The great thing about going on the third ship of a new cruise line is that customer and travel advisor feedback of the first and second ships has a chance of being actioned for the third one.
As a disruptor to the cruising norm, Virgin ships, built around the vision of Sir Richard Branson, continue to be for adults only (18+); have more than 20 complimentary boutique-style eateries; risqué entertainment; a bar tab instead of a drinks package; a loyal LGBTQ+ following and more.
For Resilient, the entertainment lineup has had a facelift, and the cabins and dining have had a few nips and tucks.
PAX was on board Resilient’s Greece and Turkey voyage in October 2023, roundtrip from Athens.
Book entertainment on the app
Resilient, which can accommodate up to 2,770 passengers, has five new shows, two new soirées in the Manor and more live music acts.
Advise your clients to book entertainment on the app as soon as they board as shows fill up fast.
Walk-ins might be accepted because some passengers book and don’t show up, but generally there are long lineups 15 minutes prior to doors opening.
“Persephone” is a riveting, rock-and-roll, acrobatic show and a true spectacle where performers wear costumes ranging from strappy, black leather get-ups to disco ball-like onesies.
The storyline follows a Greek myth about Persephone, a girl who becomes Queen of the Underground. This show gets much-deserved ovations and is one of the best on board.
Lola’s Library is a cabaret-style show that takes the audience through the book collection of a mysterious author. It’s an entertaining mix of song, dance, acrobatics and comedy, and presented in three themed chapters so passengers can see other episodes on other days.
Another Rose is an immersive dining and entertainment experience with cocktails and a multi-course, Indian-inspired menu that’s woven into the show with music, live vocals, dance and acrobatics. It's performed in an intimate space for up to 130 passengers.
Mind Mangler is a comedy magic created by Mischief, one of the UK’s leading comedy companies and Broadway World say it’s "a guaranteed night of laugh-filled, mind-bending silliness."
However, not only did some passengers walk out mid-show, many others said they were disappointed after it ended. This comedy is highly subjective.
Resilient debuts its own festival stage programs in the Red Room main theatre. Performers included an a cappella group called the Magnets. The performance is casual, but one member who could do incredible beat-box musical sounds stood out.
The brand’s signature Scarlet Night event is a voyage highlight of all ships. The theme tells the fabled story of the Octopus Goddess of the Sea and the Sailor who won her heart.
It features all of the entertainers and is a raucous event of dancing and partying at the main pool with its inflatable octopus.
More than 50 activities and events are scheduled on each ship, from ‘90s-inspired boy-band dance classes to a PJ Party Under the Stars.
Eat & drink up
Virgin is ranked among the best cruise lines for foodies, and debuted a second menu at the Test Kitchen, its experimental Michelin-inspired eatery.
At the Galley, Virgin nixed standard buffets in favour of a food hall, featuring trendy stalls and rotating menus.
There are seasonal specials and dishes of the regions where the ship is sailing.
For example: in Greece, Resilient features Opa Hour with Greek-inspired food and beverages at the Dock House venue.
Additionally, the line has brought back walk-up service in the Galley where passengers now have the option to order directly from their tables with a server or go to the stall of their choice.
Razzle Dazzle has a veggie-forward menu curated in partnership with Chef Eric Haugen of the Food Network and on all ships.
More storage in cabins
On Scarlet Lady, some passengers thought the cabins were sparse, plain and lacked storage.
Resilient’s are warmed up with wood wall accents and more storage.
The showerheads have not been changed, so advise clients to bring a shower cap because the rainforest style showerhead on the ceiling will get their hair wet unless they hold the hand wand and use it instead.
All cabins have mood lighting that automatically adjusts to match the time of day and include in-room tablets to adjust features ranging from the AC to the TV.
The onboard app has a new homepage for easier navigation, and the ship has fast Starlink Wi-Fi.
Virgin encourages crew to be themselves, whether that means having tattoos or coloured hair.
The line has one of the highest ratios of single-occupancy crew cabins and crew are given free Wi-Fi, and access to gyms and eateries.
These contribute to a great work environment and supports the notion that a happy crew transfers to happy customers. Customer service is excellent and crew are extremely welcoming.
For travel advisors, Virgin offers 16 per cent commissions on voyage fares; 10 per cent commissions on booked items such as shore excursions and bar tabs; no non-commissionable fares, and a dynamic training tool called Seacademy so advisors can learn more about the line’s unique style.
Michelle George, senior manager of public relations, adds, “We're incredibly excited about the year ahead, most recently announcing 21 new ports across the fleet for the summer of 2025 including Reykjavik, Iceland; Naples, Italy; Dublin, Ireland; Istanbul, Turkey; Porto, Portugal; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Muscat, Oman to name a few.”
Diane Tierney has been on 88 cruises to 48 countries and has 132,000 followers on Instagram @Cruiseguru.