I recently set sail on Virgin Voyages 5 night Dominican Daze sailing onboard the Scarlet Lady. Let me take you along and give you a small glimpse of what you may experience on your own and with a small group. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for more about my experience.
Day 4–At Sea Day
I wanted to change things up a bit this morning and had breakfast at Razzle Dazzle. No reservations are required for breakfast. If you are looking for something on the healthier side this is a great option. Razzle Dazzle is vegan forward but does offer some non-vegan options. I had a good hearty breakfast of eggs, mushrooms, potatoes and sausage. The sausage was “Impossible” and I could not tell the difference.
Today was a day to explore and enjoy some of the ship activities. I decided to skip pool time with the others and walked around taking pictures and shopping. They were beginning to decorate for Scarlet Night this evening with large inflatables.
Early afternoon was Around the World in 80 Minutes with the Diva. We knew we wanted to see this based on the previous Bingo with the Diva. (See Part 2). This particular show was in the Manor. The Manor serves as a show spot in the afternoons and a nightclub in the evenings. What a show! Get there early for good seating.
HOT TIP: The entry hallway for The Manor is fabulous! With the sparkly mirrors they are a popular photo spot. Watch for the doors to be open during off times for photos without people walking through.
After the show it was time to check out the casino. Sailor Loot can be converted into casino credits. You have to go to the cage and they will transfer the loot to either your band for use at the slots, or to chips for use at the tables. I had quite a few credits to spend so why not give the slots a try. Glad I did! With $40 in credits I ended up winning $350!! Quit while I was ahead 🙂
Tonight for Scarlet Night we dined at Razzle Dazzle. If you dress in your Scarlet-y best the entryway to Razzle Dazzle is another good photo spot. Dinner at Razzle Dazzle gives you the option of Naughty or Nice. Nice is vegan/health friendly, Naughty is meaty, hearty goodness. All courses are individual. Pork Schnitzel was my choice for main with a double dessert of Milk and Cookies and Rainbow Churros. Milk and cookies are worth trying. The milk had a little hint of cinnamon.
For Scarlet Night we did not have a show scheduled. Instead we walked around to see all of the happenings. One of the impromptu activities was Karaoke with the Diva in the Social Club. Yours truly did sing. It did get quite crowded in such a small space so we moved on after a while. None of us made it to the pool party late that evening.
HOT TIP: Scarlet Night is the only time you will find a photographer onboard. The photo booth is set up on Deck 7 and is complimentary. Photos are emailed to you within a few minutes.
Day 5-Beach Club at Bimini
Our game plan was to depart the ship early to secure a poolside spot at the Beach Club at Bimini. The last time we visited it was cool and the water was too cold to enjoy. This time it was perfect. We were able to get loungers close to the pool bar. Others in our group went to the beach area and got spots close to the water.
What is included at the Beach Club at Bimini? Pretty much everything. The bars will charge your Bar Tab, the food is included and there is a complimentary port/Beach Club shuttle. The shuttle does also stop at the casino and port excursion area. Several of us had a lot of bar tab that needed to be used up. Beach Club is a good place to do that. Buy a round for your friends.
We were pool bums all day. The DJ was playing some good songs. The weather was warm, the sun was out and the water was just right. The only time we got out of the pool was to eat lunch. Lunch was caribbean fare and just as good as I remember it. Try it all, but I recommend the pork, the corn on the cob and the rum cake. About 3/3:30 we were waterlogged, and tired. Back to the ship to nap and shower before our final dinner of the cruise.
Gunbae, the Korean BBQ, was hands down the best meal of the cruise. We had not tried this restaurant previously and I was excited, although a little hesitant since I am somewhat of a picky eater. I was too busy stuffing my face to take a lot of pictures. Appetizers and mains are served family style. The Dakgang Jeong (chicken) and seafood corn dog were crowd pleasers.
Order extra portions of the chicken, it is heavenly. Our waiter prepared the main meats directly at our table on the grill. Shrimp, octopus, beef and pork. The beef had been marinated in teriyaki and just melted in your mouth. Dining at Gunbae is best with a group. They play fun games at your table that get everyone laughing. Truly the best way to end our trip.
DAY 6-Debarkation and Home
The earliest flight recommended when sailing Virgin Voyages out of Miami is 12:00 pm (noon). When planning your flights home you do need to account for several steps that could result in several hours of time. My flight was at 11:50 am, others at 12:30 pm. Early debarkation is available for those with an early flight. There was quite a line forming before the announced clearance to leave. We did need to get off to catch a flight but found waiting about 15 minutes past the announced time resulted in no line to actually get off the ship.
We did have about a 30 minute wait to clear customs at port. They only had 1 or 2 agents working so it was slow moving. 30 minutes was not bad. Allow 45 minutes to figure in all the walking.
Transfers to Airport
Shuttles, uber and taxis are available just outside of the port to get you to the airport. We opted for the shuttle transfer at $10 per person. With a larger party it was easier than having to get multiple ubers or taxis. Total wait time for the shuttle appx 15 minutes, Total drive time to airport about 20 minutes. **The shuttle did make multiple stops at different terminals. Mine happened to be the first stop.
My experience was with American Airlines. They have separate lines for Priority guests, guests with TSA pre-check and a regular line. I was dropped off near the regular line. Thankfully I had pre-check and went down to find it. The line to check bags was minimal. Security checkpoint was basically a walk-through. Total time for me was about 15 minutes.
Others were using Delta and did not have such a quick experience. Checking bags was a little longer and they did not have pre-check. Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes!
Finding your gate
Miami International is a large airport. It can be quite a walk once you clear security to get to your gate. A skytram is available to reduce walking time. My gate was about a 10 to 15 minute walk once I cleared security. Not too bad. I had about an hour to grab a bite to eat before boarding. My friends on Delta were just clearing security when I was boarding at 11:20!
Total time leaving ship to clearing airport security; Me: appx 2 hours, Others: appx 3 and ½ hours.
Final Note: When I arrived home in Louisville, it was just a few days before the Kentucky Derby. The airport was decked out in celebration and they were handing out bourbon balls to arriving guests. What a welcome home!
To learn more about Virgin Voyages or to book your next cruise contact your journey planner.
Shout out to Embrace the Journey Travel Planner Mary K Allen for writing this blog and sharing her experience. Learn more about Mary K here.