yeah, they had a pajama party. So it being virgin voyages, a lot of the pajamas were red. But you start suddenly seeing people in new Jamie's coming out.
Some were like ridiculous, big fuzzy jammies and slippers. Some were more like a little sexier, depend. You could dress in however you like, whether you know, and you see some, you see some things cuz there's no kids around it. It wasn't naked but it was, you know, smaller pajamas on some than others . But they have pajama nights so everybody's just like mingling in the bars and stuff around the ship.
And then it all gears towards, they open up that big manor club and there's a huge dance party with everybody wearing
[00:38:40] Heather: Mm-hmm.
[00:38:41] Dan: well usually that actually takes place outside on the back deck. It rained, uh, the night that it was for our crews, um, that usually I think, centers around the deck where the uh, where the net is that
[00:38:54] Jeff: Oh, your dance party deck.
[00:38:56] Dan: yeah. Um, but they moved it inside cuz of the
[00:38:59] Heather: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:00] Dan: for
[00:39:01] Jeff: well it worked great in there
[00:39:02] Heather: another thing that's great to mention is wifi is free.
[00:39:07] Jeff: and it rocks.
[00:39:09] Heather: there is an option. If you are someone who does a lot of you, you wanna do a lot of streaming or, you know, heavy data uploads, stuff like that. There's a $50 option for the entire length of your cruise, but you really don't need
[00:39:22] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:23] Heather: is free
[00:39:24] Jeff: because we were doing a lot of social media posting and video uploads. I did do, we did do the, the upgrade, but even that was $60 for the whole length of
[00:39:34] Heather: And it was fast.
[00:39:35] Jeff: of the cruise. And I probably didn't even need that upgrade, but like,
[00:39:40] Dan: did a lot of, I did a lot of video uploads for, uh, the company's socials, and I did not upgrade
[00:39:46] Jeff: You didn't upgrade. Yeah.
[00:39:48] Heather: And there's so much entertainment on your, um, state room tv that if you really did wanna watch a show or a movie or there was a ton of it,
[00:39:57] Jeff: Ton of different stuff.
[00:39:59] Heather: I couple times put on a movie while I was ju, you know, showering, getting ready for bed at night was really great stuff.
[00:40:08] Dan: Let's talk about those state rooms
[00:40:09] Heather: Ooh, yes.
[00:40:10] Dan: They're, they're something else. They're high tech. They're comfortable. They're, they're roomy. We all had sea. Most of the rooms are, are balcony or what they call a sea terrace room. And they all have a, a hammock on,
[00:40:23] Jeff: That's so
[00:40:24] Heather: Everybody was loving the hammock
[00:40:26] Jeff: Yeah, and there was the type of hammock that strung where you can just sit upright, sort of like in a swing or you can lean back a little or it'll stretch out where you can lay all the way out and have your feet kicked up looking at the ocean while you sail. Pretty great
[00:40:39] Dan: sleep, yeah.
[00:40:41] Jeff: or sleep
[00:40:41] Heather: And I, I think so. The, the beds will transform into a couch. They used to have it so that when you, when you boarded, it was in couch mode. I think they found that a lot of people don't like that. They want the, they wanted it to be a traditional bed most of the time. So now you have to ask for it if you
[00:41:01] Jeff: I think that's the all adult, all adult spontaneity nature of the cruise that people wanted the bed ready at all times.
[00:41:10] Dan: Well, part of their thinking was that you might wanna host parties in your room or have guests come in and sit with you, and it really does open up the room. I had, uh, I had mine converted to the couch one day just so that I could get photos and video of it. In that mode, it's really easy. So you've got a tablet in your cabin that is like the nerve center for your room, and you can request room service on there.
You can request cleaning. You can ask for the bed to be converted to a couch or back to a bed. And it also controls your lights, uh, your desk light, your overhead lights, and it has some fun. Built in mood lighting settings. If you're, if you're hungover, it's makes all the
[00:41:49] Jeff: Yeah, there's one called Hangover
[00:41:52] Dan: and it closes your blackout curtains to your terrace so that it's nice and calm in there.
There's uh, pumped up mode where it opens up your curtains
[00:42:01] Jeff: Turns on all the lights.
[00:42:03] Dan: photo shoot mode that kind of gives it kind of a warm golden rose gold kind of
[00:42:09] Jeff: Kind of a boudoir photo shoot. Style lighting.
[00:42:11] Dan: Well, well then there's get it on mode where it's . All the lights go red except for one bright spotlight on your bed and they
[00:42:19] Jeff: Well, it depends cuz mine was over the middle of my floor cuz my bed was on the far end. So the light wasn't, uh, wasn't over the bed.
[00:42:28] Heather: those spotlights too in my room. I played around with all the
[00:42:31] Jeff: But when you hit on the Get it on one, it not only do all the lights turn red, the curtains close and all that, but the TV comes on and plays like a or like sexy music. It's funny,
[00:42:42] Dan: Yeah. Yeah. So that was fun to play with. But, um, yeah, I mean, the room, it's not huge, but it was,
[00:42:49] Heather: very comfortable. And, uh, we had, um, Excel c terrace rooms, which give you, I really liked,
[00:42:57] Jeff: I think it was about five more feet, and most of that was in the bathroom. I think all of that was in
[00:43:02] Heather: about it. The bathroom was much larger and it had a, the toilet was separated from the rest of the bathroom with a door, and I like that better. And the, the closet's not right there.
When you opened the door, the closet was a little bigger,
[00:43:17] Jeff: and
[00:43:17] Heather: just a little bit more room. I, I really liked
[00:43:21] Jeff: there not much more. I noticed when I was price shopping afterwards, there's. Few hundred bucks. Difference in the sea tears. Yeah.
[00:43:29] Dan: Yeah.
[00:43:30] Heather: But then they also have suites, which are really quite spectacular. They have several different categories of suites.
[00:43:39] Jeff: called Rockstar.
[00:43:40] Heather: all the way up to the mega rock star suite that has a guitar room with Yeah.
[00:43:45] Jeff: Yeah.
[00:43:47] Heather: all of the suites.
[00:43:48] Jeff: I'd love to be rooming next to that guy with just like a guy that doesn't know how to play guitars, playing guitars,
[00:43:54] Heather: All of the suites have a turntable in them, which I thought was cool. Um, not all of them
[00:44:00] Jeff: Oh, that makes sense cuz they sell records. They have a virgin being virgin. They have a record store in the, in the lobby atrium area,
[00:44:09] Dan: And then the higher category of the sweets. So they've got the rockstar quarters, they've got mega rockstar quarters, and then that biggest one in the guitar suite is the massive rockstar quarters. If you're mega or higher, part of what you get included is, uh, they'll stock your room with a bar, which is.
Included in your fair. Um, plus you get daily bar tab to use anywhere else around the ship. Uh, you can get two bottles of wine per day up to a $90 value on those bottles of wine. So you can really, if you're of the mindset to put some alcohol away, you can
[00:44:48] Jeff: I've never really been in that mindset. I wouldn't
[00:44:51] Heather: not true.
[00:44:52] Jeff: Not much of a drinker.
[00:44:54] Dan: Um,
[00:44:55] Heather: Not much of a non-drinker either.
[00:44:58] Jeff: No.
[00:45:00] Dan: a happy medium.
[00:45:00] Jeff: Right in the middle.
[00:45:02] Dan: Yeah. Um, every, everybody raved about those sea terrace rooms. They're,
[00:45:07] Heather: Mm-hmm. really comfortable. I, I thought they were great.
[00:45:10] Dan: Yeah.
[00:45:12] Jeff: Yeah, the bed is comfy. Everyth, I, it was, it was an interest, little bit different of a look at first when I had seen pictures of them online. I thought, well, this looks a little bit like an IKEA showroom, which it kind of had that multifunction vibe, but it, it worked and it really felt a lot more open than a lot of other cruise lines I've been on.
[00:45:32] Dan: Yeah, I really appreciated. There were some thoughtful things like those, they, it could be like an end table on your bed, or it could be a little desk shelf in front of your chair in your room, or it could be turned on its side and be like a lap table if you're sitting in bed.
[00:45:52] Jeff: made great use of that because I use a C P A P machine when I sleep, and so I pulled that around to the side of my bed and my C P A PS sat on that, which left the built-in like shelf part of the side of the bed for like my chargers, my phone and all that kind of stuff. And usually I have a lot of trouble with where to put a c Pap P on a cruise ship cuz there's no surface big enough to put one on.
That was great for me.
[00:46:18] Dan: Yeah. So they definitely put a lot of thought into making
[00:46:20] Jeff: And hooks on the wall to hang hats and things that, a lot of that plenty of plugs.
[00:46:25] Heather: your pet peeve when they, there are no hooks. All
[00:46:29] Jeff: that every hotel room or a cruise state room should have hooks so you can hang lanyards or not in this case you don't need 'em, but lanyards or coats or whatever, hats and things that you need right by your door. So when you walk out, you grab it.
[00:46:44] Dan: Yeah. Yeah. They really put a lot of thought into making the space as usable as possible,
[00:46:52] Heather: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:53] Dan: even without being huge.
[00:46:54] Heather: I really loved one interesting, unique little feature that, uh, is, is, uh, only a virgin thing, uh, where you shake the, you open the app and you shake your phone and it's summons a bottle of champagne to you. Shake for champagne
[00:47:10] Jeff: Yeah.
[00:47:11] Dan: you are
[00:47:11] Heather: wherever
[00:47:12] Jeff: uses your Bluetooth and your g p s to come walk right to you, and they get within a few feet. And then you realize there's a gentleman with a bucket of Moe and Chandon. I, uh,
[00:47:24] Heather: so
[00:47:25] Jeff: not ice. They didn't have, it was the imperial, nice bucket of champagne for you. How many glasses do you need? Because everywhere you are is near a bar.
So they bring the champagne, then they go get your glasses if you need extra.
[00:47:36] Heather: them, and if you need more, they'll run over to the bar and get you some, and it's a cool little thing. Your whole screen turns into bubbles
[00:47:44] Jeff: it's a cute gimmick, and it was 95 bucks for a bottle, which actually is a pretty fair price for that bottle of champagne anywhere on land even. And they bring it right to you. And so the novelty of it is great because it makes people very routinely spend a hundred dollars on a bottle of something
[00:48:01] Dan: Oh yeah. Yeah.
[00:48:03] Heather: Which I did.
[00:48:05] Jeff: which that could, that could lead us into talking about the app. Almost everything you do is on the Virgin Voyages app, which in concept is awesome in actual working it, it needs some work and it is working. They're only a year and a half or two years, I guess, old this, uh, line. So the wifi works great. The app was kind of hit and miss
[00:48:29] Dan: yeah. Sometimes some dining reservations would disappear or I had a couple of issues where people added me onto their reservation, but
[00:48:38] Jeff: and you didn't know
[00:48:39] Dan: complete, it didn't, it just never went through. I would never actually got added on to the reservation, although they could see me on from their end.
[00:48:46] Jeff: when you went to the restaurant itself, you'd be on it, but it might not show on your phone. So just little tweaks like that, you know, and developing an app from scratch for a cruise line developed from scratch. Of course, there's gonna be a few hiccups.
[00:48:59] Dan: yeah, there's a couple times when the. Just wouldn't load in for me. I kept getting an error
[00:49:05] Heather: Sadly,
[00:49:06] Dan: ended up having to delete it and reinstall the app, which it was kind of a big app, so that took a little while on the wifi. Um, but you know, it, it didn't ruin my day at all.
[00:49:19] Heather: Yeah. No, not at all.
[00:49:20] Jeff: there. I do think there were times there was stuff going on all over the ship that I might have attended had I known, but I wasn't able to see it all on the app. So I recommend they have stations throughout where you can pick up a paper list of all of the more just like the traditional thing, the activities list.
But even that didn't list, I don't think everything that was going on. So
[00:49:43] Dan: Yeah. There you have to. Yeah. I, I really recommend once you, if you're booked, then you can look at, once they post the event schedules, check those out because you do have to look in a couple of different places to see everything that's going on for the day.
[00:50:00] Jeff: yeah, there's events, there's happenings and there's shows, and so they're all different.
[00:50:05] Dan: Yeah. It would be nice if they were all in one place, but so you, you'll figure out how to navigate the app and you can find all that information.
You can also find the, uh, menus for all of the restaurants inside the app there to check out what they have, uh, in advance when you go to make a reservation, you have the option to look at the menu first before you click onto the reservation. So that was nice. I liked, I like, I always like to check on the menus and kind of make a plan ahead of time and then throw that plan
[00:50:32] Jeff: Yeah, and then it worked out perfectly cuz you didn't have to choose, they just brought everything
[00:50:36] Dan: Yeah. I'll have one of everything. And that solved that problem. Um, so yeah, that there is the app and you have to use it for everything, but it's not like you spend your entire day in looking at it
[00:50:50] Jeff: Yeah. That is a complaint I hear from our Disney clients all the time is that they feel like they have to spend too much time buried in the app to, to make reservations and do all the things. This really isn't that type of thing. You, you can definitely wanna look there to see what's going on and see what you might want to go to.
But also I never did and didn't care what I did cuz every bit of it was great. , I was just f happen upon things. I'm like, oh awesome. So you don't have to do a whole lot of pre-planning.
[00:51:20] Heather: Yeah.
[00:51:20] Dan: yeah,
[00:51:22] Heather: I also really enjoyed the ports that we visited on this one. We did Dominican days, so we went to Porto Plata, which is
[00:51:31] Jeff: I had never been. That's a gorgeous port. The port itself, I guess, uh, was only completed this new project they did. So it's sort of like, Uh, you get off and the docks are nice and whatever, and they have these little tuk tuk cabs that'll take you around within there that coming down the long gang plank, or not gang plank, whatever, I guess the pier to get to the main thing.
And then they've built this gorgeous port that has a huge duty free shops. Of course, there's that Diamonds International that exists in everywhere you go. Um, but then they've put in a beautiful area with tons of different restaurants, little bars, uh, cute stores, souvenir shops, all this stuff in a safe, nice environment where people aren't, Hey, hey, come let me give you a ride, and all that stuff that pressures you in.
Some, some, yeah. For new travelers, that's, uh, intimidating. This was very chill. They also had, and I've never seen this at any port, they had a beach and pool club. They had multiple bars, swim up bars, a huge pool that people were swimming in with dancers and all this stuff. So it was like a fun little party going on.
Swim up bars all free to use. They had changing rooms where you could change in and out of a, I didn't know, or I would've brought my bathing suit. Had no idea, but gorgeous beach club and then the beach there itself looked at the ship so you could get great beach time while looking at your cool ship. We got some great pictures from there.
There's neat photo ops all over. They have, for whatever reason, parrots and McCalls all over the place in the port, just in random trees. And so you, you can talk to the birds. I don't know. I just thought that was great. Probably 10 or 12 different restaurants and bars all in this port area.
[00:53:20] Dan: Yeah. You could,
[00:53:21] Jeff: This is before.
[00:53:22] Dan: a, if you don't have a virgin calls them a shore thing, an excursion book for the day. Yeah. You could, you could spend your day there. Just
[00:53:30] Jeff: we did
[00:53:31] Dan: at the pool there and it. It's a perfectly nice day.
[00:53:34] Jeff: Yeah, we were going to wander out more and see the city around Porta Plato there. But, uh, it started raining after we'd been in there a few hours and we just headed back. But had I known I would've brought my bathing suit and spent the day at that be the beach and pool area, cuz that was really nice. And the drinks are cheap.
[00:53:52] Heather: Yeah.
[00:53:53] Dan: Yeah. So, so at every port on every sailing with the shore things, they break 'em up into different, uh, kind of categories. They have, uh, high energy, kind of your adventure ones. They have cultural activities. They have high end ones that are usually like fine dining opportunities or something fancier.
Uh, and they also, yeah. And then they have Sir Richard, Exclusive Adventurers, which are super high end, once in a lifetime. Adventurers like, like scuba diving with hammerhead sharks type of things. Um, but porta platted, there was a lot of food stuff. There was, uh, a rum and chocolate tour that
[00:54:35] Heather: one seemed popular.
[00:54:36] Dan: the people with this, yeah, they went, they drank so
[00:54:39] Jeff: that with our crew
[00:54:40] Heather: Yeah.
[00:54:41] Dan: like, they sampled like six rums at each stop. And there was I think four stops. And they would let you tell them, do you want a single sample, a double or a triple? And the triple was like a full shot of rums. So you could, I mean, yeah, that, that sounded like a fun day for
[00:54:58] Jeff: There were cigar rolling. There were combinations of Roman cigar, if you're into that. There was some food tasting one, there was a cognac thing. There was all sorts of stuff to go do.
[00:55:09] Dan: uh, they'll take you out into the mountains to a family farm and grandma teaches you how to cook a traditional.
Dominican meal and then you sit outside on their farm and eat with them. I think they also show you how to
[00:55:21] Heather: That's cool.
[00:55:22] Dan: brooms from straw and then they teach you
[00:55:25] Jeff: Did they make you sweep the house?
[00:55:27] Dan: Yeah, earn your keep. Um, there's a cable card to the top of the mountain, which is like a park, a nature park up there and they take you on a tour of the park.
I jumped off of waterfalls and it was a life-changing experience.
[00:55:40] Heather: I have the
[00:55:40] Jeff: Yeah. How was that? Did they pick you up right at the port and take you somewhere?
[00:55:44] Dan: Yeah. They take you out, pick you up on the port, you take about a half hour bus ride out to this place. It's a national park that actually has, I think it was like there's like 27 waterfalls on this mountain that you could go through. So you go and they give you a locker to keep your stuff in. They provide life jackets, helmets, and water shoes for you to use, which was nice.
Uh, cuz you get very, very wet on this excursion then
[00:56:11] Jeff: it that much, huh?
[00:56:13] Dan: Yeah. . Yeah, we all did. Uh, you hike up the mountain, it's about a 700 foot, uh, elevation change. You get, you go up there, they, they do a forced breast period halfway up to make sure that nobody's going to have a heart attack or
[00:56:29] Heather: That's, that's nice.
[00:56:30] Dan: everybody sit
[00:56:31] Jeff: don't have to force me to rest.
[00:56:33] Dan: take a rest, and you go up and you take another rest at the top of the mountain, and then you jump into a fricking river.
And, uh, which goes through kind of like slot canyons with a smooth kind of curvy, cool
[00:56:44] Heather: yeah.
[00:56:45] Dan: Um, and there's a series of waterfalls that shoe. Some of 'em you slide down like natural water slides and there's two spots where you can jump if you want to. The first one is maybe a six foot jump, but then the last one you jump, it's a 20 foot drop down to the water and it's so intimidating.
My body tried to stay on land after I jumped the, the survival instant kicked in and it. Didn't want to go flying out in the mid air, but it was, it was amazing. And it was so cool cuz you, you kind of swim, walk wade from one stop to the other through this beautiful jungle river. So that was really cool.
And then they give you
[00:57:23] Jeff: looked pretty awesome
[00:57:25] Dan: yeah. Uh, they have a, a lunch afterwards. That's mostly traditional, uh, Dominican food, although they also have hotdogs for some reason. Um,
[00:57:34] Jeff: because all God's chilling is love, hotdogs.
[00:57:36] Dan: That's right. Um, and um, and that's all included for, uh, guests that are on the virgin ships. They give you a v i p wristband.
Um, other people might not get the v i p trip and they have to pay for lunch. But
[00:57:50] Heather: Ah,
[00:57:51] Dan: there from Virgin, you get a v i p
[00:57:53] Jeff: How much was that excursion?
[00:57:56] Dan: A hundred bucks. They have three different, they have,
[00:57:58] Jeff: a
[00:57:59] Dan: they have different levels. So mine was actually the lowest level where we just did. The waterfall.
They also have a version where you get to do off-road, uh, like ATV four wheelers. You
[00:58:11] Jeff: Dune buggy.
[00:58:12] Dan: and creeks and, and a little bit through the town. Um, it's about like a mile, mile track that you get to go around and then you hike up and do the waterfalls. There's also ziplining there, so you can do driving ziplining and waterfalls.
That's like a real all day ordeal. Um, and they all include that meal at the end. And there's a bar at the buffet where you can, uh, buy these gigantic bottles of their local beer, I can't remember what it's called, present. And, and they also have the Maana,
[00:58:44] Heather: Oh man. Yeah, that stuff is
[00:58:46] Dan: national Liquor of the Dominican
[00:58:48] Jeff: Oof.
[00:58:48] Dan: which is, it's got some heat to it.
Um, but so yeah, those, I mean, it was great for, I, it was well worth the price that we paid. I think it was a once in a lifetime experience, you know, I mean, jumping off of a cliff It's pretty
[00:59:04] Jeff: It's funny on the video, it doesn't look that high or intimidating, but I'm certain when you're standing up there it looks scary. But I was thinking, God, that's easy. I would do that, but I don't know what I'm talking about. I would totally get scared up there.
[00:59:20] Dan: I have my GoPro on me and so I'm gonna cut together my GoPro footage with the footage that they took. And that's the other thing, part of the price includes, they have a photographer that follows your group. They take pictures of everybody. They get video of everybody jumping and sliding down every waterfall.
And you get a link to that at the end of the excursion, so you don't have to worry about losing your iPhone
[00:59:42] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[00:59:43] Dan: jungles of the Dominican Republic
[00:59:45] Jeff: value.
[00:59:46] Dan: Yeah. So, so that was fun. And then the other part that we stopped at was, uh, the Beach Club at Bimini, which is,
[00:59:55] Jeff: In Bimini, the island of Bimini. I had not been there. It's super pretty. The water around there was as pretty as I've seen anywhere in The Bahamas.
[01:00:04] Dan: Clear blue water. Um, clear, clean beach. No, no seaweed to be seen anywhere
[01:00:12] Jeff: They have, again, you go up off the pier and they've got everything labeled really well. So if you're going to this, Excursion or this destination get in this line. So it's really well marked, easy to find. They have shuttles that take you, there's a stop that goes to a casino. There's a stop that goes to a fisherman's village where you can rent golf carts and multi-person golf carts if you want to just tool around the city.
And there's some shopping right around there. And then another one goes to the casino hotel. And then the last stop is, uh, Virgin's own beach club they've built at bim. And that thing is awesome.
[01:00:48] Dan: Yeah, it's, it's beautiful. There's plenty of seating along, along the beach, out in the ocean. If that's your scene. They have an incredible pool. Seating all around there and they've got the cabanas that you can rent for the day.
[01:01:02] Jeff: It's two giant pools that are sort of shaped like wings. And apparently the one on the left is like the chill pool and the one on the right starts off chill and then they ramp up the music and the vibe a little bit. A DJ comes on at one 30 and some of that happenings, uh, crew that we were talking about come out and they do some dancing and all that to kinda get the crowd excited a little bit.
And then they throw. How many floats would you think that was?
[01:01:27] Heather: Oh man. So many.
[01:01:29] Jeff: 30, 40. Big of every size. Some were just a traditional donut float. Some were just ridiculous. Oversized islands floats with rainbows and
[01:01:38] Dan: with rainbows
[01:01:39] Jeff: Incredible.
[01:01:40] Dan: was one that was shaped like a jet. There was an airplane one that I was trying, I was hoping we could get. Over on our side of the party, but that didn't work out. But yeah, it was great. They keep the party going. The, the happenings crew has like the easiest job
[01:01:53] Jeff: Oh yeah.
[01:01:53] Dan: stand around the pool and when they feel like
[01:01:55] Jeff: They danced, they had bubble blowers, they had those, uh, super soaker squirt guns that they were firing out at people. And of course, you know, there's great service. All the same workers from the ship come out to the beach club so that you can, uh, if you rent one of the cabanas, they have 'em, beachside and poolside.
We had one at the pool. They had literally a button. You press it and Yes, what can I get you? Like they just show up at your cabana and bring you whatever drinks and food and the food out there is included
[01:02:25] Dan: Yeah. And was delicious. That fish and that corn were really
[01:02:30] Jeff: again with the corn. I dunno. No, I was, I didn't know I was such a corn freak.
[01:02:36] Dan: Yeah. Uh, that was great. Um, uh, coconuts with rum inside them are highly
[01:02:43] Jeff: Mm-hmm. . Yeah, the drinks were good. Everything was good. The drink prices I found on the island, uh, at the beach club and on the ship were very reasonable, especially compared to a recent cruise I took on another line, like they were all, there was, I think f the most expensive drink I saw on there was $20 and it was made with, uh, high end champagne.
So most of the drinks are more in a 10 to $14 range.
[01:03:12] Dan: yeah, there, they're prices for beverages. They're like, what would be a, well, drink at a regular bar starts at $6, but that's a drink made with Hendrix. That's a drink made with Jack Daniels. There's no bottom shelf,
[01:03:29] Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. They don't even have like aristocrat vodka or something.
[01:03:33] Dan: Right? Yeah. And, and it goes up the most of the drinks, it looked like kind of cocktails average, right in the like 14 to 16.
[01:03:43] Jeff: these are craft quality, like high end cocktails.
[01:03:48] Dan: Yeah. Very creative. They were all, I didn't have a single one that I didn't
[01:03:52] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[01:03:53] Dan: Uh, they were, they were all delicious.
[01:03:55] Jeff: and that translates to out on the island too. And they had a great selection of like, you know, your typical tiki and beach kind of drinks, but really anything you would want they had out there. And the staff, we didn't mention this, but this ship and the island, uh, their beach club are so well staffed and we found out because they treat their, their, uh, workers extremely well.
And so people are happy to work there and they're like, you can't sneeze without someone right there to help you. It's crazy how good, how well staffed and how attentive they are on this ship.
[01:04:28] Dan: That's right. Their crew isn't hidden away below decks when they're not, uh, on shift. They're encouraged to spend time out on the decks, enjoy themselves, just like.
[01:04:39] Jeff: Like normal human people.
[01:04:41] Dan: would, they can eat, they can eat at whatever restaurant they want to eat at. They can use the salon, they can get a tattoo, they can
[01:04:49] Heather: they get free wifi.
[01:04:51] Dan: right?
Yeah. Free wifi. Use the fitness facilities. I saw a couple of guys that were on, like their short break, they were the red jumpsuit, like should have been scraping barnacles off the side of the boat. And they're just standing out on the deck playing with the giant chess set on their break. It's like they're just out living their lives just like everybody else.
And, and you can really tell they're so, they're, they're very happy. They're, they, they love being there. So they do a great job at their jobs cuz they want to keep
[01:05:19] Jeff: Yeah, they're well paid. Um, and you can tip extra, but all of your normal tipping your for your state room hosts and everything else is included. So I love that when you speaking of the app, uh, and the tech, when you order a drink or anything that is a charge, they just immediately, the servers all have a phone.
They scan, tap, they just tap your little puck, it pays for it. You don't have to get a form and wait and fill it out and add a tip and blah, blah, blah. It's just like, boom. They make it really easy to separate you from your money.
[01:05:53] Dan: Yeah. And you can keep an eye on how much you've
[01:05:56] Jeff: And then it immediately shows up on your app and, and the wallet tab of your app. You can see within moments exactly what they charged you and whatever. So I just love that part of it.
[01:06:09] Dan: Yeah. Yep. Um, so Beach Club, they have excursions there as well. They're kind of the typical beach club, water sports kind of things. There was several different snorkeling, Adventurers. They have a shipwreck out there that you can snorkel around, and
[01:06:24] Jeff: cool.
[01:06:25] Heather: that's cool.
[01:06:27] Dan: Snorkel near the sharks. There's also, like I mentioned, scuba diving with the hammerhead sharks.
Uh, you could rent, uh, a, uh, jet ski. Uh, I think they also had standup paddle boarding,
[01:06:39] Jeff: they had a jet ski tour or you could just rent one yourself, which that seems risky. I would go with the tour
[01:06:47] Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Um, so that's, that's the, that's all the excursions they have there, except for, uh, you can also rent the, uh, rent
[01:06:56] Jeff: and they're there later. Uh, the olive board time was six 30 that day. So you were there, uh, till dusk and I think at different times of year they may even in different, depending on your excursion, how far they're trying to go. When they leave there, they stay there as late as nine o'clock and have a bonfire out there at the beach club.
[01:07:16] Dan: giant metal globes that they light fires in along the beach and they have kind of dusk beach party.
[01:07:25] Jeff: Which we left about five, a little before five, uh, on ours. So I didn't see any of that. I don't know that they did it cuz the olive board time was six 30 there. But I think that's just different depending on your itinerary in the time of year.
[01:07:42] Dan: Yeah. Yeah, that was nice. And I also liked backing way up to the beginning of the voyage. I liked that the sail away you left like later in the
[01:07:52] Heather: Yeah. You could do stuff in Miami if you wanted.
[01:07:55] Dan: you can do stuff in Miami, but also pulling away from the dock with the sunset behind Miami. That was just
[01:08:02] Jeff: yeah, the way the port in Miami is situated and the way the sunsets sunsets on the backside of the skyline, not in your face. So as you're sailing away, you're looking back at the gorgeous Miami skyline with the beautiful sunset behind it. That was, that was really cool. Really different.
[01:08:19] Dan: This was my first cruise, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but it seems like, from what I've seen that like the pool sail away party at evening, that vibe seems a lot more fun than like middle of
[01:08:33] Jeff: Yeah. Usually it's like a four o'clock sale away and you're just like, uh, we're leaving
[01:08:38] Dan: Right. Yeah, yeah. Bright sun burning down on you and everything. So yeah, the, the dusk sail away was really nice.
I liked that a lot.
[01:08:47] Jeff: And they have the, the happenings crew out there. They were doing dancing. They do a free champagne toast too. That was worth noting that they had literally hundreds of, of their staff out there with trays of champagne giving them, well, it was probably Prosecco, but a little bubbly toast to sail away. And you could go back and get more and more.
So during this 30 minute or an hour window, they're just giving away free drinks,
[01:09:11] Dan: Yeah.
[01:09:14] Jeff: And if you don't like champagne, they had a couple of other options for free. Or you, or the bar was also open to order whatever you like.
[01:09:21] Heather: Yeah, I tried, uh, it was a canned vodka soda. Um,
[01:09:26] Jeff: Yeah, that was good.
[01:09:27] Heather: One, um,
[01:09:29] Jeff: It's like a Kettle One botanicals thing. Yeah. That, that grapefruit one was good.
[01:09:34] Heather: They were passing those
[01:09:35] Jeff: Feel like the bang for your buck on this virgin voyages was really, really high.
[01:09:41] Dan: it's incredible. It, it is a great value. I mean, they talk about like, you've already got this built-in value, like we talked about. The tips are included. All
[01:09:50] Jeff: Wifi.
[01:09:51] Dan: most wifi included most of the activities on board. There's some that aren't upcharge, but most of these activities are all free.
[01:09:58] Heather: And there was an hour every day, I think it was five 30 to six 30 in three bars where the drinks were included. They were specific drinks. They called wellness drinks.
[01:10:11] Dan: Yeah, they had three healthy cocktails that were like all
[01:10:15] Heather: Low sugar
[01:10:16] Dan: herb
[01:10:17] Jeff: with booze,
[01:10:18] Heather: booze. Yes.
[01:10:19] Jeff: I had no idea.
[01:10:20] Heather: were, those, uh, the Kele one cocktails were one of 'em. And there there were a few different ones that were lower sugar.
Uh, so they could be called a Healthy Cocktail.
[01:10:31] Jeff: A wellness cocktail.
[01:10:33] Heather: Wellness Cocktail.
[01:10:33] Jeff: I had no idea. I might have even had one of 'em that was free. I didn't notice.
[01:10:37] Dan: Yeah. Those were mostly around the outdoor, uh, bars, kind of
[01:10:42] Heather: the Dock House was one of 'em.
[01:10:44] Jeff: speaking of the bars and the cost of things, we didn't touch on this, but some cruise, like Disney has no kind of drink package. Some cruise lines have a, you can spend whatever per person per day to have a kind of unlimited. Drink packaging with those, you usually have to have about eight drinks before you even break even.
But this one they do, if you order ahead of time, you can get a $300 bar tab and then they'll usually match you up to 50, sometimes a hundred dollars, depending on the promo they're running at the time. So when you get on there, you have X amount of dollars to sort of tick away. So I could buy your drink and it comes outta my tab and that kind of thing.
And they're great about, I'll get this whole round and they scan you a little puck and then put what in with everybody wants. You can keep track of what you're spending. Yeah. If you know you're, you're on a longer cruise, you could get a three, six, or $900 worth of tab, but a lot of their promotions give you on board credits or other bar tabs.
They match you. Um, some amount of dollars all the time. If you prepay for at least one bar tap, I loved that system. And then you could sort of watch it tick away by the end of the cruise. There were a few of them in our group that were like, well, I still have $200 laughter. I have, well, I don't know who these people are that aren't
[01:12:01] Heather: right?
[01:12:02] Jeff: but, but then those are the people that would shake for champagne and, and, and do that
[01:12:07] Heather: hours in advance that you had to have that, that bar tab, what? 24. Oh, excellent.
[01:12:13] Jeff: You could, yeah, you could, you could buy the tab while you're flying in the day
[01:12:16] Heather: the day before you board the ship, you have to have it purchased. That makes sense,
[01:12:20] Dan: So, so that's how that, but, and the, the other thing, nice thing about that is, um, a lot of the other cruise lines, when you do a drinks package, it's like you have to pay for it for everybody in the cabin.
[01:12:29] Heather: right?
[01:12:30] Jeff: yes.
[01:12:31] Dan: A virgin, you can, it's individual sailors.
So if you wanna have that bar tab, you pay for that bar tab. If the other person sharing your cabin with you doesn't, they don't have to
[01:12:39] Heather: which makes sense if you're traveling with someone who doesn't like to drink or can't
[01:12:43] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[01:12:43] Heather: reason. Yeah.
[01:12:45] Jeff: Yeah. Like my son and his girlfriend will join us at some point this year. She's not a drinker. He likes to drink. We don't have to force her to buy some package. She's never gonna use,
[01:12:54] Dan: Right,
[01:12:55] Jeff: we'll just buy two for him cuz
[01:12:56] Heather: the Sailor, the Sailor Loot that you get is nice because you can use that for your drinks, or you can use it to go to the spa, or,
[01:13:04] Jeff: Mm-hmm
[01:13:05] Dan: upgrade to the tomahawk steak or you can
[01:13:07] Jeff: I didn't ask this and maybe you know Heather cuz you got one. Could you use it to pay for a tattoo?
[01:13:13] Heather: yes. Mm-hmm.
[01:13:14] Dan: it for anything that you can pay money. It's like a gift card.
[01:13:17] Jeff: that's so
[01:13:18] Dan: it for anything you want. Book your shore excursions, pay for your food, pay for
[01:13:22] Jeff: So if you get one of these deals where you get like $600 worth of that, you get a nice fat tattoo ahead of it because the tattoo shop on that, on that ship was crazy good. Like they were really good
[01:13:34] Heather: Yes, they're excellent artists. What they do is they're basically a, you know, they are, these are established tattoo artists that, uh, come on the ship for a certain contracted amount of time. And the, the artist that I had, his name is Vermilion and he's an award-winning artist from Georgia. And I went and looked at his site.
His work is just incredible. Um, I got a simple line art tattoo, which was what I wanted of a key, but I saw the stuff he was doing on board was just so, yes, all of
[01:14:09] Dan: Yeah. Just before you, he had tattooed a right before you, he had tattooed a guy's French bulldog's
[01:14:15] Heather: So realistic. That was amazing.
[01:14:18] Dan: that was really good.
[01:14:19] Jeff: but you can drop by, uh, ahead of time or as they're opening, like day one you could drop off. Uh, here's what I want, a picture of my pad or my, whatever thing you want, or artwork. And then he would work it up before you got back for your appointed
[01:14:33] Heather: recommend if you want, because you can't swim after, right after you get a tattoo. You can't swim for they, they say at least five days. You really should wait longer than that. Um, but so you, if you want to get your tattoo on one of the last two days to give yourself more flexibility for the swimming and stuff, you need to go right away when
[01:14:57] Jeff: Why when you get on board?
[01:14:58] Heather: to make your reservation.
If you are a rock star or a mega rock star, you get, you can book that ahead of time and that gets you, because the last day of the sailing fills up immediately
[01:15:10] Jeff: Because people realize we didn't think about it until she had done it. And then she, you know, the, we had a big group, so we did a pool takeover one afternoon and all got into the social pool and she couldn't, but so she was so angry she had to go take a nap.
[01:15:26] Heather: And go to the spa for a facial
[01:15:28] Jeff: Yeah.
[01:15:29] Dan: Yeah. Uh, they also do they also do piercings at the
[01:15:32] Heather: I was gonna say that. And yeah, that first, the first day fills up. I didn't have any trouble getting an appointment, but it had to be one of the earlier days they were wide open, um, which was okay. I, you know, I sat next to the pool and at the beach club. I, I didn't get in the pool, but I could sit on the edge of the pool.
It was fine. Next, my next trip, I won't be worrying about the, the fresh tattoo, so I'll get to get on a float in the pool at the beach club and stuff like that. But I'm really glad I
[01:16:02] Dan: and get your tattoo like on your shoulder
[01:16:05] Heather: yeah. Yeah, I,
[01:16:06] Jeff: Top of your head so you can fully be
[01:16:09] Heather: it was, you know, I've been wanting to do this for a while and there was something about having it done on the, on the cruise ship that was just, you know, just, it was cool and
[01:16:18] Jeff: Well, it's a cool novelty.
[01:16:20] Heather: down and watched
[01:16:21] Jeff: She did it for the gram.
[01:16:22] Heather: That's right. That's
[01:16:24] Dan: She literally did
[01:16:25] Heather: I'm, yes,
[01:16:26] Jeff: next time I say I'm getting bulls eyes on my nipples.
[01:16:30] Heather: I'm very, very happy with it. It was very well done. And they did put a waterproof, uh, UV proof bandage on it for me that I wore for three days to make sure that it, um, healed nicely. And it was a great experience. It was fun. Just something, you know, interesting and different.
Where else can you get a tattoo at sea? Like a, like a real
[01:16:51] Jeff: Yeah. Like a crazy concept, but it was, I'm glad somebody in our group did it so we could see it and take
[01:16:58] Heather: whatever you want. If you don't have anything, um, specifically in mind, you just kind of wanna hash of a tattoo at sea. They have a little board of some suggestions.
[01:17:09] Jeff: Yeah. The simpler, smaller ones, they also had reference books, uh, a bookshelf full of like tattoo books. You could let 'em know you want something like this and
[01:17:20] Heather: And they had two artists and one piercer.
[01:17:24] Dan: And I think the tattoos start at one 50 for the very smallest of designs and go up from
[01:17:29] Heather: Yep. I was 200 and it's about
[01:17:33] Jeff: three inches.
[01:17:34] Heather: inches long. Yeah,
[01:17:37] Jeff: Now you also, Dan and I didn't, but you also did some spa stuff. What was your,
[01:17:43] Heather: The
[01:17:43] Jeff: what was your opinion of their spa services?
[01:17:45] Heather: thought it was great. And one of the things I loved about the spa is they didn't, in a traditional spa setting, you, when you get there, you check in. There's a women's dressing room and a men's dressing room, and then you have separated men's and women's relaxation areas where you go sit until they come and get you on this ship.
Um, you walked in and then they just had, um, all gender, like little changing cabins. So it's a little, just one little room. You go in and get into your robe and stuff. And then the, the waiting area is mixed gender. So if you're there getting a
[01:18:21] Jeff: So am I.
[01:18:23] Heather: you can go and sit with your partner. Um, you're not split up for most of the experience, which I thought was great.
And then the services were excellent. I got a facial. Um, she was, she was really sweet, very knowledgeable, and it was very relaxing and great. Um,
[01:18:40] Jeff: And what are their products? What products do they
[01:18:42] Heather: they use ELs,
[01:18:44] Jeff: Uh, that's my
[01:18:45] Heather: my favorite. Yeah.
[01:18:48] Jeff: I, it's actually, no, that I'm thinking of it. There's some stuff I should have bought.
[01:18:52] Heather: They also, um, they also have grown alchemist available on board, which has a great men's line. Smells really great. Um, and then their, their nail salon is separate where they do manicures and pedicures. And we already talked about the gr the other grooming spots, the dry, dry bar and the, and the shave and a haircut place.
Those were separate. Uh, and they do have you like, like a lot of cruise lines. They have a little, they have an esthetician on board. You can get some Botox if you want, , stuff like
[01:19:26] Jeff: Oh really?
[01:19:27] Heather: Yeah.
[01:19:27] Dan: Botox at
[01:19:28] Heather: Yeah. And that was oddly, that was up in the nail salon. The, the the medi spa doctor had a little
[01:19:35] Jeff: it was interesting how some, the spot, this is true on the Disney wish too, but stuff is separated into nails here, hair here, uh, relaxation here, hydrotherapy here. So you, you know, like on a lot of the cruise lines, it was all one giant area of the ship was all of that. I kinda like how they're separating things like that. So if I want to go just have hydrotherapy, I don't have to be around the nail people or the whatever else
[01:20:05] Dan: damn nail
[01:20:06] Jeff: You know how they are always with their fingernails and their toenails.
[01:20:10] Heather: Spreading it out that way also makes it so more of the treatment rooms can have a nice C view, which is also nice. So you
[01:20:19] Jeff: Yeah, that seems like a lot of the ship is, um, all the crew areas and everything are in the middle and everything that, that the guests do seems to be outward facing, which makes a lot more sense.
[01:20:34] Dan: Yeah. Even my favorite restroom on the ship was a room with a view that's at outside the galley. You can, you can use the, the urinal and there's floor to ceiling, glass
[01:20:46] Heather: There
[01:20:46] Jeff: You can hold your penis while you look at, let's see.
[01:20:49] Heather: There were two like that on the pool deck too, on either side.
[01:20:53] Dan: Yeah. That's really every man's dream, right?
[01:20:55] Jeff: Right. Yeah,
[01:20:56] Dan: Yeah.
[01:20:58] Jeff: I kept doing that too, and they asked me to put my pants back on. Sir, this is a Wendy's.
[01:21:11] Dan: yeah, so that was.
[01:21:12] Jeff: Every, seems like, every just kind of inch of that ship is just a little bit like the design aesthetic and everything is just slightly different than, than every traditional ship I've been on. And I know ship design is changing in general as newer ships come out, they're all looking a little different than they used to.
But this one was just really neat from the, the jogging track that they had. And out on that sports deck they had, like Dan said, the boxing ring, but they had a teeter totter and different swings and things. So we had a bros day out. Um, some of us were going to do dodge ball, which I guess got canceled.
Not enough people showed up, so we decided to be really manly and go do Instagram picks and teeter-totter and find the swings. , we did a four, they had a four person teeter-totter thing. That was just the silliest, stupidest thing I've ever done. And I had a little buzz going for it. It was very fun.
[01:22:07] Heather: And then you had hot dogs
[01:22:10] Dan: went, went and hit
[01:22:11] Jeff: Hotdog, spear, teeter uttering, you know, dude
[01:22:14] Heather: bro stuff.
[01:22:15] Dan: it was good.
[01:22:16] Heather: I think it was my favorite cruise I've ever taken.
[01:22:21] Jeff: Yeah,
[01:22:21] Dan: Mine too.
[01:22:22] Heather: Yeah. Dan
[01:22:24] Jeff: No, I've been on a million of them. And that this was, it just felt so fresh. And d I guess if you did this one 10 times, it starts to feel the same too, but it, I felt like I was seeing something different and yeah, just different. Everywhere I turn, like, oh, that's not what I'm used to, but all
[01:22:43] Dan: They've got, they've got so many different itineraries and, uh, destinations so that you can really do it quite a few times. I think before I got old, and I was gonna say, I was gonna say with the design of the ship too, as a first time cruiser, I was a little worried going into it, thinking that this was gonna be a huge place.
I was gonna have a hard time finding my way around, getting used to where things are. It was, it's, it's not as huge as I thought it was going to be, which is exactly what she said. And, uh,
[01:23:09] Jeff: Sadly
[01:23:11] Dan: But, but it's, it's really simple. Once you get to know the lay of the land to find
[01:23:16] Jeff: it's kind of the easiest to navigate ship I've been on. Once you figure out, cuz deck six and seven are the main, like where all the stores and party stuff is and the majority of the restaurants. Once you remember, if that was six or seven where you did that thing, you were good to go.
[01:23:34] Dan: Yeah. And then the top decks were really
[01:23:36] Jeff: Yeah. 15, 16, 17 were all upper outdoor activities and decks and pools and that sort of thing.
[01:23:43] Dan: Yeah. And most of the things are central towards the rear of the ship. There wasn't as much going on to the
[01:23:50] Jeff: Yeah, the front of the ship is mostly high-end rockstar balconies and things and the, which is kind of the opposite of a lot of ships. And then the back end was all the open viewing the dock and things like that. That was one we didn't touch on the dock. That is a beautiful faces out the back of the ship.
You can watch yourself sailing out, but it's outdoor area with giant trees and really pretty wicker furniture, a bar and wellness drinks and an indoor bar aspect of it too. But that area was just a great hang.
[01:24:20] Dan: Yeah. Yeah. It was a nice place to sit down and, and talk and just enjoy the, enjoy it. So,
[01:24:29] Jeff: I can't say enough good about this line. And this is only one of the three ships. I assume they're all pretty similar, but have enough differences that be worth exploring others.
[01:24:38] Dan: Yeah, they did say that. The other one that is currently sailing right now, the Valiant lady is pretty much exactly the same. They have the same restaurants and shows. I think he did say the other
[01:24:50] Heather: He said the shows were different, but everything else was the same.
[01:24:54] Dan: Yeah. And, and, and that there's going to be some slight changes in the other two that are launching later this year and in
[01:25:02] Heather: Yeah. Resilient lady, I think, and one of the, one of the things they're changing is that that one will
[01:25:08] Jeff: Convertible
[01:25:09] Heather: a standard bed instead of the, the sofa, you know,
[01:25:15] Dan: Right.
[01:25:15] Heather: convertible type bed.
[01:25:18] Dan: But as far as like
[01:25:18] Heather: Mm-hmm. . Yeah,
[01:25:20] Dan: um, they're, they're all very similar or there's just slight changes to some of the
[01:25:25] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[01:25:26] Dan: So
[01:25:27] Jeff: Well they don't need to change much cuz I loved it how it was.
[01:25:31] Dan: Yeah,
[01:25:32] Heather: When Valiant lady is sailing in Europe right now. Is that right? I,
[01:25:37] Jeff: Yeah. There's one that does, uh, A
[01:25:40] Dan: right now, literally they
[01:25:43] Heather: no, that's right. They're both, they're both in the Caribbean right now because we passed each other. Let's see, I, I took some notes
[01:25:49] Jeff: But isn't there three ships now?
[01:25:52] Dan: Uh, the third one is launching later this year,
[01:25:53] Jeff: Oh, this year.
[01:25:55] Heather: Yeah.
[01:25:56] Jeff: But that other valiant lady one is the one that goes over and does the Mediterranean stuff sailing in Greece
[01:26:02] Heather: now and we had a little
[01:26:04] Jeff: in the summertime. It'll be back in.
[01:26:07] Heather: Resilient and brilliant are the final two, and Resilient is about to launch, and then Brilliant is still being built.
[01:26:16] Jeff: They really, it's a great, cool concept. And I feel so badly that they, were supposed to launch right when the pandemic hit, so they had a delayed launch and then when they did launch, people still weren't sailing. And so they're two years into this thing and. Uh, but I will say because of that, there's some pretty aggressive marketing and pricing going on right now.
It's a great time to try them.
[01:26:40] Heather: and a little bit of an adjustment to the marketing to be. Which I think is smart because you want to know that it's different. One of the, one of the things they purposely tried to do is correct things that people didn't like about cruising, and they have done that. And, but I think it's also, if you love cruising, I still think it's, uh, uh,
[01:27:07] Jeff: For sure.
[01:27:08] Heather: It doesn't, it doesn't take away from the things that you already loved about cruising. It just fixes some of the things that maybe, maybe you love everything about it. It's still gonna be an experience
[01:27:20] Jeff: Yeah. I have some friends that cruised with us on. Uh, Disney, cruising. Not to keep bashing, not even bashing them at all, but I've done the most of my cruising on Disney cruise line and they do not like buffets. The whole setup and the idea of it, they hate that. So they would love this.
[01:27:36] Heather: Yeah. And it's not as the, the initial marketing, I think Dan mentioned earlier, made you think that it would skew for much younger
[01:27:45] Jeff: Mm-hmm. , that was me that mentioned that.
[01:27:50] Heather: but, but it's true that a young crowd would like it, but I think it, I think it works for all ages. As long as you're over 18
[01:27:57] Jeff: Mm-hmm. , I, uh, and they say 18, but I didn't really see anybody that was under, I'd say 21 or two
[01:28:05] Heather: No, but I would take my 19 year old son
[01:28:07] Jeff: I for sure.
[01:28:08] Heather: it.
[01:28:10] Dan: Yeah.
[01:28:10] Heather: I mean, uh, he's a, he's a nerdy guy who loves video gaming and board games, and there he would live back in that social club area.
[01:28:19] Jeff: we didn't even say they had like a hundred different kinds of board games, role playing games, card games, all kinds of stuff you could just borrow and use and play with on the thing and then put back on the, these two big shelves full of just great
[01:28:32] Dan: it wherever you want on the ship. Yeah.
[01:28:35] Jeff: Yeah. I took mine home with me.
[01:28:38] Heather: don't think you were supposed to do that
[01:28:41] Jeff: Oh.
[01:28:41] Dan: No, it's, it's definitely, it really, really is for everybody.
[01:28:45] Jeff: Oh. And disembarkation was a breeze too.
[01:28:48] Heather: easy.
[01:28:49] Jeff: You preschedule on the app, what time you get off and boom. And it even gives you warnings. It's like your time is in one hour, your time is in 30 minutes, you get off the boat.
[01:28:59] Heather: Yeah. And you didn't have to take all your luggage with you to go to breakfast. That always irritates me on the last day of a cruise, there's, everybody's got their luggage all over the
[01:29:08] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[01:29:09] Dan: Mm-hmm.
[01:29:09] Heather: can
[01:29:10] Jeff: You could check it the night before if you wanted to, or you could just carry it off like we
[01:29:14] Heather: which is what we did. And we got to go have a nice breakfast and then go grab our stuff and walk right off the ship.
It was so easy.
[01:29:20] Jeff: and no line like it. Never even a little bit of a, you know, a little bit of black, but I bet I waited five minutes to go through immigration.
[01:29:29] Dan: Yeah. That was
[01:29:30] Heather: very easy. And part of that was custom's fault, that when we first got off the ship, they only had one officer working,
[01:29:38] Dan: mm-hmm.
[01:29:39] Heather: from time to time. They just, the customs is o understaffed, which the ships are not. The ships are very well staffed. The service is the best service I've had on any cruise
[01:29:50] Jeff: Mm-hmm. absolutely.
[01:29:53] Heather: And they were all so, so happy for, you know, all the reasons we've already mentioned. A big one is the free wifi. You wouldn't believe how expensive that is for crew members on other cruise line. They spend a lot of
[01:30:06] Jeff: I'm shocked. They make the crew buy wifi on these slides.
[01:30:10] Heather: You know, they're on the ship for six to 10 months at a time and to keep in touch with home, they need the wifi.
[01:30:18] Jeff: The crews of these ships for anybody that hasn't cruised are from all over the world. So you might be from Malaysia or Philippines or all over Europe and you're not home for six months on end. And they made them buy wifi to text their kids. That's crazy.
[01:30:32] Heather: It is crazy and they're so appreciative. They're also not stacked into, you know, six people into a tiny cabin. They share with no more than one other crew member, which they're also just, this is amazing. We never had
[01:30:49] Jeff: on the major cruise line, it's usually two floors of crew space. This one has four and a half of their floors are crew. That's pretty, pretty exceptional.
[01:31:00] Heather: great and it really makes a difference when your staff is happy.
[01:31:05] Dan: Mm-hmm.
[01:31:06] Heather: be happy at, at work and making sure that your guests are
[01:31:09] Jeff: We should try seeing if we could make our workers happy sometime.
[01:31:13] Heather: great idea.
[01:31:15] Jeff: I hadn't thought of that until just now.
[01:31:18] Heather: we
learned, we learned something from Virgin Voyages.
[01:31:21] Jeff: you, Virgin. Thank you, sir. Richard Branson.
[01:31:24] Dan: Yeah. And, uh, you know, Jeff mentioned what a great, I mean the pricing right now and the promos that they have, I, it's, it's insane. Like we were pricing out, um, uh, cabins for an upcoming sailing in September. Once you add up the. Once you add up like the Sailor Loot bonus and the bar tab that they give you and stuff, it's literally they're giving you back half of the price of the cruise for two people.
[01:31:52] Jeff: Yeah.
[01:31:53] Heather: Speaking of, we have a circle,
[01:31:56] Dan: That's right. Which is a group
[01:31:59] Heather: for, uh, the sailing, uh, that leaves Miami on September 20th on the Scarlet Lady, and we've got space in our Circle
[01:32:08] Dan: Yeah. Uh,
[01:32:09] Heather: Comm one, come on. And there's a lot of benefits for being in a circle.
[01:32:13] Dan: Lot of benefits, including one of the big ones. Uh, you are automatically going to get a hundred
[01:32:18] Heather: Our tab.
[01:32:19] Dan: tab on, on Virgin just for signing up booking. It doesn't, so being part of the circle doesn't cost you
[01:32:26] Jeff: Get you a free bottle of mot
[01:32:28] Heather: That's
[01:32:28] Jeff: just to shaken your app.
[01:32:30] Dan: it, yeah. Free Ballish champagne and you get the help and services of, uh, Key to the World Travel advisor for making sure you got all your ducks in a row ahead of time.
And, uh, you're gonna be partying with. Some pretty cool
[01:32:43] Jeff: Hey, one interesting thing is we just had 35 ish people go on this thing, and between us all, we've tried about 25 different. Port area hotels so we can advise you on all different, uh, benefits of all, uh, and pros and cons of all of those, including the budget. So we had people staying from all the way high end to low end and to help you know where to stay in Miami and activities to do and bridges to walk across.
[01:33:11] Heather: Bikes to rent.
[01:33:13] Dan: Yeah. We've, we've got, uh, we've got, uh, a thread going in, uh, discussing all that. So yeah, there's a lot that we can help you out with there. Uh, we're gonna have, I don't think we have a date, uh, nailed down yet, but soon we're gonna have a cruise night where you
[01:33:26] Heather: Yeah, early March, probably one of the first two weeks of March, we'll have a cruise night with more information. We'll invite some of the virgin voyages folks on to talk about things we may have missed,
[01:33:38] Jeff: Yeah,
[01:33:38] Heather: and there'll be e and actually incentives on top of the circle incentives if you book within a week of that cruise night.
So stay tuned for that date.
[01:33:49] Jeff: more deeds on that at a later time.
[01:33:52] Dan: Yeah. Uh, for sure. Talk to your Key, to the World Travel advisor right away. As soon as you hear this, uh, they might be able to get you some special deals if they were on the sailing with us. Um, but yeah, it's, it's, it's gonna be a good cruise in September. Wish I was gonna be there.
[01:34:09] Jeff: I wish you were too. Dan.
[01:34:10] Dan: uh, you can meet my
[01:34:11] Heather: That's right.
[01:34:12] Dan: too.
[01:34:12] Jeff: Who am I gonna bro with?
[01:34:14] Dan: She's, she is even more fun than I am.
[01:34:16] Jeff: Dan and Kendra have too many children to do things together, so they, they take turns having amazing Adventurers.
[01:34:22] Heather: Someday those kids will be old enough. Wyatt can be in
[01:34:25] Dan: down the
[01:34:26] Jeff: 16 short years
[01:34:30] Dan: That's a long
[01:34:31] Heather: Hey, sooner than
[01:34:32] Jeff: you'll be my
[01:34:33] Heather: will be old enough to take care of his. His brothers and sisters, his
[01:34:36] Jeff: Mm-hmm.
[01:34:37] Heather: sisters.
[01:34:37] Dan: It's not so much about waiting for ye to be old enough as it is waiting for the two youngest ones to settle
[01:34:42] Heather: Alex and Sophie. I don't know. You may be in trouble. I don't know whether those two will ever settle down.
[01:34:48] Jeff: you're never traveling together without them.
[01:34:51] Dan: no . No, it's you're right. But anyway, so yeah, keep an eye out. We will, we will share in our socials, keep an eye out on key to the world social media, Key to the World Travel that is, and, uh, for, for that cruise night. And head on over to Key, to the World Travel, uh, our Facebook page and our Instagram. We've already shared a ton of content from our
[01:35:14] Jeff: And there's more to
[01:35:15] Heather: room tours and all kinds of stuff,
[01:35:18] Dan: all kinds of stuff. And we're gonna have more. I've got, I've got a video I'm working on for waterfalls. I've got all kinds of stuff to share. So we're gonna show you all the awesome stuff that you can do onboard a virgin voyage.
[01:35:30] Heather: and then
[01:35:30] Jeff: Most of it's just pictures of me having drinks.
[01:35:33] Heather: there's a lot of that.
[01:35:35] Jeff: Just kidding. There's lots more.
[01:35:37] Dan: thanks for hanging out with us again this week. If you are party for real grownups or explore anywhere else around the world, Key to the World. Travel has an Octopus's garden full of expert travel planners, and they're ready to make your vacation dreams a reality. Head to www.keytotheworldtravel.com to get started with a no obligation quote.
Word of mouth is the best way to help us grow our show. If you have a friend or two who you think would appreciate our special brand of Globe trotting jackassery, tell them what makes our show so great and send them our way. You can find links to subscribe to the show on your favorite apps and all the latest updates at www.goldkeyadventurers.com.
We can't wait to hang out with you again next week, and we'll see you real soon
[01:36:20] Heather: Hi everybody.
[01:36:21] Jeff: Quit being a Virgin Virgin and join us.
[01:36:25] Dan: on Virgin.