When Virgin Voyages debuted in 2021, it did so with the full intention of being a disruptor to the cruise industry. Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady was made to appeal to travelers -- not just cruisers -- looking for a new way to experience much-visited destinations like the Caribbean. Virgin Voyages' Valiant Lady followed in its sibling's wake, debuting in 2022 with itineraries in the Mediterranean.
But not all experiences aboard Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady or Valiant Lady are created equal. The brand has made its best cabins and experiences available to guests who book into the brand's Rockstar Suites and Mega Rockstar Suites. But are they worth the splurge?
Here's a look at the main perks and benefits of becoming a Rockstar, and whether or not it may be worth it for you to upgrade.
First things first: the perks of being a Rockstar start before you even walk through the door. Rockstar sailors aboard Virgin Voyages cruise ships are given earlier check-in times than regular cabin guests, as well as access to an exclusive lounge area just for Rockstars at the terminal.
For Valiant Lady's inaugural sailing from Portsmouth, the in-terminal lounge felt extra exclusive as it was roped off yet visible to the rest of the waiting guests. Adding to the green-eye factor was a table spread full of beverages and breakfast snacks and clusters of comfy seating areas. The vibe was very similar to a VIP area at an event, or a notched-down airport lounge.
Rockstars also get to board the ship first, meaning they'll get the most time onboard the ship and can also be the first to explore everything it has to offer.
Worth it? Yes. Early and easy access to the ship starts your cruise off on the right foot, and the in-terminal lounge access is a nice bonus.
Mega Rockstar Suite guests get the perk of having private transfers arranged to and from the ship, much like Upper Class passengers on Virgin Atlantic are able to book private transfers to and from the airport.
Worth it? No. The private transfer service has its limits, and with car services such as Uber and Lyft and the like, we don't feel this is a big enough perk to warrant booking a suite, though it's a nice side perk.
Virgin Voyages ship schedules run through the cruise line's app -- which isn't accessible until you're onboard and connected to the ship's Wi-Fi. This means most guests aren't able to even attempt to book into restaurants, shows or the free exercise classes until they're onboard and situated.
Being a Rockstar, naturally, you get to cut the line, not only by being one of the first people to board the ship and access the app first, but by having early and priority access to all the ship's bookable events and activities both on and off the ship.
This is especially handy if you've already got an idea of what you want to do, like, say the Bungee exercise class. This popular class only has six spots per session. On our Valiant Lady sailing the class was only offered twice, meaning only 12 lucky sailors got to strap in and bounce their way to fitness per voyage -- and the spots went fast.
Worth it? Yes. Popular activities, restaurants and showtimes booked up quickly on our sailings, and having the extra push of priority access was often just what we needed to get a space at the table, literally.
Virgin Voyages' Redemption Spa has one of our favorite thermal suites at sea. It's spacious, classic and features floor-to-ceiling views of the sea.
On the inaugural Valiant Lady sailing, bookings cost £39 for three hours. This gives you plenty of time to soak in the hot tubs, make your way through the hydrotherapy pool and travel between the handful of sauna and steam rooms -- and the mudroom.
Mega Rockstar Suite guests get the perk of visiting the thermal spa free of charge as well as priority access to bookings. Regular Rockstar Suite guests will still have to pay for entry, but will have priority booking.
Worth it? Yes, for Mega Rockstar Suites. Just knowing you can access the spa everyday for free makes you more likely to do so, even if it's just for 30 minutes or an hour -- something you wouldn't do if you were paying full price to be there.
Virgin knows that a Rockstar isn't much without their agent and assistants, and so each guest staying in a Virgin Voyages Rockstar Suite will have access to a Rockstar Agent whose job is to assist with any and all bookings, among other things.
Don't feel like handling your own bookings or dropping your own name (or suite number)? No problem, just call up or app chat with your agent who will pull all the strings for you and report back. Your Rockstar Agent is also who you'll want to talk to about personalizing your in-room bar, so it's stocked with all your favorite beverages and mixers, or if you're having issues with anything on board.
Mega Rockstar Suite guests will have a dedicated Rockstar Agent, while Rockstar Suite guests will have to share. Either way, both Rockstar-level guests will have 24/7 access to someone ready and waiting to answer every whim.
Worth it? Yes. Having access to a Rockstar Agent to do your bidding is a huge timesaver, especially when the app isn't functioning properly and you can just call them on a dedicated line from your in-suite phone instead of having to go down and wait in line at Sailor Services.
Virgin Voyages' standard, included drink package already includes a good selection of bevvies, from juices to sodas and the like (basically everything but alcohol), but guests staying in Mega Rockstar Suites get the mega treatment when it comes to boozy indulgences: a daily bar tab good at venues across the ship.
Drinking in moderation, however, is key, and so these bar tabs do have (undisclosed) limits. However, it's worth mentioning that we found beers averaged around $9 depending on the brand and the vessel, wine ranged between $9 to $12 a glass, and cocktails were around $12 to 16 a pop.
Worth it? Maybe. If you're a drinker, this perk is likely worth its weight in vinyl, but if you're less likely to indulge in the myriad alcoholic options onboard, it may not be much of a perk (though Virgin Voyages does have great low-ABV and no-ABV drink options).
Room sizes on large, mainstream cruise ships have long gotten a lot of flak for being small. Even Virgin Voyages received pushback when their cabins first debuted on Scarlet Lady.
Guest feedback said the cabins lacked a cozy feeling and were a bit reminiscent of basic dorm room style. Virgin responded with a cabin revamp, adding warmer touches such as throw pillows and accents on the beds and couches and installing wood-grained furniture for more of an organic feel.
As on Scarlet Lady, Valiant Lady Rockstar Suites have been designed by Tom Dixon of the Design Research Studio in the U.K. Not only do they give heaps more space, they feel both glamorous and stylish with gold accents, peek-a-boo showers and a luxe and large marble shower to-die-for. Mega Rockstar Suites score an additional peek-a-boo shower out on the balcony, too.
Worth it? Yes. We absolutely loved the extra space in our Brilliant Suite, which felt more like a deluxe hotel room than a cruise cabin. Suites are one solid area where Virgin Voyages shines.
One of the things we mentioned that Rockstar Agents can help to curate is your in-suite bar. For Rockstar Suite guests, this first round of the stocked bar is on the house. For Mega Rockstar Suite guests, the bar is bottomless.
And when we're talking in-room bar, we don't mean mini-bar. There are no airplane-sized bottles here; this is Virgin Voyages, not Virgin Atlantic. Onboard in-room bars are full-sized, complete with mixers, cocktail recipe books, and basic cocktail-making utensils.
Only drink clear liquor? You can swap out the bottles of scotch, whiskey and tequila for all vodka, all gin, or a mix. Love wine? Replace it all with bottles of reds and whites. You design what you want in your bar.
Worth it? Maybe. Again, it depends if you're into alcohol. If the answer is yes, this is a great value for those with regular Rockstar Suites, since you won't get the free onboard bar tab. For Mega Rockstars, the value is less since you'll get free drinks around the ship.
Virgin heavily touts Richard's Rooftop -- an exclusive forward-facing rooftop bar and lounge area -- as a big perk of having Rockstar status. The space is chic, relaxing, hip and hosts pre-dinner cocktail hours and nighttime events like sail away parties and stargazing events, and it's a great space to read a book or find a little privacy, depending on the capacity of the ship.
Richard's rooftop also sports two hot tubs and its own bar, though we have to admit we were a little bummed to see on our Valiant Lady sailing that the ocean view was blocked by the shading-out of the surrounding glass panels. We're not exactly sure if this is due to privacy, blocking UV rays or what, but it definitely took away from the experience of lounging on one of the beds.
Worth it? Yes. Access to Richard's Rooftop is a big perk for anyone who enjoys living that exclusive life on the other side of the velvet rope, as well as for anyone who enjoys their own nook of peace and quiet (which can be hard to find elsewhere on the ship).
Rockstar guests can be easily identified on Virgin Voyages ships thanks to their black wristbands. Normally, cruisers will receive red wristbands. Your band is a wearable that functions as your room key, identification and onboard spending account payment device.
Worth it? No. While there are some people who might enjoy the public marker that they are living the suite life, we found it unnecessary to have different colored bands as from it being a preferred color to red.
When it comes down to it, the two biggest deciding factors to booking a Virgin Voyages Rockstar Suite will be whether you can find value in the alcoholic amenities and how much you value having extra space. Outside of these two major things, the cost of booking into one of these suites might not outweigh the perks, though many of them are nice to have. We say, if you think you want it and can go for the splurge, why not treat yourself?
Updated March 31, 2022