Home Travel Better

Cruise Review: Resilient Lady by Virgin Voyages

So what's life really like aboard the luxe, adults-only Virgin Voyages cruise ship, Resilient Lady? TravelManagers personal travel manager Tanya Patterson reports back about the onboard experience and the types of 'sailors' this ship will appeal to. 

So what’s life really like aboard the luxe, adults-only Virgin Voyages cruise ship, Resilient Lady? TravelManagers personal travel manager Tanya Patterson reports back about the onboard experience and the types of ‘sailors’ this ship will appeal to. 

With Virgin Voyages making a splash in Australian waters in early December 2023, Resilient Lady recently set off on her ‘MerMaiden Voyage’ with Aussie guests, known as ‘sailors’ on board.

Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson explains it best: “Exclusively adult, boutique glamour, relaxed luxe, ordinary to extraordinary with no kids on board!”

The general vibe on board

VV review embarkation
Even embarkation is an experience!

Resilient Lady is like a boutique hotel at sea, inspired by the modern luxury of yachting and the romance of the open ocean. 

During my voyage, I felt the fun, glamour and flamboyant experience of this beautiful ship, especially upon embarkation with the crew waiting to welcome you on board.

Resilient Lady attracts an average guest age of 47 and will likely appeal to young-at-heart and open-minded guests.  

The cabin

VV review room
Sea Terrace cabin.

There are several cabin categories on Resilient Lady: XL Sea Terrace (20sqm), Sea Terrace (18sqm), Sea View (12-17sqm) and Insider (9.75-16sqm), which are quite spacious.

I’m staying in a Sea Terrace cabin with a queen bed that can be transformed into L-shaped twin beds and a lovely hammock on the balcony that gently sways while you’re cruising. 

The cabin has a long cupboard with a safe, shelving and hairdryer plus ample hanging space for several clothes items – and you can conceal it all with a lovely vibrant red-and-white fabric curtain covering. Note: in all cabins, you’ll need an international power plug adaptor.

VV review charcuterie
Charcuterie with a view, anyone?

My bathroom includes shampoo, conditioner and body wash with a wonderful rain shower from the ceiling as well as a handheld shower hose. Fluffy towels, hand towels and a make-up face washer along with two water carafes are supplied daily. 

A tablet controls the cabin lighting, curtains and the TV plus all sailors receive a ‘Band’ – Virgin Voyages’ wearable tech (made from recycled ocean plastic) that has a unique encrypted ID, your photo for embarkation and disembarkation, the ability to charge purchases to your account and also serves as a digital cabin key.

The ‘RockStar’ suites

VV review RockStar
Ready to RockStar suite.

We also toured the top-tier luxury cabins: the Massive Suite (199sqm), Fab Suite (88sqm), Posh Suite (77sqm) and the Gorgeous Suite (52sqm). Suite bathrooms – complete with a ‘Glamor’ sign – are spacious with rain showers and a sit-down marble area. Even the bathroom vanity area is enormous with great lighting to apply your makeup. 

VV review suite bathroom
Suite bathrooms.

Suites also contain a king bed, a separate lounge area and a record player for sailors to play and request record selections. The minibar is stocked with many different spirits, wines and sodas, which can be changed according to preference.   

VV review suite bedroom
The suite life!

These mega quarters grant guests prime access with a dedicated RockStar agent and daily perks such as a bar tab, entry into Richard’s Rooftop and full use of the thermal suite in the Redemption Spa. 

Upon arrival, guests are taken into the Sip Bar and treated to a glass of Moët Champagne while having all the VIP benefits explained.

Those in the aptly named Massive Suite can enjoy a specially designed table for dancing – with built-in steps for easy grooving access. Afterwards, they can relax in their personal hot tub with sea views. 

The public spaces 

VV review games
An adult amusement playground.

There’s plenty to amuse on board. The Social Club proved a popular destination with its abundance of board games, jigsaw puzzles, table shuffleboard, Nintendo Switch and arcade games – all free of charge.

VV review lv shop
Pre-loved LV.

The Groupie zone features three karaoke rooms and sailors can even get some new ink at Squid Ink, the onboard tattoo parlour. Retail shops include a pre-loved Louis Vuitton store. 

There are also plenty of leisure options with two swimming pools, an adult seesaw and teeter-totter and even a boxing ring. 

VV review pool
Pool time.

Meanwhile, Richard’s Roof Top is an exclusive area for sailors staying in RockStar Cabins (suites) with free-flowing bubbles every afternoon. 

Onboard dining

VV review Burger Bar
Find more than 20 eateries on board.

You’ll find something for all tastes on board. There’s no main dining room on Resilient Lady – instead, there are 20-plus eateries and no additional charge for the six specialty restaurants (only for seafood platters in The Wake steak and seafood restaurant). 

VV review group
Cheers! Tanya (at the front).

Dining options include Italian cuisine at Extra Virgin; Korean barbecue at Gunbae and plant-based contemporary American fare at  Razzle Dazzle, offering vegetarian and vegan dishes and also a ‘naughty’ menu with steak and fried chicken. 

VV review ice cream
Sweet treats.

There’s also an upscale Mexican restaurant, Pink Agave and The Test Kitchen with a menu of just six ingredients. 

Sailors also won’t go thirsty with a choice of 17 bars and lounges.

VV review Gunbae
Korean barbecue or soju bar?

There’s The Sip lounge, a Champagne Bar where high tea is served every afternoon; The Draught House with beers from Heineken to craft ales; On the Rocks, which specialises in aged whiskies; Gunbae, where sailors can play soju drinking games; or Pink Agave’s large range of tequilas and smoky mezcals.

Onboard wellness facilities

VV review salon spa
Wellbeing is the way of life on board.

The Virgin Voyages’ approach to wellbeing is to do whatever works best for you. I booked a three-hour appointment for USD$50 at Resilient Lady‘s Redemption Spa during a port day. 

It’s a haven of tranquillity. You can soak it up in the mudroom and sweat it out in different temperature-controlled saunas, detox in the salt room or float effortlessly in the wellness pools.

VV review fitness
Outdoor boxing.

There are also other gyms and fitness areas, including B-Complex gym, a runway jogging track, Training Camp – Fitness @ Sea, The Perch – Outdoor Yoga and The Athletic Club – Fitness Haven.

Sailors can also practice self-care at the Gym & Tonic – a wellbeing zone and juice bar, The Daily Mix for healthy dishes, The Sun Club – Sun Workshop Sanctuary, The Tune Up – Mani & Pedi Spa, Dry Dock – Salon & Studio and Stubble & Groom – Gentlemen’s Barber Shop, or simply head to the private hideaways at The Cabanas.

Sustainability on board

VV review hammock
Hammocks are made from upcycled ocean plastic.

Virgin Voyages is all hands on deck when it comes to lessening its impact on the environment with sustainability embedded into both operations and the sailor experience.

Resilient Lady features innovative and sustainable technologies such as transforming heat from the ship’s engines into clean energy and purifying wastewater to drink.

Eco sensors in the cabins and suites automatically close window curtains, turn off lighting and lower air-con settings when unoccupied to preserve energy. Tinted windows, LED lighting and room sensors are other design choices that ensure Resilient Lady uses less energy and minimises its carbon footprint.

VV review cabin
Cabins include eco sensors to save energy when not occupied.

Virgin Voyages has also banned unnecessary single-use plastics and features thoughtfully sourced food and retail merchandise.

Onboard items include upcycled ocean plastic hammocks made by an enterprise that empowers women in Thailand and upcycled ocean plastic sunglasses. The culinary team has also eliminated buffets to minimise waste and serves sustainably sourced seafood and direct-trade coffee.

My verdict

VV review tanya and performer
Tanya (left) with a performer on the Resilient Lady.

Personally, I was wowed by what’s included in the Virgin Voyages fares – all food, essential drinks, Wi-Fi, tips, group fitness classes, shows and entertainment. Pro tip: Book early for all your dining and boarding times. Don’t leave it until the last minute. 

VV review red and white
Virgin Voyages’ entertainment is included in the fare.

During my sailing, I asked a much older traveller, Sylvia from Altona, about her experience. 

“I haven’t experienced a ship like this before. I love the culinary delights and the acoustic singers in the lounge in the afternoons. I’ve bought a future cruise credit – I’m coming back again!” Sylvia said. 

For more information, visit virginvoyages.com