For me, if I had to choose my favorite aspect of sailing on Virgin Voyages, it would definitely have to be the food. Virgin Voyages dining options are quite good and definitely elevated compared to my experiences in Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. I think it’s even better than the paid specialty dining I had on those other lines.
All dining is included in the Scarlet Lady cruise fare and there is no main dining room like traditional cruise lines. There are additions at each dining venue where you could splurge (like oysters, or the raw bar at the Wake). But for the most part, everything is included which is nice. In terms of beverages, soft drinks, tea, and basic coffee are included, but alcohol is an additional charge.
Virgin Voyages Cruise Report
Check out my other reviews onboard Virgin Voyages below
- Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady: Sea Terrace Cabin Review
- Virgin Voyages Dining Review Onboard Scarlet Lady
- Virgin Voyages Embarkation & Ports Review: Key West, Beach Club at Bimini
- Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady: Ship & Entertainment Review
Takeoff Points Virgin Voyages Dining
Dinner Rankings for the four dinners we had, starting with the best. (Skipped Gunbae since we didn’t have time to try)
- The Wake
- Pink Agave
- Test Kitchen
- Extra Virgin
Takeoff Point: The Wake was my favorite, as it felt like I was in a New York City Steakhouse and the food tasted great. It’s the best meal I’ve had on a cruise ship and beats the specialty dining steakhouses that I’ve tried on Holland America and Royal Caribbean. I also enjoyed Pink Agave, which was a Mexican restaurant as the food was delicious. The Test Kitchen was a very unique concept, but some courses fell flat. Lastly, Extra Virgin was not super special, so I put that on the bottom of my list. That being said, it was still quite good when compared to the other cruise lines I’ve been on. Overall, Virgin Voyages excels with its culinary options that compete & excel over standard cruise line specialty restaurants.
Takeoff Tip: As a Gold tier First Mate travel agent with Virgin Voyages, I’m happy to help make your cruise booking as seamless as possible. From helping you secure a reservation at the Wake, to gaining you priority boarding, I’m here to assist. Simply use my booking link to discover your next Virgin Voyage and I’ll assist you on your journey!
You can book dining reservations at select restaurants directly from our Virgin Voyages App or through a First Mate Travel Advisor starting 45 days before departure, and those booked in Mega RockStar and RockStar Quarters will have the ability to book starting 60 days before. More slots open once you’re onboard, and can be done via the app or with a crew member on board. Restaurants also take walk-ins and day-of reservations.
Since we booked only a few weeks before sailing, most dining times were taken, but 5:45 pm was available each night for the restaurants we wanted. We decided to take that slot, and we made some adjustments once onboard quite easily.
Dining Options with Reservations
- Razzle Dazzle
- The Wake
- Pink Agave
- Extra Virgin
- The Test Kitchen
It’s an all-day dining casual dining venue that is focused on vegetarian options with meaty cheats (which they call “naughty”).
We had two breakfasts at Razzle Dazzle and I found it to be pretty solid. I liked the avocado toast, and who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast? They had some fun churros and a blueberry green tea cheesecake. Also a side note: I love how Virgin Voyages has sugar cubes for tea/coffee. It’s so much more fun with sugar packets, and it feels like you’re at an upscale restaurant.
It’s a sophisticated steakhouse set in an elegant ambiance with stunning ocean views and a two-story entryway. The Wake specializes in prime cuts of meat and seafood, and also benedicts for breakfast. It’s open for breakfast, lunch (on certain days), and dinner.
So, I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Wake as it was my favorite restaurant. For breakfast, it specializes in eggs Benedict and has quite a limited traditional breakfast menu. I found the soft-shell crab eggs Benedict that I got to be pretty solid, but I think I would opt for the short ribs one next time. I was able to get the clam chowder as a starter, which felt a bit odd for breakfast, but it was so good that I did not mind.
For lunch, I got the Hanger Steak which was pretty good. I would have gotten the filet mignon, but I had it the night before for dinner. They also served the breakfast menu as well.
When I went to the wake for dinner, the appetizers were solid, and we enjoyed the Clam Chowder, Corn Custard, and Wedge Salad the most. The Hamachi was a bit odd for our liking.
I had the Filet Mignon and it was cooked perfectly and tasted great. It was as if I was in a New York City steakhouse, and I was very pleased with my meal. It was definitely the best meal I had on the ship and the best among the cruises I’ve been on.
For desserts, the Lemon Cheesecake was the most visually pleasing, but it tasted good as well. And the Panna Cotta & Chocolate Tart were great options to end the meal.
It’s a vibrant and colorful restaurant offering modern Mexican cuisine featuring a large tequila and mezcal selection. It was open for dinner nightly on my sailing.
Here, we started with Guac, Chicken Enchiladas, and Corn as per our waiter’s recommendations. I found them all to be quite good.
For mains, we shared the Cochinita Pibil (Smoked Pork) and Bistec Marinero En Escabeche (Ribeye Steak). Both were quite delicious.
And for dessert, we tried three to share and got the Tamal de Chocolate, Milhojas, and Tacos de Chocolate. I found the tacos to be quite fun!
The Test Kitchen
It’s definitely the most unique restaurant for Virgin Voyages dining selections. The Test Kitchen is the “Michelin” style restaurant onboard, which provides a culinary journey of experimentation and innovation where you get a 6-course tasting menu of creative dishes. It was open nightly for dinner.
Before you are taken to your seat, you are given a welcome drink (sip) to cleanse your palate. I loved the decor of the restaurant, and there are traditional tables, as well as high-top/bar-style seating, to which we got assigned the latter.
The menu is 6 courses, and the only choice you really get is between Venison and Beef. On longer voyages, they switch out the menus so you can come back twice with a new menu, but since our voyage was just 4 days, the menu stayed the same.
If you wanted a drinks pairing for each of the 6 courses, those were available for an additional charge for wine, cocktails, zero proof, or beer.
The second course was the coolest in terms of presentation. It arrived with a glass cover with smoke encasing it.
Once the cover was pulled off and then I saw the peas, I was disappointed. Sadly, I dislike peas very much. I ate some of the egg and caviar and left most of the peas untouched. At least it was fun to watch!
For the fourth course, I chose beef while my travel companion chose venison and they enjoyed this course. I found the beef to be satisfactory, but I much preferred my steak at the Wake. There was also a side of potatoes with this course. Courses 5 and 6 were the dessert options, and there was a blue cheese offering that was interesting and a chocolate cake which I enjoyed.
Overall, I loved trying out the Test Kitchen and would be interested in trying a different set menu. It’s certainly a unique experience, especially on a cruise ship!
It was open nightly for dinner and it serves authentic Italian dishes.
We started with the Affetatti Misti which came with cheeses and cured meats, as well as the meatballs and calamari. I liked the cured meats and meatballs but found the calamari to be too rubbery.
A cool feature is that the pasta can be ordered in half sizes or full sizes if you’d like to try other items on the menu. So, I ended up getting a half portion of the Spaghetti Alle Vongole, and the Mediterranean Sea Bass for my main.
While I enjoyed the Spaghetti Alle Vongole the Sea Bass was too dry.
On a sweet note, I tried a chocolate olive oil cake and enjoyed the gelato and sorbet selections. They even had an affogato cart that rolled around to make it tableside!
While I wish the Sea Bass and Calamari were a bit bitter, I still had a solid meal at Extra Virgin.
At Gunbae, you can experience the lively spirit of Korean BBQ where meat is grilled in front of you at your table. The entire experience begins with a complimentary round of soju for the table plus a drinking game. One note, tables are in sets of 6, so if you’re in a smaller group you’ll have to sit with strangers/new potential friends. It was open for dinner nightly, and this is the one I didn’t have time to try on my visit.
Dining Options without Reservations
- The Galley
- The Dock House
- Pizza Place
- The Galley
- Lick Me Til Ice Cream
- Sun Club Cafe
- Ship Eats (Room Service)
The closest to a cruise ship buffet, it features a food hall concept, with a variety of culinary options ranging from delectable desserts, healthy salads, Ramen, and more, providing something for every palate in a casual and communal setting. The Galley is where you can grab a quick meal throughout the day. Self-serve beverage stations are spread across the seating areas.
Among the options available are a dedicated bakery and pastry shop, a panini shop, a burger grill, a taco shack, a sushi bar with bento boxes, a noodle bar, a soup and salad stand, and a 24-hour American-style diner where breakfast is served all day. I liked the galley concept, and had breakfast here one morning, as well as visited it for snacks and light bites throughout the voyage. All the items I got were pretty tasty, and the items that stuck out the most to me were the desserts. The desserts station looked amazing and as if I was at a Parisian patisserie.
Options at the Galley
- Let’s Taco Bout It
- Bento Baby
- The Daily Mix
- The Sweet Side
- Noodle Around
- Burger Bar
- Hot off the Press
- Diner & Dash (24 hours)
They also had a cute cart if you wanted to order some champagne or indulge in free popsicles.
Below are some of the food items I indulged in. They were all quite tasty, and I enjoyed the variety of options they had.
One day, we had lunch at the dock house and it was a nice casual meal. Situated right on the ship’s aft, The Dock is a relaxed beach club-inspired venue serving up casual fare Mediterranean fare with al fresco dining & great ocean views. It was open in the afternoons on our voyage. It’s tapas style and you can order a bunch of small plates from the grill, and a Mezze Cart comes around with other dishes and desserts.
We decided to sample all of the open-fire grill offerings and selected a few options from the Mezze cart. The chocolate hummus from the Mezze Cart was unique and a nice sweet bite, and my favorites were the Chicken and Shrimp Skewers.
Overall, it was a great casual lunch with great views!
If you’re craving pizza, or need a late-night bite, you won’t be disappointed at this casual eatery that has made-to-order pizzas, as well as grab-and-go salads. I got pizzas for late night as they open until 2 am, and it was a perfect snack before bed.
Lick Me Til Ice Cream
It’s located on deck 7 next to the Pizza Place, grab as much complimentary ice cream as your heart desires. I love the cheeky name, and the flavor selection was quite good.
Next to the arcade, it serves fairgrounds/carnival classics (like buffalo wings, hot dogs, and pretzels) and has TVs to watch sports. Many people were watching the NFL playoffs here one night. One day I tried the wings but sadly they were dry and not crispy.
Sun Club Cafe
Located on deck 16, there’s the Sun Club Cafe that serves bowls, baos, and dips. I didn’t have a chance to grab a bite here, but it would be nice on a pretty day outside.
Room service on Virgin Voyages is called Ship Eats and is available 24/7. There is a $7 delivery fee, but, you can get that fee waived with the addition of any chargeable item – like alcohol or specialty coffee, so you might as well get one of those and then get the fee waived. We didn’t find an opportunity to try Ship Eats on our voyage, but it was nice to have as an option. Next time!
You probably noticed I didn’t review my drinks from the restaurants. I didn’t drink a ton at dinner… and I generally saved my drinking time for the next part of this review…the bars!
There are no unlimited drink packages like other cruise lines, but you can save some money by pre-paying for a bar tab at least 24 hours before sailing. I liked this option as I’m not someone who drinks a ton. The options were:
Buy a $100 Bar Tab and get an extra $10, $200 get an extra $25. and $300 get an extra $50. We got $200 in case, and you can easily share it with someone else. My travel companion bought the bar tab, and we just charged my drinks to him. Bar Tabs can be used at all restaurants and bars on the ship, and Bimini.
On the Rocks
Under the Roundabout stairs, there is a cave-themed bar that also features live musical performances.
They had a cute special drink with a feather in it!
This is the Champagne Lounge and probably the prettiest bar onboard. I love the seating areas, and would often come to sit just to lounge around.
This was the local tap room serving beers.
The Dock Bar
The inside portion of the Dock is a bar and lounge that has live music nightly. I loved the vibe of this space and enjoyed some drinks as well.
Inside the nightclub space, there are bars, and they have special drinks for the themed nights. I particularly enjoyed the PJ Party Night, and the Pillow Shot was fun!
Bars that I didn’t indulge for a drink at include The Loose Cannon, which is a nautically inspired bar, the Aquatic Club Bar, which is near the pool, Gy,m and Tonic Bar, which offers smoothies, juices, and a full bar next to the fitness center, the Sun Club Bar on deck 16 and the Athletic Club Bar. The Casino also has a bar as well.
Overall, there are plenty of bars and lounges on the Scarlet Lady to keep you hydrated.
For coffee lovers, like the person I was traveling with, there’s the Grounds Club that serves coffee and espresso drinks.
Overall, the Virgin Voyages dining options were great, and eating at a specialty restaurant each night makes it feel like you’re in the city eating at nice restaurants. I much prefer this to having the same dining room food for the whole journey on other cruise lines. There’s a great variety of restaurants, casual dining, and bars onboard Virgin Voyages, and I can’t wait to sail with them again!
Have you been on the Scarlet Lady before? Or another Virgin Voyages ship? What did you think of Virgin Voyages Dining? Comment below!
As a Gold tier First Mate travel agent with Virgin Voyages, I’m happy to help make your cruise booking as seamless as possible. From helping you secure a reservation at the Wake, to gaining you priority boarding, I’m here to assist. Simply use my booking link to discover your next Virgin Voyage and I’ll assist you on your journey! Have any questions? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also view all my other posts here! Thanks for stopping by!