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Virgin’s New Adult-Only Cruise Ship for Non-Cruisers Is Open for Bookings

When it comes to deciding where to go on vacation, cruising can be a very divisive topic. Often the reasons why people love cruises (the never-ending buffets, the organized activities, the family-friendly options) are the same reasons non-cruisers avoid them. But with the announcement of Virgin Voyages, a new adults-only cruise line from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, cruising is about to change.

What Makes It Different

In 2020, Virgin Voyages will begin their new four to five-day cruise itineraries for a whole new model of cruising that aims to eliminate common cruise pain points. Their first ship, The Scarlet Lady, will be adults-only and crew gratuities will be included in the cost of the ticket, which means no last-day stressing about tips. Instead of a buffet, there will be over 20 onboard restaurants to choose from, with flexible dining hours that will sometimes extend past midnight. All dining cover charges will also be included with the initial cabin price. At no extra charge, all guests will also have access to unlimited Wi-Fi and can take advantage of group workout classes.

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In addition to a restructuring of the cruise business model, Virgin Voyages has also made a commitment to do away with single-use plastics like straws and water bottles, and will instead offer water-refilling stations and free sparkling water throughout the ship.

What Makes It Really Different

With so much included, a Virgin Voyages cruise is not likely to be on the affordable end of the market, but onboard, Virgin Voyages is promising an experience that goes way beyond the food and Wi-Fi. From circus acts and dinner theatre to experimental dance parties and midnight dodgeball games, their entertainment program is aiming to bring metropolitan vibes to the Caribbean. Virgin Voyages invited unique artists like Pig Pen Theatre Company and 7 Fingers Creation Collective to create special entertainment experiences for the ship, and is even planning to start a residency program at their private Bahamian beach club for up-and-coming DJs.

The adults-only Scarlet Lady will be a large ship with a capacity for 1,700 passengers, and Virgin Voyages is planning a program that aims to appeal to all guest profiles. Whether you’d feel more at home in an athletic club, a cooking class, the onboard tattoo parlor, or at the drag queen brunch, Virgin Voyages wants to make sure there is truly something for everyone.

Launching April 1st, of 2020, sailings to the Dominican Republic, Havana, and Costa Maya are now open for booking on the Virgin Voyages website, starting at $1,450 per cabin.

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Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Instagram @jamieditaranto.

By Jamie Ditaranto

Jamie Ditaranto is a traveler in a love triangle with writing and photography. Follow the drama on Twitter @jamieditaranto and Instagram @jamieditaranto.

Ditaranto joined SmarterTravel in 2015. She loves ecotourism, cities with history, and discovering local hangouts. Though she likes all the continents equally, she holds a special place in her heart for rainy little islands.

Her work has also appeared online at USA Today, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and other publications. You can check out her photography on her website.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "My instant camera comes in handy for giving instant gifts to new friends."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Befriending penguins in Antarctica."

Travel Motto: "You have to get the hard places out of the way first."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "On short flights, the window. For long flights, the aisle."

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