Cruising On Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady

TRAVEL | Virgin Voyages have shaken up the word of cruising since launching in the UK in 2021 and today, has three ships that cruise around Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia/New Zealand. The newest of these ships is the Resilient Lady, which entered service in 2023. I was invited aboard a five day return cruise from Melbourne to Hobart to experience a Virgin Voyages cruise for myself

Unfortunately, due to the current geopolitical situation in the Middle East, the 2024/25 Australia/New Zealand cruises have had to be cancelled. Virgin Voyages are looking at ways to return to the region as soon as possible. Hopefully it won’t be too long. Despite my cruise being in this region, my write up is still relevant for other regions where the Resilient Lady cruises.

Up until this cruise, I’d never been on a cruise before, and was excited to see what the experience was like. I’m generally a fan of the way that Virgin shakes up the industries in which it enters, and had heard good things about Virgin Voyages from several people.

In the words of Richard Branson, Virgin Voyages is “Exclusively adult, boutique glamour, relaxed luxe, ordinary to extraordinary with no kids on board!” It’s a cruise offering for “people who don’t like cruises”. Resilient Lady attracts an average guest age of 47, and there was a good spread of ages on board my cruise, with a variety of activities and spaces to suit everyone.

Spaces on the 2,700 passenger ship have been created by top designers from the boutique hotel industry, with no previous cruise-ship experience. Many of the traditional cruise rules have been done away with on Resilient Lady, drawing inspiration from super yachts rather than traditional cruise liners. Rather than a single large dining room, for example there are several restaurants and bars dotted throughout the boat, each offering something different.

The food and beverage offering has been developed in collaboration with Michelin starred chefs and top bartenders, and includes venues like steakhouse ‘The Wake’, Korean BBQ restaurant ‘Gunbae’, and Italian diner ‘Extra Virgin’. There’s also casual no-bookings-required spots like ‘The Pizza Place’, food court ‘The Galley’, and ‘Noodle Around’. The food is genuinely good, whether it’s the pre-made grab-and-go options or the full restaurant experiences.

If it’s a drink you’re after, there’s no shortage of diverse options. ‘The Social Club’ is an ode to carnival classics and also where you’ll find board games, trivia nights, and an arcade with machines like Marvel v Capcom and Daytona. ‘On the Rocks’ is the place to go for the best cocktails on board, as well as live musical and other performances, while ‘Sip’, is the place to go if you’re looking for a comfy, relaxed space to enjoy a drink. I was impressed by the range of spirits on offer, as well as the Aussie and US craft beers on board.

The ship’s crew hail from about 80 countries, are all friendly, vibrant, professional people. Like Virgin Airlines, they nail that vibe that one expects with a Virgin offering and I’m all for it. Activities are run by a mostly American cast of professionals, each of who have a speciality. Cameron is the games guy, Patrick ‘The Hype’ is the dance guy, Hannah is the best singer on the boat… you get the idea. They’re a fun bunch of people, great at what they do and always up for a chat.

It’s things like yoga, aerobics, painting, tea and coffee classes, and Activities that I particularly loved were the general knowledge and themed trivia, karaoke nights, dance classes at the back of the boat looking over the ocean, and outdoor games on the basketball court. The gym, filled with loads of brand new Technogym equipment, is great and open 24/7. There’s an assortment of retail offerings, and things like record store, tattoo parlour, and hairdresser.

If it’s entertainment you’re after, there’s a casino, nightclub ‘The Manor’, and live performance space/theatre ‘The Red Room’. Shows and performances are held throughout the day, and they’re a lot of fun. Two nights you’ll want to get involved in are the PJ Party, where guests (or ‘sailors’ as Virgin calls them) don their pyjamas for a night of activities across the ship, and Scarlett Night, an evening where the entire ship is transformed with pop-up circus performances, interactive games, karaoke, myth-telling, and live music, culminating in a very fun red pool and dance party.

A variety of rooms are available on Resilient Lady. All rooms come with 24/7 room service and eco-friendly products. I stayed in a ‘Sea Terrace’ cabin, with a a queen bed that can be transformed into L-shaped twin beds and a balcony with a relaxing hammock. Below this are the ‘Sea View’ and ‘Insider Cabins’, which forgo the balcony for a porthole window, or no window at all, but feature much the same in the way of amenities.

If you want to splash out, there’s the ‘Rockstar Quarters’ and ‘Mega Rockstar Quarters’. These much larger rooms get you terrace lounges, marble bathrooms, and in the case of the latter, an extra private outdoor shower and bottomless bar. The suites also grant you access to private space ‘Richard’s Rooftop’, and a host of other amenities and inclusions.

WiFi is included (it’s patchy but it does the trick), as is all food and drink apart from alcohol and a few select items. Most of the daily activities are also included, so there’s not really any surprise costs to worry about. You can pay in advance of the cruise for bar credit to use while you’re on the ship, and if you do you’ll get bonus credit depending on how much credit you top up.

So, was my experience aboard Resilient Lady enough to make me, a cruising virgin, a convert? I’d need to do more cruises in general to answer that question, but I can definitely say that I enjoyed my experience and am a fan of Virgin Voyages. Talking to more seasoned cruisers on the ship, I was told that this was, in someway, the worst way to be introduced to cruising because ‘this is as good as cruising gets’. High praise, indeed. For the right price, I’d definitely be keen to do another Virgin Voyages cruise in the future.

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