I recently came back from a Virgin Voyages cruise out of Miami, and I felt like it was a breath of fresh air for cruising. Virgin Voyages Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze, and we visited two ports on our four-night journey dubbed “Fire and Sunset Soirees”. This post highlights the Virgin Voyages embarkation and disembarkation process, as well as the ports visited on this trip.
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
Itinerary- Fire & Sunset Soirées
First Day: Miami, Florida- 6 PM Departure (All Aboard 2 Hours Before)
Second Day: Key West, Florida- 8 AM to 5 PM
Third Day: At Sea
Fourth Day: Beach Club at Bimini, Bahamas- 8 AM to 7 PM
Fifth Day: Miami, Florida- 6:30 AM Arrival
Since Virgin Voyages, provides late checkout, boarding does start a bit later than other cruise lines and generally begins at 2 pm. I booked my cruise relatively last minute less than a month out, and so when I went to check-in online, the time slots for me to choose for embarkation were 3 to 3:45 pm and I chose a 3:15 pm slot.
Arrival at Terminal V
Virgin Voyages has their own new terminal in Miami called Terminal V. Once you arrive, you can drop off your bags if you’d like, or proceed to check-in. We just had a carry-on bag and a backpack, so we didn’t need help with our bags. Then, we took the escalators to the check-in, and there was no line. We were quickly helped by a friendly associate who gave us our bands which are a bracelet and would serve as our room key and card for onboard purchases.
Shortly after, we went through security and then passed the empty waiting area. I assume if you arrive earlier you may have to wait here, but since our boarding time was later, we walked right on the ship! The whole process took about 15 minutes and was very seamless.
I’ve been to Key West before back in 2019, and I wasn’t that impressed with it. I had similar sentiments this time. It gives off old-school vibes and is mainly filled with old Dive Bars. Despite its tropical charm, the city is not my cup of tea, but some people may like it.
One cool landmark in Key West is the fact that Pam Am was founded here, The airline was founded in 1927 as a mail and passenger service, operating between Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba. It was the principal and largest international air carrier and unofficial flag carrier for the United States from 1927 until its demise in 1991.
The ticket office for Pan Am has since been converted into a restaurant & bar called First Flight which is cool. So, I did visit for a beer and checked out the gift shop on the way out. I got a cup as I love anything airline-related.
Beach Club at Bimini
The Virgin Voyages Bimini Beach Club is part of the expansive Resorts World complex, which also includes a Hilton hotel. When Virgin Voyages is at port, the Beach Club is exclusive only to ship guests which is nice.
They also had short excursions some of which included visiting a shipwreck and shark snorkeling & scuba diving.
The beach club is over a mile away from the ship, but thankfully trams run quite regularly, and we never waited more than 5 minutes for one. The ride from the port to the beach club is about 15 minutes long. On the way there, it also made an intermediate stop at Fisherman’s Village if you wanted to stroll around some shops or rent a golf cart to explore the island. On the ride back, the tram stopped in front of the Hilton Resorts World, in case you wanted to check out the casino. We did a quick visit to the Hilton and played a bit of slots before catching the tram back to the ship.
Arriving at Bimini Beach Club
Upon entry, you’ll pass a covered area with an info desk to the left and a bar to the right.
Going further, there are two large Lagoon pools one on the left and one on the right.
Additionally, there are bars spread out across the club. The right side has a DJ booth, and the pool party starts at 1 pm where they bring pool floaties and start playing more party jams.
When we arrived around 10, a lot of the pool chairs were taken, but I was actually able to find a lounger within the water which was kind of cool. Servers did come around to take drink orders, but it was a bit slow, so we ended up grabbing drinks at the bar ourselves. Your wearable band extends to the Beach Club, and you can use your Bar Tab here as well. Additionally, the free WiFi from the ship extends here too.
Other areas include Belvedere Beach, which had loungers with umbrellas and sand, despite not being along the water. And, hammocks were available in the hideaway.
The beach was nice, with plenty of chairs to lounge. They had some cute daybeds and larger clamshell seats, but most of those were occupied by the time we arrived. The water in January was a tad cold, but it was still warm enough for me to swim for a bit. Additionally, cabanas were available to rent for a fee.
If you are booked in the ships’ RockStar suites, there is a special VIP area on the left side of the Beach Club just for you called the Rockstar Retreat. They have a private section of the beach with nicer lounge chairs, and the food selection is brought to you by dedicated servers.
Both sides have “Beach Eats” where you can grab lunch that is Caribbean-inspired. You order at a counter, and you’ll be provided your selections on a tray, so no having to self-serve like a buffet. Here, soft drinks including fountain soda and water are included and are self-serve.
The Beach Club at Bimini Menu
- Bahamian Mango & Macadamia Nut Salad
- Watermelon & Jicama Salad
- Lechon Asado
- Caribbean Rice and Black Beans
- Red Snapper & mango Ceviche
- West Indian Pumpkin Curry
- Grilled Honey Jerk Chicken Thigh
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Crispy Cassava
- Rum Cake
- Tropical Fruit Salad
The selections I tried were decent, but not as good as the food on the ship. It would be nice if they had the same caliber of food here as on the ship. Perhaps that is something they can improve on in the future.
You can select your disembarkation time towards the end of the sailing, and the app will send you a push notification. In the app under “On Shore Things”, you’ll be able to select a time. We chose the latest possible slot which was 10:15 am because we had a mid-afternoon flight and wanted to get the most sleep. For reference, the earliest slot was 7:30 am.
I really appreciate Virgin Voyages allowing later check-out times so you can have a solid night’s sleep, and not feel obligated to go to bed early the last night. 10:15 am is a lot better than the 8 am checkout I had on Royal Caribbean.
We left our room at 10:15 and went to the Roundabout to walk off at our leisure. You could put your bags out the night before for the staff to have the bags waiting for you at the cruise terminal, but we chose to walk off as we just had carry-ons. Customs took no time at all, and we just walked out of the terminal.
The rideshare area was a bit crowded, so definitely be patient when calling an Uber/Lyft. It took us about 20 minutes to get someone, but then we were on our way to Fort Lauderdale Airport to catch our flight home.
Overall, I found the Virgin Voyages embarkation and disembarkation process to be quite seamless. It has been definitely the quickest compared to my other cruises (Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean). I do appreciate how Virgin allows you to check out of your stateroom later than the other cruise lines so that you can get a full night’s sleep. As for the ports on this voyage, they were fine for quick stops, but I may stay on the ship next time if I end up in Key West again.
Have you sailed with Virgin Voyages before? What did you think of the Virgin Voyages Embarkation process? Share 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 restaurant reservation 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 email@example.com. You can also view all my other posts here! Thanks for stopping by!