There are few times I’ve turned as red as I did during “Never Sleep Alone” a participant-drafted show aboard our Virgin Voyage, hosted by their resident sexologist.
This is part four of a four-part series about Virgin Voyages.
Part One: Virgin Voyages - How Are They Different?
Part Two: Virgin Voyages - Let's Talk About Cabins!
Part Three: Virgin Voyages - Time to Dine
Part Four: Virgin Voyages - Entertainment at Sea
From great and good to bad and terrifying, we’re reviewing all things Virgin.
Sexologist? Yeah, I don’t think that’s a real thing, either. It’s all schtick and if you’re into being shocking, being shocked, or watching others be shocked, you’ll love it. I entered the theater having a pretty good idea of what I was getting into, and after our quick question and answer session by assistants in lab coats, we were seated in the “less adventurous” middle row, where I lived in fear I would be asked to participate. Instead, I watched as the front row all said yes to being drafted - thank heavens - and I didn’t get poked, except when we all stood up and put on our masks and were to find someone to tell our first erotic experience to. I did NOT do that. I hid behind my husband, instead.
I knew what I was getting into and if I hadn’t, the condoms on the table would have told me. No, you don’t see any sex acts on the stage or in the room. You do see the hostess strip down at the end, which no review prepared me for. Our honest appraisal of this and all of the entertainment aboard our voyage is this: They were trying too hard and they need better writing. The show had the potential of being tongue-in-cheek funny, making you uncomfortable but making you laugh at the same time. It didn’t hit the mark. Halfway through, my husband was actually bored. And we are show people! We met when we were both acting in college.
Never Sleep Alone was not the worst of it. We hit another show that was standing room only and it was pretty bad. However, the other ones were entertaining enough to be enjoyable. Again, the writing could use some work. But we still had a great time. I do think we’ll do a Virgin Voyage again, but I can’t imagine we’d ever do that show again. And surprisingly, it’s not because of the subject matter or even the nudity at the end. My husband looked away and I just felt sorry for the poor, “trying so hard” girl on the stage, and breathed a sigh of relief for her when they draped a robe around her shoulders. It’s because in their efforts to break boundaries and be shocking, they only accomplished a sad sort of effort that was sorely lacking.
The good news is, you don’t have to go to the NSA show or any show, really. You won’t even run across them. You have to visit on purpose. Plan ahead. Make it a priority. If and when we go back, we’ll adopt an earlier schedule and take part in the exercise classes that do have higher ratings among the agents in our agency. We’ll skip the late-night boundary-pushing.
One thing I’m glad I saw once is the Scarlet night build-up and party by the pool. I love how a giant Octopus takes over the center of the ship, from the top by the pool, down through the stairwells in the middle decks. I enjoyed the dancing and performances by jugglers, a rhythmic gymnast, and a few more trained dancers. One thing unique was the feeling of who was on stage and the amount of interaction they had with those viewing, and nowhere was this evidenced more than during the pool party.
We’ll call him toga-man, the gentleman who came to the late-night Scarlet party ready to strip down and get in the pool at the end of the show when all the performers jump in and then invite others to do the same. Clearly, he’d been here before. As I was watching his free-spirited dancing through the crowd with his bedspread toga on, I smiled at how at-home he looked. And I thought of something I have said only once before but really encapsulates the entire Virgin Voyages experience.
Imagine you’re watching one of the many, many coming-of-age films where you find yourself rooting for the film lead, the protagonist, and their marginalized friends. While attractive or quirky looking, alternative or unique, something about them doesn’t quite fit in. They don’t blend. The goal of the film is to make you hate the popular, cookie-cutter pretty people in favor of the one(s) you’re watching, who just wants to feel like they belong somewhere. Anywhere. The climax of the film is usually when the likable lead realizes they don’t need the pretty, popular people. They just need the real, multi-dimensional “rejects” like themselves and together they do belong - to one another! It’s definitely a formula that works because filmmakers have used it a TON, right?
Now, imagine those marginalized people all got together after they realized they actually belonged and felt good about themselves and created a cruise line and invited all their people and you were on the guest list! THAT is Virgin Voyages. The only question left for you now is, do you want to go?