Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 394 out of 500
Accommodation: 146 out of 200
Food: 258 out of 400
Service: 259 out of 400
Entertainment: 65 out of 100
Cruise: 276 out of 400
Overall Score: 1398 out of 2000
SuperStar Virgo Statistics
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Star Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9141077
Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)
Original Cost: $350 million
Entered Service: Aug 1999
Length (ft/m): 879.2/268.0
Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2
Draft (ft/m): 25.9/7.9
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (50,400kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 10
Total Crew: 1,225
Passengers (lower beds): 1,870
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 41.7
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.4
Cabins (total): 935
Size Range (sq ft/m): 150.6-638.3/14.0-59.3
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 390
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 4
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 240 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 4
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: Hong Kong $
A family-friendly ship for real casual cruising
Overview. This ship is best suited to couples, singles, and families with children who want to cruise aboard a contemporary floating resort with decent facilities and many Asian dining spots, at a very attractive price.
The Ship. SuperStar Virgo was the second new ship ordered by Star Cruises for the Asian market. The all-white ship has a distinctive red/blue funnel with gold star logo, and decorative hull art. There are three classes of passengers. As you check in, you will be issued with a colored boarding card to denote Admiral Class passengers (yellow), Balcony Class (red), or World Cruisers (blue).
There is a walk-around promenade deck outdoors, good for strolling. Inside are two boulevards, and a stunning, larger two-deck-high central atrium lobby with three glass-walled elevators and space to peruse the shops and cafés.
The casino complex is at the forward end of the atrium boulevard on Deck 7. This includes a large general-purpose, brightly lit casino, called Oasis, with gaming tables and slot machines. There’s a smaller members-only gaming club, as well as VIP gaming rooms, one of which has its own access to the upper level of the showlounge. The 450-seat Galaxy of the Stars Lounge is an observation lounge by day and a nightclub at night, with live music.
Three stairways are each carpeted in a different color, which helps new cruise passengers find their way around easily.
Other facilities include a business center with six meeting rooms, a large library and writing room, plus private mahjong and karaoke rooms, and a smoking room. A shopping concourse includes a wine shop.
Star Cruises has established a Southeast Asian regional cruise audience for its diverse fleet. SuperStar Virgo is good for the active local market, and is the most comprehensive ship sailing year-round in this popular region.
Lots of choices, more dining options, and Asian hospitality all add up to a very attractive holiday package particularly suitable for families with children, in a very contemporary floating resort that operates from Hong Kong (April-November) and Singapore (November-March). The dress code is ultra-casual (no jacket and tie needed), and the ship operates a no-tipping policy. While the initial cruise fare seems very reasonable, the extra costs and charges soon mount up if you want to indulge in more than the basics. Although service levels and finesse are inconsistent, hospitality is very good.
There are many extra-cost items in addition to the à-la-carte dining spots, such as for morning tea, afternoon tea, most cabaret shows (except a crew show), and childcare. Finding your way around many areas blocked by portable ‘crowd containment’ ribbon barriers can prove frustrating.
Families. Teens have their own huge video arcade, while younger children get to play in a wet ’n’ wild aft pool (complete with pirate ship and caves) and two whirlpool tubs. Plus there’s all the fun and facilities of Charlie’s 24-hour childcare center, which includes a painting room, computer learning center, and small cinema. There’s a room full of cots for toddlers to use for sleepovers, and even the toilets are at a special low height. About 15,000 sq ft (1,400 sq m) is devoted to children’s facilities. On deck is the world’s first stainless-steel water slide at sea. Installed in 2009, it cost $550,000, and is 330ft (100m) long. You can zoom along at up to 22ft (6.7m) a second due to its steep incline, from 35ft (10.7m) above the deck.
Accommodation. There are seven types of accommodation, in a number of different price categories. Three entire decks of cabins have private balconies, while two-thirds of all cabins have an outside view. Both the standard outside-view and interior cabins really are very small, particularly since all cabins have extra berths for a third/fourth person. So take the least amount of clothing you can - there’s almost no storage space for luggage.
All cabins have a personal safe, cotton towels and duvets or sheets. Bathrooms have a good-size shower enclosure, and include toiletries such as Burberry soap, conditioning shampoo, and body lotion.
For more space, choose one of 13 suites. Each has a separate lounge/dining room, bedroom, and bathroom, and an interconnecting door to an ocean-view cabin with private lit balcony.
The bedroom is small, completely filled by its queen-size bed; there is a reasonable amount of drawer space, but the drawers are very small. The closet space is rather tight - it contains two personal safes. A large en suite bathroom is part of the bedroom, and has a gorgeous mosaic tiled floor, tub, two basins, separate shower enclosure with floor-to-ceiling ocean-view window, and separate toilet with glass door. There are TV sets in the lounge, bedroom, and bathroom.
For even more space, choose one of the six largest suites (Boracay, Nicobar, Langkawi, Majorca, Phuket, and Sentosa) and you’ll have a generous amount of private living space, with a separate lounge, dining area, bedroom, large bathroom, and private lit balcony. The facilities are similar to those in the suites already described. There are TV sets in the lounge, bedroom, and bathroom.
A small room service menu is available, with a 15 percent service charge plus a gratuity.
Dining. There’s certainly no lack of choice, with eight venues, plus a café:
Bella Vista (perhaps the equivalent of a main dining room) seats over 600 in an open-seating arrangement, although in effect it operates two seatings. The aft section is two decks high, and huge cathedral-style windows are set in three sections overlooking the stern.
Mediterranean Buffet: this is a large self-serve buffet restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating for 400.
The Pavilion Room has traditional Cantonese Chinese cuisine, including dim sum at lunchtime.
The following are à-la-carte (extra-cost) dining spots:
Noble House: a Chinese Restaurant, with traditional Hong Kong-themed decor and items such as dim sum. There are also two small private dining rooms.
Palazzo: a beautiful, if slightly ostentatious Italian restaurant. It has fine food, and a genuine Renoir painting well protected by cameras and alarms.
Samurai: a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar (for sashimi and sushi). There are two teppanyaki grills, each with 10 seats, where the chef cooks in front of you.
The Taj: an Indian/vegetarian dining spot that offers a range of food in a self-serve buffet set-up.
Blue Lagoon: a casual 24-hour street café with noodle dishes, fried rice, and other Southeast Asian dishes.
Out of Africa: a casual karaoke café and bar, where coffees, teas, and pastries are available.
Entertainment. The Lido showlounge, with 934 seats, is two decks high. It has main and balcony levels, with the balcony level reserved for ‘gaming club’ members. The room has almost no support columns to obstruct the sight lines, and a revolving stage for revues and other production shows, typically to recorded music - there is no live showband. Kingdom of Kung-Fu, with a cast of 30, features the power and form of the Shaolin Masters in an action-packed martial arts show. The showlounge can also be used as a large-screen cinema, with superb surround sound.
In addition, local specialty cabaret acts are brought on board, as are revue-style shows complete with topless dancers. Bands and small musical units provide plenty of live music for dancing and listening in the various lounges.
Spa/Fitness. The Roman Spa and Fitness Center is on one of the uppermost decks, just forward of the Tivoli Pool. It has a gymnasium full of high-tech muscle-toning equipment, plus an aerobics exercise room, hair and beauty salon, and saunas, steam rooms, changing rooms for men and women, several treatment rooms, and aqua-swim pools that provide counter-flow jets. There is an extra charge for use of the sauna and steam rooms.
Although there are several types of massages available, Thai massage is a specialty - you can have it in the spa, outdoors on deck, in your cabin or on your private balcony, space permitting. Sports facilities include a jogging track, golf driving range, basketball and tennis courts, and there are four levels of sunbathing decks.