Adults Only Virgin Voyages Cruise – Yay or Nay?

Here’s an honest review (from someone who wasn’t gifted a ticket) of the new Virgin cruise.

As two parents who love to travel, we were excited to try out something we’d never done before and have a few days of mum-and-dad’ time, in style.

If you’re thinking of checking it out too (especially while the prices are still low), here’s what we loved and what was ‘meh’.

Honestly, cruising has never really appealed to me. However, when I learned that the new Virgin Voyages Adults Only cruise was coming to Melbourne, I was keen to give this cruise liner a go and booked myself and Tom a ticket.

I figured with the cost being under $1200 AUD for 3 days (2 nights), that’s about what we would have spent on a child-free weekend away at Crown, so why not?

Here are my thoughts:

Exceptional Value for Money:

What caught my attention about Virgin cruises, aside from the promise of no buffets and elevated dining experiences crafted by Michelin-star chefs, was that EVERYTHING was included in the fare.

There was no need to add 'specialty dining experiences' or 'drinks packages' to our cabin cost. The price we paid covered our accommodation, food, all non-alcoholic drinks, tips and gratuities, entertainment, travel insurance, WIFI, and included a $450 on-board credit (which we used for our alcoholic beverages).

Easy Arrival Process:

Embarking on our Virgin Voyages journey was a breeze, thanks to a well-orchestrated check-in process and plenty of on-ground staff at Station Pier. We caught an Uber right to the door at our pre-booked check-in time (you can also park in the city, and catch the 109 tram), showed our ID, cleared security, and then were free to board the boat.

The queues moved swiftly, and once we had completed the onboard safety briefing, we were free to head to our room and explore the boat.

We were randomly upgraded at check-in (yay!) so we headed straight for ‘Richard’s Deck’, the “exclusive rockstar area” and drank complimentary Moet.


  • Make sure you book your arrival time in the Virgin Voyagers App 45 days prior to departure to secure an early check-in time and make the most of your time on the boat.
  • Don’t arrive prior to your check-in time; there is not a lot of seating at Station Pier, and the restaurants at the pier are overcrowded and lackluster.
  • We only had carry-on luggage, so we were able to keep this with us; however, if you have larger bags, you will be asked to leave them on the dock, and they will magically appear in your room a few hours after you check in.

The Rooms:

As someone who has stayed in many hotels and takes pleasure in reviewing them, I think Virgin has nailed its cabin interiors and made the best of a naturally small space, with each cabin giving off a relaxed, super-yacht vibe.

We stayed in a rockstar suite (thanks to the complimentary upgrade), but I also checked out the sea terrace and insider cabins while aboard, and I would have been very happy in any. The insider cabin is what we had originally booked.  

The soundproofing in each room was good, and an in-room record-player was a nice touch. Very on-brand considering Virgin was originally established as a record label!

The only thing I did not like about Virgins cabins was that EVERYTHING was automated.

I found the smart device that operated the room hard to navigate, and I would have preferred light switches, a TV remote, and old school curtains. I acknowledge the fully automated room has more ‘wow’ factor though.

Fun Fact:

I love that Virgin Voyages has decided to cater specifically to solo travellers, offering solo occupancy rooms without a single occupancy tax or surcharge. I have never seen this done before on a cruise liner.

Gastronomic Delights:

Virgin Voyages takes pride in its dining experiences and emphasises the absence of buffets on board. While this is indeed accurate, I feel the marketing is a little misleading.

Initially, I believed the fine dining restaurants would be available for us to eat at during the day for lunch, but unfortunately, most are not open. Instead, guests are primarily directed to the 'food hall,' (known as The Galley), which is reminiscent of a shopping centre food court.

All the meals we ate at The Galley were more than fine, but based on the marketing I expected more. I will give Virgin points back though for the amount of gluten free and vegan options that were available throughout the ship, the great room service menu, as well as the price of drinks.

40% of the wines onboard are below $11 a glass (tip included). You can find out about the bars onboard by clicking here.

Where We Ate:

At night, we indulged in boundary-pushing delights at the Test Kitchen, explored the vibrant flavours of Mexico at the lively Pink Agave, and savoured Italian excellence at Extra Virgin.

Pink Agave and Extra Virgin were not our initial choices for dinner, but I am so glad fate led us to these exceptional venues as both Tom and I felt the food and service at these restaurants was far better than the ship's "hero restaurant," The Wake which we managed to get into for breakfast on our last day.

Individual Restaurant Reviews:

The Test Kitchen: 7/10

A culinary adventure for the taste buds, do not leave without trying the “mushroom” dish or “blue cheese” ice-cream, and if you are going to choose a drink pairing option, opt for the wine, not cocktails. Most of the cocktails were awful.

Razzle Dazzle: 6/10

Not bad, not great - Points for the variety of vegetarian options available here though.

The Dock House: 6/10

A fantastic spot to unwind, especially if you snag a lounge bed. Greek-style share plates, exceptional views, and a great place to hang while docking. A good drinks menu.

Pink Agave: 10/10

The true MVP: Vibrant, with awesome décor and the most extensive tequila menu at sea, this restaurant was a flawless experience; we could not find a single fault. Tom even tried a margarita with crickets here – not my cup of tea, but he embraced the YOLO spirit.

Extra Virgin: 9/10

While the restaurant's decor might not be the most impressive, or glamourous compared to other restaurants on the boat, it has outstanding service and delectable food. A real surprise.

The Wake: 5/10

Despite its breathtaking views and NYC-inspired décor, The Wake disappointed us in terms of both food and service during our brunch visit.

You can read more about the restaurants on board by clicking here

The Onboard Vibe:

Everyone teased me about booking this supposedly super raunchy swingers cruise, but truth be told, it's nothing like that. Certainly not from what I saw anyway.

Sure, Virgin throws around some cheeky innuendos, like naming the ice cream shop "Lick me til I scream", but overall, I think they have toned it down a lot from when they first launched based on customer feedback.

It’s more MA+ not R now!

Will the cruise be for everyone? No.

I saw a few ‘oldies’ on this ship, but it is certainly not a cruise I’d take my elderly grandmother on. If you are in the 35-65 age group, with a sense of humour, who likes food, I think you’ll have a great time.

I also feel it could be a great travel option for groups e.g., a weekend away with friends for a 40th.

What I Loved / Positives.

  • The décor throughout the boat is spectacular, the best I have seen.
  • Inuendo, and attention to detail e.g., room service gets brought to the room in a dive bag.
  • Value for money: I added up the cost of everything we ate, and if we had eaten the same items at similar restaurants at home it would have cost $984. Considering the total cruise was $1,190.03 - it was amazing value.
  • Paying for the cruise in advance made it feel like a free holiday by the time we set sail. There was no stress about sticking to budget, or unexpected costs, because it had all been prepaid. We could say yes to everything!
  • It would be a great option for group travel. Having travelled with groups before and experienced the cycle of ‘it’s my shout, you get the next one’, as well as splitting bills, this is a good option, as everything’s already paid for. Also, the option to each have your own solo room instead of twin sharing a double cabin is great.
  • This was a ship I didn't want to leave. The onboard experience was so enticing that I had zero desire to disembark for day trips.
  • How many veg and GF options there were at all restaurants and within the galley (food hall). 
  • Easy disembarkation on the last day. You just walk off like a domestic flight. Staggered disembarkations (don’t forget to book) which made the area not congested.

What I Didn’t / Negatives:

  • I did feel a little queasy which surprised me given the ship’s size – perhaps it was because we cruised the Bass Strait, or because I tend to get a bit of vertigo nowadays. Tom was fine.
  • The live shows all started late. While the food was the main draw card for us, and uninterrupted sleep, it would have been nice to see what the shows were all about. But with many starting after 9 pm, we were ready for bed by then.
  • The marketing around the food. I think in regard to day-time dining, it was a little misleading.
  • 3 days, 2 nights felt a little rushed, as we tried to cram too much in. Another 1-2 days would have been ideal. My advice is to go for longer, at least another night, or accept you won’t get to do everything available on-board.

Would I Go Again?

A lot of people get addicted to cruises, but I am not in a hurry to book my next cruise. I am more of a plane-and-land kind of girl.That being said, I did thoroughly enjoy this weekend getaway and am glad we went.

I highly rate Virgin Voyages as a cruise liner, and it is an option I will consider every 2-3 years for a short getaway. It provided a great way to reconnect and unwind, and I would encourage everyone who falls into the category I mentioned earlier to try it at least once.

I would also consider booking it again sooner, if I needed to organise a group holiday e.g., a hen’s weekend, family reunion, 40th etc.

Overall, I gave the experience an 8/10.

Kirstin - owner of My Big Adventure - Travel Diaries for Kids!