When Richard Branson — travel and lifestyle entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Virgin Hotels, Virgin Galactic, and more — said he was launching a cruise line, everyone knew to expect something different. And Virgin Voyages certainly is. The adults-only cruise line broke with tradition when 2,770-guest Scarlet Lady began its inaugural season in the Caribbean in October 2021 with onboard amenities that include a tattoo parlor and a resident drag queen but no main dining room or buffet restaurant. Guests are called Sailors and the cruise director has been replaced by a vivacious Happenings staff who are charged with making sure everyone has a great time. While the energy is youthful, a Virgin voyage is all about attitude rather than age.
The line’s second ship, Valiant Lady, debuted in spring 2022, while its third ship, Resilient Lady, was launched in summer 2023 in Greece and the Adriatic and then headed to Australia for the winter. The fleet’s fourth ship, Brilliant Lady, was delayed in late 2023 with its launch date still to be announced. Aboard these identical sister “Lady Ships” the vibe is unapologetically energetic as Virgin seeks to attract a new generation of cruisers while also offering an alternative for Gen Xers and Boomers looking for a something non-traditional. The formula: Modern luxury that’s accessible but also clubby in a beyond-the-velvet-rope kind of way.