My favorite cruise companion ate his way across our Virgin cruise and proclaimed Virgin had both the best and worst cruise food he's ever eaten. How’s that for an adventure?
This is part three 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 (available 3/29)
From great and good to bad and terrifying, we’re reviewing all things Virgin.
Unique to Virgin Voyages is the all-inclusive dining and lower bar pricing than the industry norm. While we love other cruise lines, and we really do, the add-ons tend to add up if you want the full dining experience. It’s true you’ll never go hungry, but with Virgin you’ll also never do without.
Room service is a $5 charge, again less than normal, and the delivery is unique and charming. You receive a zippered bag with layers of enclosed platters and perhaps a thermos if you ordered soup or an open layer with your drinks and condiments. We were even able to order candy, soft drinks, snacks, and high-end entrees whenever we wanted.
Soft drinks, the obligatory “ice tea flavored beverage”, juice, coffee, hot tea, and water are included and easily accessible all over the ship. Gourmet Ice Cream, handmade pizza that was some of the best we’ve ever eaten, pretzels, hot dogs, burgers, popcorn, candy including chocolate-dipped peanut brittle and other decadent treats can be found around every corner.
And here’s the thing. The food didn’t have the mass-made, reconstituted eggs and potatoes feeling that you usually get when you’re on a ship or any large catering venue. From the desserts to the fine dining, we felt like we were eating “real food.”
Now, that doesn’t mean it was all good. Because it was clearly created and curated by chefs and artists, some things are going to end up being an amazing amalgam of tastes you’ve never quite experienced before, and some of them are… not. The most NOT during our voyage? The chocolate tamale. It tasted just like it sounds and that was NOT good. I’m laughing as I remember my husband’s face as he tried it. SO funny.
But the thing about being an adventurous eater on this or any cruise is the freedom of knowing you won’t get portions the size of your head (most of the time) so it’s okay to try something. In fact, you can order multiple entrees or desserts at any meal you choose, and you can order seconds of anything you like. Sometimes I choose to skip dessert in a restaurant in favor of some little treat I’ve found somewhere else on board. For Virgin, it was the cute little vegan chocolate tarts that I loved. You can find them in the Galley.
And the Galley is where I’ll wrap up this article, as it’s the place we spent the most time. We had to work during our cruise - owning a travel agency is a full-time gig with beautiful perks - and we loved the huge variety and quantity of tables with all types of plugs. And it’s not a buffet, for once. There are stations scattered throughout but you will still be waited on, making it a full-service experience with a tremendous amount of variety.