Editor’s note: TPG’s Ashley Kosciolek accepted a free trip from Virgin Voyages to attend the maiden voyage of Resilient Lady. The opinions expressed below are entirely hers and weren’t subject to review by the line.
Resilient Lady, the third ship in the Virgin Voyages fleet, debuted in May 2023, and it’s a doozy — in a good way. With nearly all-new entertainment and an adults-only vibe that’s equal parts nostalgic, stylish and engaging, the ship offers a lot for fun-loving adults.
It’s rare for me to enjoy any ship so much that I struggle to come up with things to dislike, especially with brand-new vessels, which almost always have kinks to work out. But here I am stretching to find even minor niggles and reflecting on what makes Resilient Lady so special.
On the surface, it’s not much different from its two older sisters, Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady. Some of what sets it apart are little details like the artwork, the location of the onboard tattoo parlor — yes, you read that correctly — and the destination-specific offerings like Opa Hour, which includes Mediterranean fare at the onboard mezze venue as a nod to the ship’s Greece itineraries.
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But the main differentiator is the entertainment, most of which is brand new to the fleet. The shows have been developed in partnership with well-known brands like famed Brooklyn nightclub House of Yes and Weiner Entertainment Group, whose owner helped to bring the popular experiential show “Sleep No More” to New York City.
There’s a lot to love about this intriguing new ship. Follow along while I share my experience with its bars, lounges, shows, cabins, restaurants, activities and more.
Overview of Resilient Lady
Capable of carrying up to 2,770 passengers at max capacity, the 60,000-ton vessel rises 17 decks. To put that in perspective, Resilient Lady is only slightly more than one-third of the size of the largest cruise ships afloat.
That means it’s big enough to house several restaurants with delicious food, quirky bars and lounges, outdoor sunning and workout areas, and groundbreaking performance spaces while managing to maintain a somewhat intimate feel that’s not overwhelming.
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Virgin Voyages is considered a premium cruise line, which means that, although it’s not completely price-inclusive, it does roll certain amenities — basic Wi-Fi, gratuities and alternative dining, which cost extra on mainstream lines — into its fares.
Like other companies within the Virgin family of brands, Virgin Voyages is trendy and chic, bringing passengers a perfect balance of over-the-top fun that doesn’t veer into tacky. Its ships only allow cruisers who are 18 and older, and they attract a wealthier crowd. They also have a large contingent of LGBTQI+ regulars.
Resilient Lady’s ethos can best be described as “come-as-you-are classy.” There are no dress codes, but most passengers prefer to be comfortable yet never sloppy, casual while also stylish.
Besides food and entertainment, which are both superb, Resilient Lady’s standout features are likely to make you say, “Well, I’ve never seen that on a cruise ship before!” They include elements like drag shows, secret pub crawls, coffee tastings and more childhood-favorite board games than you could possibly play in a single sailing.
What I loved about Resilient Lady
Virgin Voyages is no stranger to entertainment. With roots in the music industry, the brand, backed by business mogul Richard Branson, had a lot to live up to when it decided to launch a cruise line. It started strong with Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady, but it had a few kinks to work out.
Thankfully, it broke the mold on Resilient Lady with a host of next-level new shows that, I feel, have put the line squarely at the top of the list when it comes to performances. My general feeling about each one I saw was “I don’t know what the heck is going on, but I’m here for it.”
Entertainment is not an afterthought on this ship. The line sought out — or, in several cases, created — the best shows possible, sprinkled in a ton of innuendo and built a ship around it.
Virgin Voyages prides itself on pushing boundaries, and it has a history of offering progressive products that are ahead of their time. Fittingly, the line is exceptionally inclusive of all shapes, sizes, colors and lifestyles, earning it a loyal fan base of repeat passengers, particularly within the LGBTQI+ community.
Resilient Lady has its own resident drag queen, known as The Diva, and she pulls no punches. She does, however, pull off some incredible high kicks and enough off-color jokes to fill several shows’ worth of material. Watch for her to host bingo and a couple of other gatherings throughout each cruise.
You’ll also notice a far more diverse group of professional singers and dancers than you’re likely to find anywhere else at sea. It’s refreshing that they aren’t all tall, thin and white — although those members of the cast are fantastic, too.
But it isn’t just about skin color, body size or sexual orientation. No matter who you are, the ship has a generally accepting air. Your fellow passengers won’t blink if you have rainbow hair, are covered in tattoos, decide to dress as a mermaid, wear a tutu to dinner or show up to Scarlet Night in nothing but a Speedo. Differences and quirkiness are welcomed in this judgment-free zone.
What’s better than a ship that makes you feel like a kid again? A ship that lets you do it without constantly reminding you that you’re actually an adult.
Resilient Lady is packed with fun activities that let you play like a kid during the day and stay up late to enjoy more adult-themed entertainment by night. On the schedule, you’ll find pastimes like ’80s-themed aerobic workouts, ’90s boy band dance classes, dodgeball tournaments and summer camp arts and crafts. You can also indulge in free candy, popcorn, pretzels and ice cream, as well as board games like Candy Land, Mouse Trap and Hungry Hungry Hippos.
At night, toss in some glam face art (sticky, music festival-style jewels), a trip to the arcade (or casino) and selfies with carousel-style sea creatures, and you’ve got the makings of an adult playground. (No, seriously. There are even swings, seesaws, a Twister board and a jungle gym-like structure on the outdoor decks.)
The best part, though, is that Virgin Voyages is exclusively for adults. (You can’t sail if you’re younger than 18.) On an adults-only vessel, you’re not an adult who’s reduced to sheepishly taking part in activities meant for kids. Instead, everything on board is meant for you, which reduces some of the stigma associated with cutting loose.
Around every corner, I found things that not only were fun but also helped me reconnect with my childhood self. I enjoyed several “I forgot all about this” and “I haven’t done this in years” moments.
What I didn’t love about Resilient Lady
I do like Virgin’s accommodations for their simple-yet-funky decor and technological advancements (temperature, lighting and curtains are controlled by a tablet, which is also what passengers use to request fresh towels and order room service). However, there are some design choices I still don’t entirely understand.
Despite some improvements that were made due to customer feedback, cabins still have curtains instead of closet doors and beds that are less than comfortable, thanks to their convertible sofa-to-bed setup.
At night, two twin beds can be set up in an L shape or pushed together to form a single queen bed. During the day, the beds can be converted into a sofa to provide extra seating and more floor space. I found the system so cumbersome to request that I kept my bed as a bed for the duration of the sailing, with the exception of one day when I asked for it to be changed over so I could take a photo.
Bathrooms are also painfully small in standard rooms. In fact, the one in my Sea Terrace (balcony) cabin felt about the size of an airplane bathroom with a shower added. I ended up with several bruises on my elbows after banging my arms on the shower door while trying to do my hair or makeup. (There was a vanity in the main cabin space, but the lighting was horrible, which meant I applied my makeup in the bathroom.)
It’s difficult to make sense of what’s happening throughout the ship each day without investing significant time into using the cruise line’s app. Printed schedules are available at the Sailor Services desk or at The Grounds Club cafe; otherwise, you can find everything on your phone.
The number of activities is dizzying, and they often overlap, which means you’ll likely have to pick and choose. Be warned that chances are good you won’t be able to see and do everything you want to in a single sailing, but that’s by design. Virgin Voyages has a high rate of repeat cruisers, and it’s easy to understand why. The line’s ships are fantastic, and people want to come back to check out the things they weren’t able to do the first time around.
So, why is this a bad thing? If you don’t schedule yourself quickly, you could miss out on snagging slots at popular shows or activities — like coffee tastings, arts and crafts, and pub crawls — that require you to sign up in advance.
Dinner reservations are even worse, particularly at some of the most popular restaurants and the dinner theater experience. If you don’t reserve times as soon as you board the vessel, you could find yourself relegated to the food court or eating at less desirable times that cut into the nightly entertainment.
While I understand the need for scheduling, I find that having to pick what you want to do ahead of time can severely take the spontaneity out of your vacation.
Before I address this as something I didn’t love, I want to make it clear that the Resilient Lady crew was exceptionally friendly, helpful and approachable when I sailed.
Still, I was frustrated by service issues throughout my sailing. Perhaps these could be chalked up to the fact that it was an inaugural cruise where workers were still acclimating to the flow and timing of things like food prep and delivery. My biggest complaint was that it consistently took way too long to receive food throughout my sailing.
One night, when I ate at Razzle Dazzle, the ship’s vegetarian-forward restaurant, I waited nearly 30 minutes to receive my main course after I had finished my starter. That meant I had time to take exactly two bites before I had to rush off to the show. I asked my apologetic waitress if I could have the food wrapped up to take to my room or have it delivered, but she told me that wasn’t possible. Not only did I leave hungry and disappointed, but I wasted food I would have otherwise consumed.
Another day, I ate at The Wake, Resilient Lady’s take on a 1960s upscale steakhouse. The woman next to me ordered a steak, which arrived in a reasonable amount of time. When another woman at a nearby table saw it show up, she walked over to ask how it was. She said she had ordered her steak more than 40 minutes prior and still hadn’t received it. She was so angry that, not long after she returned to her table, she and her companion got up and left without eating.
Toward the end of the voyage, I made my way into The Galley — a food court-style setup with several varieties of cuisine — and ordered an open-faced banana Nutella sandwich and a drink for lunch. The drink arrived with no issues, but after a half-hour wait for my meal, I flagged down a waitress who informed me my order had been lost. I had to place it again and wait another 15 minutes.
Resilient Lady cabins and suites
Resilient Lady offers a standard selection of accommodations, albeit with cutesy names. They include the Insider (105 inside cabins with no window), the Sea View (95 outside cabins with windows), the Sea Terrace (1,130 balcony rooms) and a variety of RockStar Quarters (78 suites) with names like the Sweet Aft Suite, the Seriously Suite, the Cheeky Corner Suite and the ship’s two TPG Award-winning, 2,147-square-foot Massive Suites, plus a few others in between.
The Massive Suites each offer two bedrooms, a standard one with a king-size bed and another with a pullout couch, as well as a variety of real working guitars and an amp, in case you feel like a jam session. They also have record players with an extensive music library; private sun decks with dining tables, hot tubs, loungers and outdoor showers; premium linens; butler service for things like express swimsuit drying and stocking the complimentary minibar; luxury toiletries; mood lighting; two full-size closets; and priority embarkation and disembarkation, plus transfers.
The vessel’s 78 RockStar Quarters, including the Massive Suite, give their occupants access to the exclusive keycard-protected Richard’s Rooftop. The chic but fun outdoor bar and lounge area offers a free daily Champagne happy hour, as well as private hot tubs and comfy couches for lounging.
Of the ship’s cabins, 93% have ocean views (meaning only 7% are insides), and 86% have balconies. That’s an impressive number. There are also 46 solo cabins spread across the inside (40) and outside (six) categories.
As far as accessible staterooms, there are 29 spread across nearly all categories. They are divided into two types: fully accessible cabins (for users of wheelchairs) and ambulatory accessible cabins (for users of canes, walkers and scooters).
Each FAC offers wider doorways, extra space for turning, emergency pull cords, transfer space next to beds and lowered cabin elements, such as closet bars, light switches and thermostats. AACs have the same amount of space as their standard counterparts, but they are outfitted with grab bars in the shower and near the toilet, shower seating and lowered room features like light switches and coat hooks.
Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant hoists are available for use on request at the ship’s pools and select hot tubs. The spa’s plunge pools also have hoists.
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A balcony cabin on Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY
My cabin was a 185-square-foot Central Sea Terrace balcony room, and although it had everything I needed, it was pleasantly spartan. The line dialed back the purple, blue, pink and red decor found in previous cabin iterations, instead opting for neutrals with pops of the brand’s trademark red here and there.
I kept my bed as a queen setup and skipped the daily sofa configuration. The room also had a small wire and leather chair that mainly served to hold my purse when I wasn’t using it, as well as a nightstand that doubled as a lap desk, a vanity/desk combo with an ottoman stool, a metal and wicker desk lamp, a house phone, a TV with a limited selection of channels and free on-demand movies, a minibar (unstocked except in RockStar and Mega RockStar suites) and two carafes of free drinking water (with glasses) replenished as needed.
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The tiny bathroom in a balcony cabin on Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY
Bathrooms in standard cabins on Resilient Lady are painfully small. Mine was bare-bones but functional. It featured a white counter, a single bowl sink, a mirror, a toilet, a glass-walled shower with both rainfall and hand-held showerheads and fluffy, white towels. (The only washcloths provided said “makeup” on them, indicating they were face cloths. I travel with my own body cloths since European entities often don’t provide them, but I’m unsure what other passengers did.)
Toiletries consisted of a single bar of soap for handwashing and wall-mounted shower gel, shampoo and conditioner from the Red Flower brand, which was originally developed for Virgin Hotels.
When you shower, make sure the hand-held head is facing away from you and the shower door before you turn the water on. I ended up spraying myself in the face at least once when I forgot to check.
Outside, the balcony was tiny but pleasant, featuring two metal chairs, a small drinks table and — my absolute favorite feature of the entire room — a red hammock from Yellow Leaf Hammocks. Their products are handwoven by women of the Mlabri ethnic group in Thailand, allowing them to support their families and end the poverty cycle.
Storage, especially in the teeny-tiny bathroom, would have been difficult with two people sharing the room. Because of the weird furniture setup, under-bed storage for luggage is a no-go if you’re planning to convert the bed to a sofa each day. If you don’t put your suitcases under the bed, they take up valuable closet real estate.
In the closet, a wide hanging bar was impressively high, meaning my long dresses didn’t bunch on the ground like they do on most other ships, so that was a win. However, the hangers were cheap wire ones coated in what appeared to be shiny black rubber, and they left bumps in the shoulders of my shirts.
Drawers and shelving were available in the closet, too, but a couple of storage baskets — which I found to be an odd choice — took up some of the space. I didn’t find them useful. Other closet accoutrements included a code-operate safe and life jackets, as well as an order form for laundry services.
One of the most impressive aspects of Virgin Voyages’ rooms is that they’re techy. Instead of a keycard, you’ll have a fairly nondescript wearable that adjusts to fit your wrist like a friendship bracelet. It allows you to unlock your cabin door, charge purchases to your onboard account and scan yourself on and off of the ship in port.
When you open the door to your room, the system is alerted to turn on certain lights and even to open the curtains at certain times of the day. I never did figure out how to set all of that, though, and I often found the curtains opening when I didn’t want them to. Anyone who wants to control them can grab the in-room tablet, which also allows you to turn lights on and off, control the TV, order room service, connect with the front desk and even request things like fresh towels from your room steward.
Speaking of room stewards, both of mine were lovely, but I hardly saw them. I discovered by day three that, if I wanted them to straighten my room, I had to specifically turn on the “make up room” indicator — a black button with a spilled drink on it that turns blue when you push it — to request it. Above it was the “do not disturb” button, which turns red when it’s on. Both are, oddly, found inside the closet.
Cabin numbers can be confusing since they exist on both sides of the ship. They are numbered according to the deck they’re on and the frame line on which they’re located. (Frame lines are the beams used in ship construction, and they’re all numbered.)
Tacked onto the end of each cabin number is a letter — either A for port (left when facing the front of the ship) or Z for starboard (right when facing the front). So, for example, my cabin was 10166A; that meant I was on Deck 10 at frame line 166 on the port side. I had to be careful because there was also a 10166Z — the same cabin number but on the opposite side of the vessel.
One other note: There are three sets of elevators on Resilient Lady, which are located forward (at the front of the ship), mid and aft (at the back). If you’re trying to figure out where you are, just look at the interior color of the elevator you’re in. Forward is purple, mid is red and aft is blue.
Resilient Lady restaurants and bars
As is the case with most of its cruise-related endeavors, Virgin Voyages doesn’t do food and drinks like the other lines do. First, it scrapped the idea of an onboard buffet and replaced it with a complimentary food court. Then, instead of a main dining room, it developed more than a dozen free restaurants featuring all types of cuisine, as well as a for-fee dinner theater — all of which are absolutely expert at catering to dietary restrictions like vegetarian, vegan and gluten free.
Think of Resilient Lady’s dining venues like restaurants ashore. The ambience and theme are different at each, and they all serve different specialties. One other similarity: You’ll need reservations, and you’ll want to make them ASAP. Otherwise, you could miss out, as popular times tend to fill up quickly.
When it comes to alcohol, gone are the days of drink packages. On Virgin sailings, you prepay your bar tab before you set sail, and the amount is debited from your final onboard bill. If you go over it, you pay per beverage like at any shoreside bar. Although you don’t have to prepay, the line will often give you extra funds if you do.
If you’re in the mood for a multicourse meal, there are several eateries to choose from. Seven offer a traditional “sit down and take your time” atmosphere, but the vibe in each is far from ordinary.
Extra Virgin, Resilient Lady’s Italian restaurant, is a cozy space with a slightly upscale feel. Make sure to show up hungry because, in true Italian style, there are five menu sections: antipasto, affettati misti (an Italian cured meat platter), secondo, pasta and dessert.
To start, I ordered an Aperol spritz and braised miniature meatballs; they were fantastic, complemented by smoked mozzarella, tomato sauce and pancetta. I followed them up with the affettati misti cheese board of Parmesan, Romano and Gorgonzola and an order of vegetarian Brussels sprouts with polenta, chiles and hazelnuts. I wasn’t a fan of the latter, but you can never go wrong with cheese. For my pasta, I selected potato gnocchi with mushrooms, spinach and truffle butter sauce; it was magical.
I was stuffed, so I skipped dessert, but the affogato cart the waiters brought around to each table had me wishing I had room for more. There’s also an extensive wine list, but I didn’t partake.
Gunbae, a Korean barbecue restaurant created by renowned New York City chef Sohui Kim, can accommodate six to eight people per table, depending on the group size, with seating in a circular booth that surrounds a central grill where waiters cook your food right in front of you.
Options include small bites like nori rice crisps, seaweed salad, kimchi and mung bean pancakes and a mixed seafood corndog; bowls that feature rice or noodles mixed with vegetables or kimchi stew with pork belly; and mains that consist of grilled items like a mushroom and seasonal veggie combo, squid and octopus with shrimp, marinated beef short ribs or a chef’s combo of short ribs, pork belly and shrimp. Soft serve in sikhye (a sweet flavor made with malt and rice) and black sesame varieties is also offered with black sesame granola, miniature marshmallows and miso caramel for dessert.
While you enjoy your starters — a series of small bowls of seaweed-style salad that everyone receives — your waiter will lead you in drinking games, complete with complimentary sake. Other specialty drinks are available for a fee; I chose (and loved) the K-Pop Disco Water, which features Jinro grapefruit, watermelon juice and Pop Rocks served in a disco ball cup.
Gunbae surprised the heck out of me, breaking me of my usual “I don’t like most meat, and I’m stingy with my food” habits. Not only did I spring for the Wagyu beef option, which comes with Miyazaki ribeye and tenderloin for a $45 surcharge, but it was so delicious I ended up ordering a second helping. The meat was rich and filling, leading me to share it with the table. The crispy chicken small plate was also phenomenal.
What would a trendy ship be without a Mexican restaurant? Enter Pink Agave through a lit-glass archway, and you’ll find a dark and swanky space that feels a bit like something out of old Miami. The eatery offers upscale Mexican fare with a mezcal-heavy drink menu, all designed by famed chef and Phoenix food scene legend Silvana Salcido Esparza of the Barrio Cafe.
The selections are divided into three sizes: small plates, medium plates and large plates. Start simple, and try the absolutely out-of-this-world guacamole. Then, move on to the black bean soup and chicken enchiladas while you wait for the cochinita pibil (marinated smoked pork with sour orange habanero pico de gallo). Or, instead opt for dishes like grilled corn with spicy aioli and lime, seared shrimp with mole and new potatoes, a vegan roasted corn- and russet potato-stuffed poblano pepper or roasted duck with mole and smoked yam puree.
Vegetarians, rejoice. Razzle Dazzle — named for the confusing black-and-white paint style found on World War I ships — is the veggie-forward brainchild of Eric Kim Haugen, a judge on Food Network’s “Big Restaurant Bet.” Offering brunch and dinner, the restaurant’s menus have creative choices for cruisers who stay away from meat.
For brunch, I loved the avocado toast with sriracha, watermelon radish, finger lime and toasted seeds; the nutty gazpacho with cucumbers, peppers, marcona almonds and roasted garlic croutons; and the Impossible burger with poblano salsa, paprika veganaise, avocado and fries. (You can substitute a salad, but the fries are delicious and cutely served in a vessel designed to look like a crushed black Solo cup.) I also ordered a for-fee smoothie, but in line with some of the poor service I mentioned above, it never arrived.
Razzle Dazzle is the only restaurant on the ship that was so intriguing I ate there twice. For dinner, I had the avocado green goddess salad and the fried green tomatoes and okra with chili lime spice and chili herb sauce as starters.
I also selected two mains: Nashville hot cauliflower with plant-based ranch sauce and beet-stuffed pierogi, both vegan. I’m Polish and grew up on pierogi filled with just about every type of fruit, vegetable and starch imaginable, but I had never tried them with beets. I was so disappointed when the dish took forever to arrive, as it meant I didn’t have time to fully enjoy it before I had to dash to a show.
Feeling naughty? There are not-so-secret meat dishes on the menu, including snapper, slow-cooked lamb shank and an extra-charge seafood boil for $50. This restaurant is also home to the Red Bar, which mixes drinks created in partnership with Cocktail Cartel.
For a perfect Instagram opportunity (and a tasty tipple), order A Pop of Attraction — tequila, ginger, grapefruit, lime and bitters topped with a handful of popcorn and served in a small popcorn bucket.
I have an extremely unsophisticated palate, so fancy food is often lost on me. However, I was truly impressed by Test Kitchen, a lab-like restaurant that focuses on presentation with some molecular gastronomy elements mixed in. The original menus, which alternate to provide different experiences on each voyage, were designed by chef Matt Lambert of New York City’s The Musket Room.
When I ate there, our menu consisted of just six items — corn, salmon, beetroot, choice of shrimp or lamb, asparagus and strawberry — with a dish prepared around each. What came out was the following: cornbread with spreadable garlic and onion corn custard; sugar-marinated salmon with cucumbers; beetroot ravioli with pesto and cashews; lamb and eggplant with zucchini or shrimp tagliatelle pasta with jumbo shrimp and tomatoes in lobster broth; asparagus sorbet with a sauce made of egg yolk, cream and Champagne, topped with ginger; and a strawberry dessert.
Vegetarian options are also available. A fellow traveler at my table doesn’t eat meat or fish, so she was presented with pumpkin jus with pumpkin and carrot risotto instead of the lamb or shrimp selection.
To me, Test Kitchen is the most impressive free option on board, especially given that there were six courses, the ingredients were high quality and anything this frou-frou normally costs a bunch of extra money on other cruise lines. It’s only open for dinner, but during the day, it also hosts mixology classes for a fee; they not only teach you how to make drinks but also how to photograph them for social media. #Millennial.
For seasoned cruisers missing a more traditional main dining room experience, The Wake hits closest to the mark, offering a 1960s steakhouse vibe. Meat and seafood are on the menus for both brunch and dinner, although some dishes carry an extra charge.
I didn’t have enough time to eat at The Wake for dinner, but for brunch, I enjoyed the brioche French toast with caramelized bananas, toasted pecans and whipped creme fraiche. I also ordered the avocado Benedict, which didn’t impress me, but that’s likely due to my aversion to certain textures rather than the quality of the dish. Other menu options included clam chowder, fennel and citrus salad, poached shrimp, steak and eggs, and Benedicts featuring soft-shell crab and crispy pork belly.
Resilient Lady’s only for-fee dining option is a dinner theater show called “Another Rose,” which takes up residence in The Manor nightclub on a couple of nights each cruise. For $50 per person, passengers can choose from one of three seating options: balcony, floor or floor near the stage. For that price, they receive a 90-minute show that unfolds all around them as they indulge in a four-course set meal (including three drinks) that was absolutely my favorite of the whole trip — not too bland, not too spicy and with just the right amount of flavor.
The menu offers cruisers two appetizers (sweet potato chaat with tamarind, cilantro-mint chutney, yogurt and pomegranate seeds; and a tuna bomb with avocado green goddess dressing, spicy soy and semolina puri), a main course (a choice of pan-roasted sea bass with moilee sauce, basmati rice grit and roasted okra; or braised short rib with Kashmir chili-coconut sauce, basmati rice grit and scallions) and a dessert.
I left feeling just the right amount of full, although I only took one bite of the dessert — the world’s tiniest piece of cheesecake. There’s also a vegetarian menu available. (I don’t eat raw tuna, so I ordered the vegetarian celery apple bomb for my second appetizer, and it was fantastic.) The timing of the service was also impeccable, coinciding flawlessly with the show. There wasn’t too much time between courses; instead, there was just enough for attendees to watch a bit of the performance without constantly being distracted by food.
Another of my favorite food experiences on Resilient Lady was The Pizza Place. This late-night haunt was perfect for ordering a pie or two after some dancing and drinks. The pies are slightly larger than a personal size, and they come in varieties like a classic pie with tomato sauce and mozzarella, chicken pesto with red onions and fresh tomatoes, a white pie with three kinds of cheese, pepperoni and a vegan option with “cheese,” black pepper and arugula. However, the best by a mile was the white truffle with egg — a pie with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, cracked black pepper and truffle oil topped with a runny egg.
If you’re looking for other casual options or grab-and-go fare, The Galley is for you. Designed to mimic a food court, The Galley is the closest thing the ship has to a buffet minus the self-serve setup (excluding the prepackaged grab-and-go items). You’ll either belly up to one of several counters preparing selections like sushi from Bento Baby, salads from The Daily Mix and tacos from Let’s Taco Bout It, or sit down so a member of the waitstaff can come to you to take your order.
Want breakfast all day? Your go-to will be Diner & Dash, which will cook up made-to-order eggs and omelets with bacon and other trimmings. Craving a noodle bowl, burgers, a panini, a for-fee specialty coffee or a dessert that’s as gorgeous as it is delectable? You’ll find all of that, respectively, in The Galley’s Noodle Around, Burger Bar, Hot Off the Press, Grounds Club Too and The Sweet Side.
Speaking of sweets, the ship’s Lick Me Till … Ice Cream offers free scoops in flavors like espresso chip, butter pecan, key lime pie, raspberry beet and, of course, vanilla. Cones include classic, as well as chocolate and red velvet options.
If that’s not enough, The Social Club doles out free popcorn, soft pretzels, hot dogs, fudge, cake pops, cereal bars, Swedish fish, gummy bears, saltwater taffy and other candy that’s enough to keep you on a carb high for days. (I speak from experience.)
Other great options for between-meal snacks include Opa Hour at The Dock House, where you can snag a drink and complimentary evening mezze plates with a Greek theme that ties into the ship’s itineraries, and afternoon tea, hosted at Sip, the ship’s Champagne bar, for an extra fee a couple of times per sailing.
Virgin Voyages has partnered with experts in the mixology business to create some of the best bars at sea, with menus to match.
Found along The Roundabout on the second deck of Resilient Lady’s atrium, Draught House pours pints of beer in a location that’s equal parts central and tucked away. On-tap options include Heineken, Strongbow Hard Cider and Lagunitas IPA. Among the sizeable selection of bottled brews are Amstel Light, Corona, Dos Equis, Newcastle Brown Ale, Goose Island IPA, Duvel Belgian Strong Blond, Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, Miller High Life, Guinness, Berry Noir Sour Ale and Rekorderlig hard ciders, as well as hard seltzers and canned mixed drinks from Quirk and Ketel One.
One of two pool bars (the other being the Aquatic Club Bar), Gym & Tonic serves the smaller of the ship’s two pools. Found next to the Muscle Beach-style outdoor fitness equipment, it’s a great place to seek an added-fee smoothie after your daily workout. If you don’t know quite what to order, ask the bartender to surprise you. Mine did, and the result — a mixture including spinach, berries and peanut butter — was excellent.
Hidden two turns off the main drag between The Roundabout and The Dock House on Deck 7, Loose Cannon is a nautically themed bar accented by vintage diving helmets, rope accents and a jukebox. It’s light and airy and often the site of multiple trivia challenges hosted by the entertainment staff. Be sure to poke around, or you could miss it entirely.
The ship’s main spot for coffee is The Grounds Club on Deck 7, and a morning stop there quickly became part of my daily routine. It sells hot and iced specialty coffee beverages, made with Intelligentsia Coffee, that run the gamut from espressos, lattes and cappuccinos to macchiatos, mochas and flat whites.
There are also more interesting concoctions, such as the Black Cat Fizz — a blend of Black Cat espresso, tonic and orange served over ice. The taste wasn’t my favorite, but overall, it was an oddly refreshing drink. Tea and hot chocolate are also on the menu. A second coffee outpost, Grounds Club Too, is positioned in The Galley food court on Deck 15. Both have nondairy milk alternatives on hand.
Inside The Manor, the ship’s den-like nightclub, there’s a central bar on the first floor that serves beer, wine and cocktails. It can be crowded on nights when there’s an event in the space, but if you head to the upper deck, you’ll find a second bar that’s often less mobbed. Plenty of seating facing the stage and dance floor area is available on both levels, so you won’t miss a minute of the action.
On your way in, stop to take a selfie in what the crew calls the most Instagrammed space on board — a mirrored hallway inlaid with thousands of glowing white lights.
One of the most central and, therefore, busy bars and lounge areas on the vessel, On the Rocks serves as the atrium bar. Located at the bottom of The Roundabout, it hosts live music performances and has plenty of large-group, alcove-style seating for passengers to enjoy. It’s also where the crew hosts a wedding between passengers on Scarlet Night. (You’ll see; just go with it.)
Feeling bubbly? Head to Sip, the ship’s elegant but highly trafficked Champagne bar, which is also a common spot for nightly live music. It serves up bottles, as well as afternoon tea for an extra cost.
Want Champagne but don’t feel like venturing to Sip? Just open the Virgin Voyages app and shake your phone to have a bottle delivered to wherever you are on board.
Not quite a traditional bar, The Social Club is a diner-style space that serves up spiked milkshakes alongside free nibbles like hot dogs, soft pretzels and candy. It’s ideally positioned near Resilient Lady’s massive board game collection, the arcade and The Loose Cannon bar, making it the hub for activities like gaming, karaoke and trivia. (Note that there’s also a dedicated karaoke lounge called The Groupie, which has private rooms you can reserve for free for parties of different sizes.)
In addition to these stand-alone bars, most restaurants also have their own dedicated bars and drink menus. Notable ones include the Pink Agave bar, which features a host of mezcal-based drinks, and Razzle Dazzle’s Red Bar, which whips up some of the ship’s prettiest beverages, engineered by Cocktail Cartel.
Also worth mentioning are Test Kitchen’s mixology classes, where you’ll learn how to create a social media-worthy cocktail, and the Grog Walk, a hosted bar crawl that will take you to the vessel’s most popular watering holes.
Note: There is no drinking allowed in The Red Room theater. You will have to finish all beverages or dump them before you are allowed to enter.
Resilient Lady activities
Resilient Lady puts its own spin on typical cruise ship activities. Trivia is scheduled several times a day, but it goes for more than an hour, and participants spin a wheel to determine the topic. Bingo is hosted by a drag queen. Afternoon tea is offered for a fee and comes with a side of Champagne.
More unique pastimes available on board include bar crawls, coffee tastings and mixology classes (all for a fee). Free activities range from board game play, dodgeball and summer camp arts and crafts to karaoke, ’90s boy band dance classes and stargazing.
Of course, there’s always the option to perfect your glow in one of the ship’s two pools or on the open sun decks. Trying to avoid those pesky tan lines? Deck 17’s The Perch allows topless sunbathing.
Oddly, there are no hot tubs by the main pool. However, there are two at the nearby Gym & Tonic pool, two on Deck 16 aft near The Net (a lounge net that lets you lie above the water) and two at Richard’s Rooftop outdoor lounge, which is exclusive to suite passengers.
If you’re willing to pay for fun, you can also visit the onboard casino, which has 115 slot machines and 10 tables for games like blackjack, roulette and poker. Or, make an appointment for a service at the spa, nail salon, hairdresser or barber. (The last two are located near The Roundabout in the ship’s High Street shopping area, which has stores selling high-end jewelry, clothing, alcohol and Virgin Voyages branded items.)
Feeling extra bold? Schedule a tattoo or piercing session at the onboard Squid Ink body art parlor.
One thing you won’t pay extra for on Resilient Lady is fitness classes. Not only does Virgin Voyages differ from other lines in that its sweat sessions are free, but it hosts a larger variety of options than other lines do (think: yoga, bungee classes, spin and HIIT, complete with a dedicated HIIT area that’s outfitted with rowers, jump boxes, kettlebells, battle ropes and other equipment, including some that are outdoors). A Muscle Beach-style bodyweight class utilizes jungle gym equipment on the pool deck, and an ’80s-themed aerobics class features Shake Weights and encourages cruisers to dress up.
B-Complex is a sizeable fitness center where passengers can do their own workouts. It’s split into two parts: Deck 15 port is Bike and Burn, which focuses on cardio (exercise bikes, treadmills, ellipticals and rowers), while Deck 15 starboard is Build and Balance, which provides weight machines, free weights and spaces for yoga (complete with mats).
A jogging track is located on Deck 17. Besides The Perch, which sometimes offers outdoor yoga classes, there’s nothing else up there, so you won’t have to dodge unwitting fellow passengers or rogue deck chairs.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Virgin Voyages’ ships are for travelers who are 18 and older. As such, there are no children’s facilities on board.
Resilient Lady shows
On the first night of my sailing, I found myself in The Red Room, the ship’s two-deck theater that can be configured in a variety of ways to accommodate several types of shows. On this particular occasion, I saw “Persephone,” a story about the Greek goddess’ torrid love affair with Hades, the Greek god of the underworld.
To mesh with Resilient Lady’s Greece itineraries, Virgin’s entertainment executives worked with House of Yes and Kaleidoscope to create the show, which has passengers bellying right up to several stages, with performances taking place all around the room. They’re cohesive, though. As a team of phenomenal singers and dancers takes to the main stage, you might find aerialists and pole dancers performing to either side while a group of demons climbs the walls of “hell” near the back of the room.
No matter where you look, there’s something that will drop your jaw. In fact, the show was so good that I went back to see it again on the final night of the voyage. If you want to attend, it’s best to reserve a spot ahead of time on the Virgin Voyages app.
Then there’s “Lola’s Library,” a cabaret-style variety show created by Ceilings Entertainment, which runs the Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Join sexy librarian Lola, her assistant Dewey and cleaning lady Mary, who keep the library open after hours for some off-color fun while they try to foil a book bandit who keeps stealing tomes. Along the way, you’ll encounter pole dancers, aerialists, Jack the Stripper and a band of gay dwarfs.
Held in The Manor, this three-hour nightclub activation is divided into three consecutive one-hour chunks offered a few times per sailing so passengers can come and go as they please.
A third new option is “Another Rose,” a dinner theater experience where passengers might be whisked away to enjoy one of four courses in a private room, as designed by one of the creators of the New York version of “Sleep No More.” Resilient Lady’s only for-fee meal option, the show offers a superb performance and delicious food. In true love-triangle fashion, a young woman is forced to choose between two men she loves. After she marries, her husband falls in love with the other guy, resulting in a steamy (metaphorical) throuple — with sides of chaat and braised short rib.
The fourth and final new resident show, “Mind Mangler,” blends magic with comedy, drawing from a character developed by Mischief Comedy, the company responsible for “The Play That Goes Wrong” and “Magic Goes Wrong.” This is one of the few shows Virgin Voyages has licensed, rather than creating something new. The result is that the Mind Mangler, a character from a land-based show, can now be found on board Resilient Lady. Although he’s a magician, the performance is more about comedy than magic, playing on tropes like magicians’ planting of audience members to help them with their tricks.
Cruiser-favorite holdovers from the line’s first two ships include drag shows and bingo hosted by resident drag queen Miss Titty Kaka; the “Miss Behave” show, a chaotic reminder that nothing really matters unless we say it does; and signature theme parties like the first-night PJ Party, ’80s-themed Klub Rubiks and red-focused Scarlet Night, where a totally made-up love story about a sailor and an octopus goddess leads to rave-style debauchery on the pool deck.
As part of a new concept called Festival Stage, the vessel also has a series of limited-time engagements that, on my voyage, included shows by Irish performer Abandoman. This musician and comedian chose audience members to interview and then created freestyle raps about their lives, on the spot, which had everyone in stitches. Upcoming acts include comedy-magic hybrids, acapella singing groups and Tape Face — an “America’s Got Talent” finalist who does an entire comedy routine with his mouth taped shut.
Since the line retired controversial show “Never Sleep Alone,” which debuted on Scarlet Lady and had live music, there’s now room for live music performances elsewhere throughout Resilient Lady. A talented duo and trio are found in various bars and lounge spaces to provide nightly tunes.
Resilient Lady itineraries and pricing
At the time of publication, Resilient Lady was sailing a variety of seven- and 10-night cruises from Athens, Greece, through December 2023, calling on the Greek Isles, as well as ports in Turkey, Croatia and Montenegro. Prices start from $157 per person, per night ($1,099 per person for a seven-night sailing) for an inside cabin, not including taxes and fees.
Starting in December, the ship will reposition to Australia, offering two- to 14-night voyages from Sydney throughout Australia and New Zealand. Prices for those cruises start at $120 per person, per night for an inside cabin.
What to know before you go
If you’re a Resilient Lady passenger who’s also a U.S. citizen, you will need a passport that’s valid for at least six months from disembarkation day in order to cruise due to the ship’s international departures.
Green card holders and non-U.S. citizens will need to check requirements based on destinations visited.
You will also have to do some online prep ahead of time in order to check in and select a time to arrive at the embarkation port on the day of your sailing.
Virgin Voyages’ fares include gratuities. That means you won’t see a daily service charge on your onboard bill, nor should you have to feel you need to tip the crew extra unless someone has truly gone above and beyond.
You might want to come prepared with some small bills to tip porters at the pier when they take your suitcases. It’s also appropriate to tip anyone who delivers room service (or Champagne), as well as tour guides on shore excursions.
Basic Wi-Fi access for two devices per person is free for Resilient Lady passengers. The connection speeds are decent, but if you’d like to do more than just go to websites and check your e-mails (think: streaming and video calling), you’ll need to pay to upgrade to the ship’s premium Wi-Fi option.
I had the premium version on my sailing, and it was fast enough for me to stream TV shows and movies and upload photos and videos.
Carry-on drinks policy
Each passenger sailing on Resilient Lady is permitted to bring up to 12 sealed 12-ounce (or smaller) cartons or cans of nonalcoholic beverages, such as soda, water, juice and sports drinks. Each person of legal drinking age (see below) may also bring two 750-milliliter bottles of wine. Cruisers are not allowed to bring their own liquor or beer on board.
You must transport any drinks in your carry-on luggage. Beverages detected in your checked bags will be confiscated and returned at the end of your sailing.
Any liquor purchases made ashore will also be held for you until the conclusion of your voyage. Pay special attention to customs limits if you plan to purchase large quantities.
Passengers may only smoke or vape in the Deck 6 smoking room outside the Red Room and in a designated outdoor area on the starboard side of Deck 16 by the entrance to Richard’s Rooftop.
Smoking is not permitted in passenger cabins or on stateroom balconies; anyone who doesn’t adhere to that policy will receive a $500 fine and could be subject to early disembarkation without a refund.
Virgin Voyages’ ships do not have self-service laundry rooms. However, passengers can send clothing out for pressing, washing and folding, or washing and pressing. Individual items cost $4 each for press only, $5 each for wash and fold, and $6 each for wash and press. Or, you can do an entire bag of washing and folding for $30.
Eco-cleaning (wet washing but with less water and eco-friendly detergent that’s easier on fabrics) is also available for $7 per piece. Express turnaround (returned by 5:30 p.m. the same day when picked up before 11 a.m.) is $20 extra for both regular washing and dry-cleaning. Non-express items will be returned the following day by 5:30 p.m.
All cabins are outfitted with a mix of outlets, including North American, USB and universal (for European destinations, the United Kingdom and many other countries).
In my balcony cabin, I had two USB ports near the bed, along with a North American outlet. The desk and vanity area added two more USB ports (one of which was taken up by the charging cable for the cabin’s tablet, which controls the TV, curtains and temperature), two additional North American outlets and one universal outlet.
The bathrooms have no outlets, so you’ll have to use electric razors and style your hair at the vanity.
It’s also worth mentioning that if, like me, you find yourself working remotely from the ship, many of the public spaces — including The Grounds Club coffee bar and The Galley food court — have tons of outlets available for charging.
The currency on all Virgin Voyages ships is the dollar. Before you board, you’ll link a credit card to your account (which you can do via the app prior to embarkation day) or put up a cash amount from which you can debit for purchases made on board.
Passengers will not receive keycards unless they have access to Richard’s Rooftop, an exclusive sun deck reserved for cruisers booked in Rockstar Suites. The Band — an adjustable cord bracelet with a scannable device attached — serves as your room key and charge “card” when you sail. It’s also used to scan you on and off the ship when you go ashore, and it allows the crew to locate you when you use the shake for Champagne delivery service.
Although Virgin Voyages’ ships allow anyone 18 and older to sail, the drinking age on board is 21 years when ships are docked in the U.S. In international waters and in places like Europe, where the drinking age is 18, the onboard drinking age is 18.
Virgin Voyages has no official dress code and advises passengers to come as they are, whether it’s a sparkly dress or jeans and a T-shirt. However, the average passenger enjoys looking chic and trendy, even when dressed down. There are no formal nights on board, but most people do change into something a little nicer for dinner.
Be sure to bring something red for Scarlet Night — a combination atrium spectacle, pool party and nightclub rave that happens once per sailing. Other themed nights include a pajama party and an ’80s bash, so pack accordingly.
Although Resilient Lady is nearly identical to its sister ships in layout, inclusivity and quirkiness, it has found ways to differentiate itself with fresh, new entertainment. From jaw-dropping acrobatics and side-splitting comedy to performances that will have you singing and dancing along with the cast, you won’t be disappointed with the offerings while sailing on this vessel.
In addition to stellar entertainment, you can expect comfortable accommodations, top-notch food and drinks, unique daily activities — seriously, pack your legwarmers and scrunchies for the ’80s workout — and a feeling of nostalgia that will render you unable to do anything but have a great time.
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