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When the cat's away...

What can you really get up to on an adults-only cruise? From hen dos to singles

Adults-only cruises are a boon for holidaymakers looking to be undisturbed by children during their getaway – here’s how you can make the most of your time onboard.

Adults only cruise holidays are very much in demand among those looking for a kid-free jolly.

You can enjoy experiences created exclusively with adults in mind, tuck into menus that don’t need to cater for children, and at no point listen to a screaming toddler having a meltdown. Heaven.

Virgin Voyages is a cruise line offering the ultimate adult only cruises, where only the inner child roams as free as a pre-Brexit phone plan.

As a result, everything onboard Virgin’s adult only cruise ships, Valiant Lady and Scarlet Lady, is curated for grown-ups, from Michelin star chef-designed menus to boundary-pushing entertainment, so there’s plenty to do no matter who you’re travelling with.

Whether you’re on a hen do, a romantic getaway, a solo trip, or a parent travelling with adult offspring, Virgin Voyages has you covered.

Here’s what you can get up to on your adult only cruise.

Day in the life of … parents and adult children

All Grown up

Get your fix of me-time and kick-start the day at The Runway, the Virgin-red jogging track, to work up a bit of sweat, enjoy the sea views and get your day off to an, erm, running start.

For breakfast, team back up with your nearest and dearest and head to Hot off the Press for breakfast-themed sandwiches or toasties.

Time for some relaxation! Mum on the tricky crossword, you on the latest thriller, laze besides the large, circular Well-Being Pool. Relax, take a dip to cool off or enjoy a restorative beverage at the nearby Gym & Tonic juice bar.

Families don’t always see eye to eye over food and dietary choices, so lunch at Razzle Dazzle will make eating a cinch as it caters to all manner of foodie fancies and needs; plus it has a “naughty or nice” menu should your sister be sure she wants to stick to her healthy eating regime while away (we’ll see how long that lasts).

Next, strike up some healthy family competition over air hockey, shuffleboard, foosball and oodles of board and card games at The Social Club. No, dad, you don’t have to win everything.

For dinner, The Wake will keep older and younger holidaymakers content with its mix of sophistication, nostalgia, and cool. The restaurant embodies the old steakhouse of Madison Avenue and serves steak and seafood.

Day in the life of … a hen weekend

Shots, shots, shots!

Let’s face it, there’s a high chance you’ll be hungover from your big night the day before on this Virgin adult only cruise, so start the day at Let’s Taco Bout It’s. The eatery, inspired by the food truck-lined streets of Austin, offers up breakfast burritos — perfect for blitzing the aftereffects of last night as well as catching up on the goss (can’t believe what Suzie did!).

You’ll likely want to take it easy as the day gets going, so mooch on over to the Aquatic Club, a pool deck oozing the sophisticated glam of a contemporary yacht. Lie on the daybeds and wish that wine headache away or dive into the pool for the ultimate refresh.

By lunchtime, some culinary goodness is what the doctor would order, so visit the Sun Club Cafe – inspired by the Hawaiian islands – where you can tuck into marinated tuna, chicken, and salmon over green or rice bowls.

Makeover time! Scurry over to The Tune Up to enjoy a variety of luxurious manicures and pedicures, from organic soaks to decorative nail art, to help you look your best for the upcoming night’s shenanigans.

If you’re feeling really brave (maybe after some poolside cocktails) check out Squid Ink, Virgin’s very own tattoo studio, to immortalise your trip. Just make sure the bride doesn’t get her ex’s name tattooed by accident…

Get the party vibes flowing over dinner at Gunbae, a Korean BBQ where you can get stuck into hands-on meat-grilling and soju drinking, before heading to private karaoke at The Groupie (just remember to book ahead). We’ll be singing Britney.

Then, to top off an amazing day, head to The Manor, a two-storey, three-bar space boasting groundbreaking shows before transitioning into a mind-blowing nightclub for a hen night to remember (or not – looking at you here Suzie).

Day in the life of … a solo traveller

Independence Day

Solo cruises are an excellent way to sea (geddit?) the world and make plenty of friends along the way, and Virgin Voyages’ exclusively adult cruises make this easy for you.

Start your day at Build & Balance with a group workout; all fitness classes are included in the price of your voyage fare (think bungee, HIIT, and breathing classes) or book a personal training session.

Hungry? Take a trip to The Daily Mix, a healthy joint offering yoghurt and oatmeal dishes for breakfast.

After a morning exploring the ship, and maybe a dip in the pool, The Pizza Place will sort you out for lunch; choose from the classic menu or design your own bespoke pizza (and absolutely no one will judge you for any bizarre concoctions you come up with!).

To sate that sweet tooth and make friends while doing so, visit The Social Club Diner where you can get your sugar hit from modern takes on fairground classics at the bar.

Your inner child will adore the photogenic milkshakes piled high with cookies, cake, frosting and candy — and they can even be spiked with booze for an adult-friendly upgrade! Why not pal up with some new mates and play air hockey, shuffleboard and foosball here?

Music lovers will also enjoy the record shop Voyage Vinyl. It’s stocked with music magazines, headphones, and record players. Pull up to a listening station to plug into old favourites or discover songs you never knew existed.

For dinner, check out The Test Kitchen for something a little different. The laboratory-like eatery offers an educational and social experience with classes and evolving tasting menus so you can placate those taste buds and make friends as you learn new and exciting recipes.

Afterwards, visit The Casino. It’s split into slot machine districts (Little Asia, Ocean Drive Tournament Central or Adventure Alley) with 115 slot machines plus table games such as craps, roulette, single deck blackjack, three card poker, Baccarat and more.

This is a great place on an adults-only cruise to get the conversation flowing with other cruisers, and you can also ask the dealers to teach you how to play if you’re new to gambling.

Day in the life of … a couple

All you need is love

Right now is the perfect time to enjoy a romantic getaway à deux with Virgin Voyages — if you book an adult only cruise, your partner will sail for 50 percent off! What’s more, you’ll get an extra $100 toward your prepaid Bar Tab to spend on sunset cocktails on your terrace. Winning! You just need to book by August 31.

So, how will you make the most of this bargain break? Start your day off on your Virgin adult only cruise a bit differently, with a Japanese breakfast at Bento Baby in The Galley (only please don’t feed each other when fellow passengers can see) before scooching on over to Redemption Spa.

Here you can enjoy a massage and hit the Thermal Site with its *deep breath* mud room, salt room, sauna, steam room, hot and cold plunge pools and heated marble hammam benches. Phewf, that’s an awful lot of indulgence — maybe you can even pick up some massage tips for later, wink wink.

Italy is one of the most romantic countries in the world, so head to Extra Virgin for lunch. The trattoria plates up shared antipasti and fresh, handmade pasta to help you soak up all the Italian aperitifs. Mmm aperol spritz.

Find that playful side to your relationship at The Arcade where you can enjoy epic childhood arcade games such as Pac-man, air hockey and race cars; just don’t have a meltdown if you lose. Remember, this is an adults-only cruise.

For dinner, eat at Pink Agave to embark on an immersive odyssey of Mexican cuisine; a master of ceremonies will guide you through a highly curated dining experience (definitely something you can show off about to friends back home).

Then, hit up larger-than-life entertainment space The Red Room. It’s the first ever transformational, multi-form theatre at sea. Expect boundary-pushing performances on the traditional Proscenium stage or late-night dance parties on the flat-floor configuration.

And afterwards? Yes well, you don’t need our help with that….

Set Sail

Eastern Caribbean Antilles with Virgin Voyages

Duration: 8 nights

Where: Miami | Puerto Plata | San Juan | St. Croix | The Beach Club at Bimini | Miami

Ship: Valiant Lady

Price: From $968 pp

Find out more
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Harriet Mallinson

Sailawaze Editor Harriet has been a travel writer for nine years and specialised in cruising for more than three. Globetrotting highlights include flyboarding in Malaga, exploring waterfalls in Belize, ziplining in Costa Rica, truffle-hunting in Tuscany and whale-watching in Iceland. Next on her cruise bucket list is Antarctica – or any opportunity to see the Northern Lights! Next up: a Provence river cruise.

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Published 07.08.22