While planning a trip to Greece, we discovered Virgin Voyages was beginning sailings around Greece and Turkey from Athens at the start of Summer 2023. Perfect timing! Instead of dragging our luggage across multiple islands, sitting on countless hot ferries, and checking in and out of different hotels, we booked our sailing to embark on the Virgin Voyage’s Resilient Lady’s third-ever voyage in May of 2023. Unsure of what exactly to expect onboard but excited for the easy week of exploring ahead, we set sail for four stops throughout the Aegean Sea on a 7-night cruise we’ll never forget.
If you’re interested in island hopping in Greece, sailing with Virgin Voyages, or taking a European cruise, this might be the cruise for you – but we’ll warn you now, this cruise line’s not for everyone! From booking to disembarking and everything in between, here’s what it’s really like to take a Virgin Voyage cruise around the Mediterranean.
BOOKING THE CRUISE
Booking the cruise couldn’t have been easier. The Virgin website is straightforward and incredibly easy to use. Initially, we booked a limited-view terrace because it was much cheaper than the standard sea-view terrace rooms. However, a few days before sailing, we received an email offering a bid system to upgrade our room at a discounted rate. Our $60 bid was accepted, and boom! We saved a few hundred dollars and still scored a perfect sea view terrace room which we thoroughly enjoyed throughout the cruise.
While some cruise lines nickel and dime you for seemingly every little thing, the beauty of a virgin voyage sailing is that you don’t have to constantly think about prices, taxes, tips, etc. Nearly everything is wrapped into the price you pay upfront.
- Your room
- Every meal and snack
- Water, coffee, regular juices, sodas, and tea
- Champagne at the Sail Away party and occasionally on Scarlet Night
- Stops at every port stop and the tender (smaller boats) to get there if needed
- Internet (this is a huge deal!)
- All gratuity (they mean it – no tips necessary – it’s covered)
- Almost all entertainment except for one show and some classes (listed below)
- Shore excursions
- Alcoholic drinks
- Specialty juices and coffee
- One or two specialty items per dinner menu
- Onboard classes where you use, eat, or drink different provided materials
- Room service (It’s $5 unless you order an up-charge item like a Red Bull or alcoholic beverage, then the delivery cost is free!)
- Another Rose dinner & a show
Our boarding time was a typical 3 PM. We arrived early, at 2:30 PM. (just in case, ya know?), waited in an air-conditioned tent area right outside the ship until precisely 3 PM, were guided to the next tent where we got our ship bands which served as payment and room key, breezed through security, and were on the ship heading to our room by 3:30 PM. Everything was quick and easy!
Once onboard, we checked out our room, ate a late lunch, did the muster drill training, and then returned to our cabin, where we found our luggage right outside our door. We quickly unpacked and made ourselves at home for the week of sailing ahead before climbing up to Deck 15, where the Sail Away Party was taking place. The party is a fun, short-lived celebration that offers as much complimentary champagne as you can enjoy in 30 minutes while a lead entertainer gives rapid-fire introductions of 12 key crew members you’ll see throughout the voyage. After the party, we made our way to our first dinner at Pink Agave, which was nothing short of spectacular.
Overall, we were impressed by how smoothly the embarkation day went, the energy of the staff, and the beauty of the ship.
CRUISE SHIP SHIP SPACES
The ship has 17 floors, but you’ll mostly only use 8 of them – seven floors around the ship as well as whichever floor your cabin is on.
Here’s a brief look at what you’ll enjoy on each floor:
Deck 4 – Getting on and off the ship for port excursions
Deck 5 – Razzle Dazzle, Pink Agave, Sailor Services, and the Redemption Spa
Deck 6 – The Casino, The Red Room for evening entertainment, Roundabout Atrium where you’ll meet before taking a tender to port, Extra Virgin, The Wake, Test Kitchen, and plenty of drinking options, shops, and services.
Deck 7 – Roundabout Atrium, The Groupie for group karaoke, The Red Room for evening entertainment, several drinking and snacking options, the social club for games, the Dock, and the Dock House.
Decks 8-14 – Exclusively cabins
Deck 15 – The Galley, where you can get quick dining options, Gunbae, two poolside bars, two gym spaces, pools, and hot tubs.
Deck 16 – Cabanas, sports areas, sun chairs, nail salon, one quick eats option, hot tubs, and the net.
Deck 17 – The jogging track, which can be used for jogging or photo ops, and an outdoor yoga studio
After a week, we finally ate at each of the eateries on board, hung out in almost every space except the nightclubs and yoga studio, and made the most of our time. We really enjoyed trivia and open gameplay on deck 7 and hung out there almost every night. The shows in the Red Room were certainly a sight, and the pool area on deck 15 was always kept in top-notch condition and featured a fun DJ every afternoon.
The rooms were expertly designed and full of clever, convenient touches. We loved having a full sea terrace, plenty of drawer space, and a reasonably sized closet space for a cruise ship. The bed was comfortable, and the room offered numerous outlets around the cabin.
We were shocked to find just how tasty the food was. From exceptional service to creative experiences and everything in between, we were blown away by the quality of dining onboard the Resilient Lady. It’s almost too difficult to pick our favorite meal! There is no buffet on board which is very different for a cruise ship! Instead, every dining option is included within the cost of the cruise and there are dozens of options to enjoy. Test Kitchen was the most immersive and creative experience; The Wake offered a fabulous American brunch at sea; The Dock had delicious Mediterranean food with amazing views; and The Galley hit the sweet spot with quick options for almost any craving.
ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES
True to the Virgin brand, the entertainment options were… how should we say, very sexy. A stark contrast to our last cruise with Disney, the shows were very adult. They didn’t shy away from raucous, irreverent entertainment. We took part in the Sail Away party, all the Scarlet Night entertainment (minus the after party), a kind of funny magic show in which Kait, unfortunately, became a guest participant (the introverts in us were absolutely dying inside), a jazz singer-esque show, and The Miss Behave Show in the Red Room which is pretty much everything you could imagine given the title.
Outside of official entertainment, we enjoyed the poolside DJ, trivia in the Social Club, the freely available card and board games, and all the port excursions. While the shows and parties onboard weren’t quite our typical style, we always appreciated the staff’s talent, comedic timing, and commitment to the bit. This staff works hard!
STAFF & SERVICE
10 out of 10 for the staff aboard the Virgin’s Resilient Lady. From the dining staff to our room attendant and everyone in between, they were all nothing short of phenomenal. And because this is a Virgin crew, they weren’t your typical stuffy, stand-off-ish type. We talked as friends and could easily forget they are literally paid to help you have a good time.
Because all gratuity is included in the cost of your cruise, you never have to worry about adding up totals or how much to tip. We’re sure the lack of tipping onboard probably helps with the always-on yet nonchalant nature of the staff with the guests. They will do anything to make your cruise memorable while not having the awkward “barrier” of feeling like you owe them/they owe you regarding tipping.
WHO’S ONBOARD A VIRGIN VOYAGE
We saw a bit of everyone on board – except for kids. Since Virgin Voyages are adults-only cruises, you have to be 18+ to board the boat. While we met folks fresh out of college and then one lady in her 80s, we’d say the average cruiser was between late 30s-early 40s sailing with a partner. A handful of groups were on board, but the sailors were primarily couples.
One important note: some places are adults-only, so the environment is quiet, zen, and free of screaming, crying kids. Virgin Voyages are not that way. They really lean into the more Vegas side of an adults-only experience, fully embracing freedom of expression in all forms – language, sexuality, attire, and travel preferences. No one would make you do anything you didn’t want to do, but everyone was entirely free to be their full and free selves. If you’re more on the conservative side of most things in life, this cruise might not be the best fit for you. But if you’re down for an unfiltered vacation and to make a few NSFW (not safe for work) memories while traveling abroad? What happens on a Virgin voyage stays on the Virgin voyage.
MOTION OF THE OCEAN
Motion sickness is a significant factor when deciding vacation options – especially cruising. Thankfully, everything was so smooth! The smoothness of the ship was one of the best surprises of our sailing. We would be halfway through dinner and have to look out the window to realize, “Oh, we’re moving!” We have never been on a ship that moved so smoothly nor seas that were so gentle. Whether it was the combination of the newness of the vessel or the calm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, we were so grateful to have absolutely no hint of motion sickness the entire time.
The overall ambiance is cheeky, flexible, and fabulous. Every experience is elevated at the same time as innuendos are fully embraced. Sailing aboard the Resilient Lady was both better and different than expected. We were surprised by the “spicy” nature of the adults-only cruise, but honestly, we shouldn’t have been surprised as we were. This wasn’t a spa (though there is one); this was a party at sea. No matter the grown-up vibe, there was still so much fun entertainment, play, and relaxation areas on board that it genuinely felt like the epitome of a vacation. Exciting, daring, adventurous, and laid back all in one ship. A Virgin Voyage isn’t for everyone, but our first voyage certainly won’t be the last sailing for us.