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  • Writer's pictureConnie George

Charting a Different Course: 12 Ways Virgin Voyages Breaks the Cruise Industry Mold

Updated: Feb 9

man and woman in bathing suits sitting on cruise ship deck

The advice I give our first-time Virgin Voyages who have sailed with other cruise lines is to “throw out everything you know about cruising because you can’t compare this experience to that of other cruise lines.” 


Am I making a disparaging statement against this line? Not at all! Virgin Voyages is so different that, if you stay stuck in your head about what cruising is supposed to be, you’ll be disappointed or confused. But if you let yourself go and enjoy this entirely new experience, you may find yourself on one of your favorite vacation experiences!

Despite the differences between "VV" and other lines, you'll find Sir Richard Branson's three ships: Scarlett Lady, Valiant Lady, and Resilient Lady to be identical in appearance, personalities, and features.

Let's go over 12 of the biggest differences from other lines:

four women and one man in casino

1. Adults Only

Virgin Voyages is all about a mature, sophisticated vibe. Whether you prefer an adults-only vacation or you’d just like a week away from kids, this is a plus to the non-kid family cruise vacation.

woman singer in white gown and four entertainers in bue lights costume

 2. Entertainment & Events

This cruise line focuses on unique, immersive entertainment. Rather than the more typical theatre, they have the “Red Room” which be reconfigured for various shows. Virgin Voyages is known for a variety of unique shows, parties and events so you’re sure to get caught up in something you’ll love!  


"Activities are unlike your standard cruise.  Pop-up performances abound.  Higher occupancy events are exciting, some events have an edge which is super fun."  -Rick P.

Display of desserts including green macaroons

3. No Buffets

If you’ve cruised on the “mass market” lines, it’s hard to imagine a cruise line without a buffet, right? But there is a nice substitute- The Galley which is open 24/7. It includes a bakery and pastry shop, panini shop, burger grill, taco shack, sushi bar, noodle bar, a soup and salad stand and a 24-hour American diner. So no worries about missing that buffet, right? Use a handy QR code or look at the menu to have your favorites brought to you…. At no extra cost.

people seated in chairs and a booth in a casual restaurant with the ocean on the other side of huge windows

4. Truly Flexible Dining

Have dinner where you want, when you want. There are no assigned dining times, restaurants, or tables assigned to you. In fact, there are no Main Dining Rooms, but if you enjoy the smaller venues and upscale food of cruise lines’ “specialty dining restaurants,” you’ll love VV’s alternatives.  Which leads me to #5……


hands passing and serving asian food on a blue table

5. Culinary Adventure

Virgin Voyages’ ships have over 20 eateries, every one of them complimentary! This includes free restaurants that are more intimate along the lines of other lines “specialty restaurants.” Your culinary adventure on this cruise ranges from steaks and seafood to Mexican, Italian, and even Korean BBQ. And if you are a vegan, you’ll be thrilled to know they even have a restaurant dedicated to your preference! But you don’t have to worry about the possible carnivores in your party--- that restaurant also has a naughty menu so your non-vegan friends can dine with you.


plates of breakfast food on white table next to ocean

By the way, do you love going out (or having someone else at home cook!) for breakfast? Enjoy “breakfast for dinner?”  Or perhaps eggs or another breakfast specialty is your preference for late-night munchies? Virgin even offers American breakfasts 24 hours a day!


“The food on Virgin is exceptional, and the adult-only cruise provides for a unique experience.  We had a wonderful time!"   -Mark W.


woman wearing white shirt and tan hat standing at back of ship, ocean wake behind ship

6. Upscale Resort Vibe

Modern and stylish, but not snooty or uncomfortable. I think the fun and casualness of the line keeps people comfortable even if you don’t consider yourself comfortable in “upscale.”


five people in gym running against bungees, room has floor to ceiling windows surrounded by ocean

7. Wellness

Keep up good habits, start new ones or just have fun trying something out. There are the typical spa and fitness classes, but also a lot of wellness activities to try out. Want to try out or keep your Keto way of life or do your meditation routine with others?

two smiling women standing at glass counter

8. Dress Code

Leave your formal attire at home because Virgin Voyages embraces a casual sophisticated lifestyle. It's about your comfort, not about packing more or being uncomfortable.

six adults laughing and holding glasses in a hot tub

9. Late, Late Nights

Whether you are generally a late-night person or only play one on vacation, you’ll love lots of opportunities for drinks and entertainment to keep you busy until the wee hours! In fact, on Virgin Voyages even the hot tubs aren’t closed for cleaning until hours after most lines close theirs for the night.

Virgin Voyage cabin tablet with screen set to do room controls

10. Operate Your Cabin with an Easy Tablet

Each cabin has a tablet that enables you to operate your lighting and temperature, open/close your curtains, or even operate your television for TV shows or movies. You can also use it to order items such as ice or extra towels as well as report maintenance issues. Plus, it’s programmed to be easy to use. It’s quite convenient.


red hammock and round glass table on ship balcony, barefoot woman in hammock, glass wall, ocean

11.  Hammocks

Have you ever had a hammock on your cruise ship balcony? You will on Virgin Voyages, the masters at relaxation! Did you see the Shark Tank episode with Yellow Leaf Hammocks which are sourced from the Mlabri Tribe in Northern Thailand? That hammock you relax on has a huge impact on the communities that Virgin Voyages has committed to through the company selling them.


By the way, the hammocks are just one example of Sir Richard Branson’s commitment to his line being involved with local sourcing to benefit other cultures and in cultural awareness.

“The food, entertainment, staff and accommodations on Virgin Voyages were phenomenal. The added bonus of a hammock on our balcony was a fun surprise. We will definitely sail with them again.” -Rich and Charlotte P.


Green and sand heart shaped island in ocean with long semi circle beach island and green text spelling all inclusive

12.  Inclusive!

Virgin includes a lot that other lines charge extra for. Some cruisers, depending on the line they book, the package they buy, and their vacation lifestyle, feel they are “nickeled and dimed,” but that’s not a comment made by Virgin’s sailors.  With them, you get to have:

  • Free meals in small restaurants that other lines charge extra to enjoy

  • Free still and sparkling water, non-pressed juices, sodas, sachet teas, and drip coffee

  • Free gratuities

  • Free Wi-Fi

  • Free fitness classes

  • Free (no penalty) voyage date changes up to 45 days before your sailing

  • Free (permitted AND no penalty) name changes up to 48 hours before your sailing

  • “Bar Tab” dollars, which vary in amount depending on the sailing date and promotion. Most of my agency’s bookings land $300 in “Free Bar Tab” to be used toward beer, wine, cocktails and specialty coffees


“You don't get nickeled and dimed. On all the VV cruises we have been on, we has disembarked owing nothing. In fact, we still had $20 left over on our bar tab on one cruise.” -Scott I.



Differences... and Unique Surprises!

For a first-time Virgin Voyages sailor, there are a lot of new and exciting changes from what you’re used to.

And thanks to Sir Richard Branson's playful nature, you never know what fun surprises may pop up during your vacation. Like this one that greeted guests on Virgin Voyages' first-ever arrival in Sydney, Australia.

white and red cruise ship in background, red white and blue speed boat with man
“Arrived in Sydney today with much fanfare....." -Glynn H.

man standing in wood speed boat racing through water
“.....Branson greeted the Resilient Lady in Sydney Harbor by taking victory laps around the ship in a classic wooden speedboat that he drove. Great celebration party on board as well!!!” -Glynn H.

I’m looking forward to working with you to plan your best vacation yet. Will it be on Virgin Voyages?


Happy Traveling,




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