Planning Your First Virgin Cruise – What can you expect in the first 24 Hours of your Virgin Voyages Cruise?

First Virgin Voyages Cruise

So you have booked, or you are thinking of booking a Virgin Voyages Cruise, and wondering how the first 24 hours will go, check out this guide as we take you through what you can expect during your first day on your first Virgin Cruise.

This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the initial steps, from check-in to dining and entertainment options, ensuring that you kick off your cruise on the right foot. Whether it’s setting up your onboard account, booking popular activities, or enjoying the Sail Away Celebration, we’ve got you covered for a seamless start to your unforgettable voyage.

Check-in with the Virgin Voyages App

Pre-Boarding Essentials

Before setting sail, ensure you’ve completed your check-in through the Virgin Voyages Sailor app. This user-friendly app is your gateway to a hassle-free boarding process, once you have set up your sailor account, your booking so automatically linked as long as it was booked under the same email address, if not, you can always manually link a voyage by entering the booking reference.

Once you have that linked to your app, you can then head to the check-in section, which should show X/6 steps complete. Just follow the step-by-step process to upload a photo, add an onboard payment method, upload your travel documents, sign the voyage contract (T&Cs), and add an emergency contact.

NOTE: Not all steps maybe available when you start the process, so just do as many as the app will allow you, that will unlock the option to secure a boarding time.

There is also a section at the end to let Virgin know of your flight times to and from the ship, this is so they prioritise any guests travelling the day of, or the day after their cruise should the ship be delayed, so make sure you add your flight times when asked.

You can download the Virgin Voyages Sailor App using this link:- https://www.virginvoyages.com/app

TOP TIP: You can start this process as soon as you book, and we would recommend you do this so you can secure an earlier boarding time, even if you don’t want to complete all the steps,

  • Upload Your ID: Securely add your identification details to the app.
  • Set Up Your Account: Choose how you’d like to manage your onboard expenses. Options include individual billing or a single bill for the entire cabin. Follow the instructions to enter your payment details.

Book your Virgin Voyages Cruise Today

If you would like to book your Virgin Voyages Cruise today, you can use the below link to see the latest offers and self-service your booking. Any bookings made using this link will be linked to Magical Traveller (it will say Sold and Serviced by Kieran Miller at the top); you will have complete control over your booking and can pay Virgin Voyages directly.

If you book using our Book and Go link by clicking the image below, we will add bonus sailor loot to your account as a thank you, $25-$200, depending on cruise duration and cabin purchased. Sea Terrace cabins receive $100 on sailings four nights or more as a guide. An email will be sent within 24 hours from Magical Traveller confirming the loot will be added within 30 days before you sail.

If you would like to add hotels and accommodation, don’t hesitate to contact us, and we can make your cruise a fully ATOL-protected holiday.

Payment Methods – Setting up your Virgin Voyages onboard account

You will be asked as part of your check-in process to let Virgin know how you will cover any onboard expenses whilst onboard. The ship is cashless, with all payments charged back to your cabin via the Sailor Band, a wearable device that is handed to you when you check-in.

The Virgin Voyages Wearable acts as your room key while onboard, they each have nautical-themed messages on them

Credit Card

Using a credit card is recommended for ease. Virgin Voyages places a $250 hold on your card to cover any purchases you may make outside of any Bar Tab you may have purchased, or loot you may have secured. This pre-hold is expanded as you get close to spending the current authorised hold.

Can I use a Debit Card for my onboard Virgin Voyages Account?

Yes, you can also add a Debit card, but be aware that the pre-authorisation hold is the same as credit cards, and it can take up to 30 days for that hold to be returned to your debit account. So ensure you have the spare funds and won’t need them for up to 30 days, this is down to your bank, and Virgin Voyages.

Can I put cash on my Virgin Voyages onboard account?

Yes, you can also opt to pay in cash by depositing a minimum of $200 at Sailor Services. Once you are close to spending over the amount of cash that has been added to your account, there will be hold places on your onboard purchases until you add more cash, or an alternative payment method to your account.

Can we share Sailor Loot and Bar Tabs?

Sailor Loot and bar tabs are allocated to individual sailors when booked. So if you want to have separate accounts, then make sure you add any Bar Tabs to the right sailor when booking. However, you always speak to Sailor Services to move loot between cabin mates.

If you would like to share the bar tab/loot between everyone on the cabin, then just make sure you make that you are picking up the bill for someone else when checking in, i.e. there is only one card/payment method on file for everyone in the cabin, that way, all sailor loot/bar tab will be shared between everyone in the cabin.

You can read our full guide to how Sailor Loot and Bar Tabs work here, including our Bar Tab Calculator so you can understand how that works:-

Fill out your health Screening the day before

The day before you board the ship, the app will allow you to complete the health screening questionnaire. These questions are there to protect you and your fellow sailors from any potential illnesses that spread easily on cruise lines like Norovirus, please pay attention when completing this form as the incorrect answer could result in delayed boarding or denied boarding.

Boarding Day: How to board Virgin Voyages

On the day of your voyage, I’m sure you will be excited to get on board and make the most of your first day. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of as you make your way to the cruise terminal.

Boarding at Miami Terminal V

We have a trip report from our time when we boarded at Virgin’s very own cruise terminal in Miami, Terminal V. You can read that here:-

Boarding at Barcelona Cruise Terminal

We have also sailed from Barcelona and Athen, but have yet to write up our experience sailing from Athens, you can find our trip report from our time sailing from Barcelona here:-

Boarding Tips

  • Be Punctual: Virgin Voyages strictly adheres to assigned boarding times that are allocated in the app. Ensure you arrive within your allocated slot.
  • Luggage: You can drop your suitcases at the terminal ahead of your boarding slot if you would like and then head off to explore the port before your boarding time.
📍World Trade Centre – Barcelona

Boarding generally starts around 13:30, with Rockstar guests being the first to be invited to board, where they are invited to a champagne reception, typically located in Sip, where they will meet their Rockstar Agents.

Following Rockstar Guests, the first slot will open, Sailors who are members of the Sailing Club, will be allowed to board in the first available boarding slot, followed by those who have added the Splash of Romance package.

If you have completed all the check-in steps on the app, once you are through security it will often take minutes for the crew to check everything is in order, then pass you your sailor band. After that, you can make your way to the gangway and get onboard your Lady Ship.

First Steps Onboard

Once you are on board, the first thing that will happen is you will be welcomed by The Happenings Cast, the Virgin Voyages entertainment team, they will be your guides during your voyage for all the shows, events and activities whilst onboard, so be sure to say Hi and ask them any questions you have about sailing the Virgin Way.

Cabins are available as soon as you board Virgin Voyages

Unlike other lines, Virgin Voyages has a later embarkation and disembarkation, but this means your Cabins are available as soon as you board, so you are free to head to your cabin to drop off any day bags you may have, get changed for the pool, or get a power nap if you’ve had an early morning start.

Where to begin your Virgin Voyages Adventure

It can be overwhelming when you first board a new ship, we always suggest you work out what your priorities are, be it food, drink, gym or R&R to help you decide what activities you should focus on first. We’re not saying this is the order you choose the following activities, but here is a list of things you can do until, that will help you make the most of your first few days whilst sailing with Virgin Voyages.

Join the Ships Wifi and set up your app

If you take nothing else from this guide, make sure you sort your app out as soon as you join the ship. The Wifi onboard is included, so make sure you connect to the Sailor Wifi network on your phone and open the Sailor App.

More features will become available once you have connected to the ship’s wifi, such as the ability to book onboard events. You will be asked to verify yourself by entering your cabin number and DOB to unlock your account.

Upon boarding, connect to the ship’s Wi-Fi via the app. This will unlock the full functionality of the app, allowing you to book activities and dining reservations.

Group Fitness Classes

These tend to book out quickly, so reserve your spot early. They are free, but there is a no-show fee, which is donated to charity.

Entertainment and Events

Book paid-for experiences like Another Rose, Drag Bingo, Lolz Club comedy show, Grog Walk, Shot for Shot, and Plate, Snap, Eat.

Shore Things

You can now also use any Sailor Loot you may have to book Shore Things, assuming there are spots available, it’s always worth keeping an eye out for any dropouts or speaking with the Shore Things team who will be at the Big Red Desk on Deck 7 of the Roundabout.


Around 60% of the dinner reservations are available 45 days before when reservations first open (60 days for Rockstar guests), however more slots are available once you are onboard, these can be booked via the App, or by visiting the dining team who are usually located in the Roundabout, or Sip on for the first few hours of your voyage to offer tips on getting any reservations you may not have been able to snag on when they were first available.

The Big Red Desk on Deck 7 Roundabout - Scarlet Lady
The Big Red Desk on Deck 7 Roundabout – Scarlet Lady

Explore the ship and Settle In

Cabin Access and when will your luggage be dropped off

As mentioned above, your cabin will be available as soon as you get on board, your luggage may not arrive until up to 9pm, typically it is there within a few hours, but make sure you plan for your first day around not having access to your suitcase until later in the day.

Plan to take your first nights outfit, and any pool deck attire on your carry-on if your first evening depends on what you are wearing, out of 9 voyages, 2 of them my suitcase didn’t arrive until 8 pm, so make sure you have any meds, sunscreen and essentials on you when you board, you can always drop them to your cabin, but if you can’t be without it, don’t hand it to the terminal team.

Wondering what the cabins are like onboard Virgin Voyages, we have a full guide to all the cabins:-

What food is available when I get onboard Virgin Voyages?

For us, this is always our main priority, we are keen to get something to eat, so we always head to the eateries as soon as we get onboard. So what’s open when you first get onboard?

The Galley is the main place to grab casual food onboard, and the Virgin Voayges Equivalent to a Buffet (it’s so much more, however). There are also several grab-and-go options near the entrance called QuickEze.

Our tip pick is to head to The Pizza Place and grab a Pizza as it’s often less popular than The Galley where everyone else tends to head, and is voted by us as the best Pizza at sea.

Looking for something sweet, then head to Lick Me Till Ice Cream, the included Ice cream parlour, with daily rotating flavours, there’s always something new to try, and the perfect cool-down treat if you’ve had a busy morning exploring/travelling.

The Dock and DockHouse are located a the aft (back) of the ship on Deck 7, head here for an indoor, or outdoor Mediterranean-style bar, with a wonderful tapas/mezzee-style menu that’s the perfect midday between meals snack.

Often overlooked is Sun Club Cafe, a small eatery located on Deck 16 near the entrance to Richards Rooftop which offers Poke bowels and Bao Buns.

What bars are open when I get onboard Virgin Voyages

Pretty much all the bars are open when you get on board the ship, aside from the Casino, which legally has to be closed when the ship is docked, and The Manor the two-story nightclub onboard, which may open into the evening, but will be closed as you board.

The most popular spots on the ship, which usually become fully booked first are The Dock, due to the limited number of Day Beds available, and around the main pool, again, due to the limited number of day beds available. So if you want those spots on day one, you are best heading there as soon as you get on board and hoping you are early enough and that everyone else is exploring, however, there are plenty of spaces also available.

If you want to be outside enjoying the gorgeous sun, another popular spot to relax in the sun is the Athletics Club, located on Deck 16 at the rear of the ship, with its giant wrap-around day bed, is the perfect spot to relax in the sun and order a cocktail or three.

Gym and Tonic is also a popular bar with its large pool and nearby hot tubs and tends to be a bit quieter than the main pool, there are also plenty of sun loungers along deck 16, so don’t panic if you cant get one of the day beds, there’s still plenty of spaces for catch the sun, including the often overlooked Perch up on Deck 17, however, this spot doesn’t have a bar, but it’s a short walk down to the Athletic Club Bar.

Here’s a video tour of the main pool deck.

Solo Sailor Meet-Up

Virgin also has a wonderful solo sailor offering, with several cabins dedicated to solo sailors, but they also host many solo meet-ups to help those travelling alone not feel isolated.

When you arrive at your cabin there will be an invite to the solo sailor meet-up, which is a hosted event by The Happenings Cast, with a welcome drink and a chance to make friends with those also travelling alone. Then, later that day there is also a hosted Solo Meal.

You can read more about sailing solo with Virgin Voyages here:-

Muster Drill

Around 4 pm on the first day, Virgin will open the Muster Stations for you to check into. This is a mandatory process, and everyone will have to visit their muster point before the ship can set sail.

First Things first, you will be required to watch the safety video, making you aware of the emergency procedures should the worst happen when at sea with Virgin, that said, Virgin being Virgin, even the Safety video has its spin on things, and it’s well worth a watch and get you in the mood for your voyage.

Then, you will have to head to your dedicated Muster Station for your briefing, this is a short 5-minute presentation by the crew on how to put on a life vest, and to make sure you are aware of where you need to head should there be an emergency. Once you are scanned in, you can carry on enjoying the rest of your voyage.

Muster stations depend on your cabin location, so you can check where your station is by viewing the card on the back of the inside of your cabin, or, by checking the Sailor App. They are typically on Decks 7 as that is where the lifeboats are, so just head there If you get lost, ask a crew member at any other station, they can scan your band and point you in the right direction.

TOP TIP: You can also watch the Safety video on the Sailor App, so you won’t have to give up your space by the bar or the pool, it will appear as an option as soon as the Muster Drill process begins and you are connected to the ship’s wifi. You will still need to visit your muster station in person, however.

Book your Virgin Voyages Cruise Today

If you would like to book your Virgin Voyages Cruise today, you can use the below link to see the latest offers and self-service your booking. Any bookings made using this link will be linked to Magical Traveller (it will say Sold and Serviced by Kieran Miller at the top); you will have complete control over your booking and can pay Virgin Voyages directly.

If you book using our Book and Go link by clicking the image below, we will add bonus sailor loot to your account as a thank you, $25-$200, depending on cruise duration and cabin purchased. Sea Terrace cabins receive $100 on sailings four nights or more as a guide. An email will be sent within 24 hours from Magical Traveller confirming the loot will be added within 30 days before you sail.

If you would like to add hotels and accommodation, don’t hesitate to contact us, and we can make your cruise a fully ATOL-protected holiday.

Sail Away Celebration

Now you are settled in, got lost several times, had a bite to eat, and a drink or seven, your voyage can begin. Around 6:30pm it will be time for Sailway. This can vary, so check the app for what time it will be on your voyage. But assuming the weather is good, the sail away party takes place around the main pool (Aquatic Club).

This will be your first introduction to the whole of The Happenings Cast, and the only official announcement from the Capitan as he welcomes you onboard.

The Happenings cast is available to chat with during this time and will get the party started with a dance performance on the main pool deck, however, the highlight will be the Sail Away drinks, 30 minutes of unlimited Sparking Wine, which has derailed our first day many a time.

You can grab a glass from the many bars onboard, not just the pool deck, as well as some pop-up stations on the main pool deck and the upper pool deck.

Dining Recommendations for Your First Night

45 days before your cruise, you can book your dining experiences, we have a full dining guide to all the casual and main eateries can you view here, but after several voyages here is where we would suggest you dine on your first night:-

Day one is typically busy, so it can be hard to fit everything in, we love all six of the main eateries onboard, we have a preference on which we think fits best for night one based on two main factors, fastest service, and most social,

Fastest Meal Service

We are in no way saying you should rush your meal, and enjoy every bite, but between Sailaway and the evening entertainment there isn’t much time, so we often prefer to choose one of the meals where service is on the faster side.

This why night one, you will often find us dining in either Razzle Dazzle or Pink Agave. Both offer a wonderful casual environment, with amazing food, and in our experience, we can often dine within an hour, leaving plenty of time to change before or after our meal, and still have time to head to the various shows/bars onboard.

Most Socal Meal Service

Say instead you are looking to catch up with friends you are travelling with, or perhaps make some new friends, then we would suggest either Gunbae, for its Casual group dining, or Pink Agave for its tapas-style service.

Both eateries are perfect for groups travelling together looking for a more sociable dining experience, and both offer booth/group seating, so can be great for those who may be looking to chat with new sailors and make friends.

Gunbae is sat in groups of 6 regardless of your party size, so be ready to make friends, which is why it can be a good option for the first night of your voyage.

Pink Agave isn’t group dining, but if you are sat on one of the middle tables, you are often right next to fellow sailors, so the more social butterflies have the perfect change to make friends with those nearby. We often stroll out of these bars with those sat with, or near us and head to the bars with our newfound friends, which is why we recommend them for those looking to make friends on day one.

Virgin Voyages First Nights Entertainment

From around 7pm onwards the entertainment program will fully kick in, with shows happening across the ship, from the more formal headline shows in the Red Room, the main theatre space onboard, to smaller more intimate performances and quizzes across the ship.

Headline Shows onboard Virgin Voyages

Headline shows can vary by ship, and by Voyage. However, typically you will find shows like Untitled Dance Show Party Thing, Ships in The Night or Perspehpne in the Red Room.

The Manor will also host a selection of shows throughout the evening, we have seen the guest band performing a featured set, and The Diva, the resident Drag Queen host her show, Around the World with the Diva in the Manor on the first night.

You can take a deeper look at the entertainment you can expect onboard Virgin Voyages on this post:-

Smaller Shows – Karaoke and Quizzes

The Happenings Cast will also be around the ship hosting many meet-ups, and evenings, there will often be a quiz and Karaoke at some stage on the first night, as always, check the Sailor App, or the large TV’s located in the elevator banks on decks 6 and 7 for the daily event schedule.

Virgin Voyages PJ Party

Virgin is famous for its themed events and parties, and whilst some, like the 80’s themed Klub Rubrik are currently exclusive to Resilient Lady, the opening night on all ships will host the PJ Party.

This event is typically hosted at the Athletic Club in good weather, the outdoor bar located at the rear of the ship on Deck 16 from around 11 pm. This party features some amazing 90/00s music, think Britney, Backstreet Boys and the Hip Hop classics from the time, it’s the perfect casual party to ease you into your voyage.

Do People Dress Up for the Virgin Voyages PJ Party

Absolutely yes, they do, when it first launched it was a small niche party, but has since explored into a full-featured party that everyone gets into the mood for. Outfits range from shorts and tee-shirts to sexy silkwear. Everyone makes an effort in their own little way, be it to take it very seriously and plan their outfits, or to wear something fun. As Virgin Voyages says, the dress code is “come as you are” so dress however you want (as long as you are dressed).

We have a full guide to the various parties and dress codes which you can check out in our What to pack guide:-

Final Tips

  • Check Your App: Regularly update the app to stay informed about events and activities. Things can and will change, both with the ship’s plans, and your plans, the app is your compass.
  • Relax and Enjoy: Your first day is about settling in, meeting new friends, and starting your voyage on the right note.
  • Say Yes to Invites: If a member of the Happenings Cast invites you somewhere, say yes! There are secret Happenings, but don’t ask for an invite, that’s a surefire way to not get invited.
  • Wear Sunscreen

Why not Join our Virgin Voyages Facebook Group

We have a growing community on Facebook where we share our planning tips, news and Exclusive offers. Feel free to join us, and share your Virgin Voyages adventures with like-minded sailors. Click the Banner below.

Virgin Voyages Facebook Group

You can also view all our Virgin Voyages offers and cruise planning tips in our dedicated group on Facebook.

You can book these cruises by contacting us via our Enquiry form on our website or by filling in the form below. Remember, we offer $100 bonus Sailor Loot when you book a Sea Terrace or above on your Virgin Voyages Cruise with us.

Please note that we are a UK travel agent, and all bookings are made in GBP, all bookings are eligible for our $100 Sailor loot offer.