Greek Island Glow on Virgin Voyages' Resilient Lady

Advisor - Kelsey Parry
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Kelsey Parry

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Greek Island Glow on Virgin Voyages' Resilient Lady
Curator’s statement

New to the cruising scene and making one heck of a splash, Virgin Voyages has taken the standard cruise vacation and turned it on its head (in the best possible sense). Setting out to solve many reoccurring cruise woes and appeal to habitual and non-cruisers alike, Virgin Voyages has created a great product that makes for an exciting, inclusive, and memorable vacation experience. Looking for wild and crazy? Sure, it is there, but only if you seek it out. Looking for a more relaxing vibe? Virgin also has you covered, regardless of what vacation element(s) you may be searching for on any given day.

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Where to stay

Virgin Voyages Resilient Lady

Setting sail with style, innovation, and a dash of rebellious spirit for an unforgettable cruise experience

Virgin Voyages

Luxury adults-only cruise ship offering voyages to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Europe and beyond.

Advisor - Kelsey Parry

Unlock perks by contacting Kelsey to book your trip.

Ship Overview

Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady is the newest to the fleet, having launched from Piraeus (Athens), Greece, in May 2023 and wintering down under in Australia. Certainly the best yet, Resilient Lady has all the top features of her sister ships (Scarlet and Valiant Lady) but with additional improvements and all-new entertainment line-ups.

Looking for details regarding planning and Virgin Voyages expectations in general? Head over to my full guide, Tips and Tricks when cruising with Virgin Voyages.


What to know when cruising Greece

Taking a Greek island voyage is a great way to test the waters to see which beautiful locals might be the best fit for a future, dedicated vacation adventure. With Virgin Voyages, you get all the excitement of voyaging with fun, inclusive guests in the evening while experiencing Greek culture and landscapes during the day.

Most individuals you encounter in the ports on this itinerary will be fluent in English, but consider learning some basics such as good morning/afternoon, thank you, please, and goodbye. Duolingo is quite helpful in terms of learning key food-related words to feel more comfortable in dining settings (or just wing it and see what you end up with; it is Greece, after all, so it is all delicious).

The Port of Piraeus is easy to reach via a 20-minute taxi or prearranged transfer through Blacklane or Welcome Pickups. Public transportation via the Metro is available for €2 per person. However, the departure terminal changes from sailing to sailing, sometimes making the distance to walk with luggage from public transportation more than desirable considering the cost of local taxis (€25).

Itinerary Overview:
Day 1: Embark in Piraeus (Athens)
Day 2: Santorini
Day 3: Rhodes
Day 4: Sea Day
Day 5: Bodrum
Day 6: Mykonos (overnight)
Day 7: Mykonos
Day 8: Disembark in Piraeus (Athens)

For more information about a pre-or post-voyage stay in Athens, please see my separate guide, A Wine Lover’s Guide to Athens (Αθήνα).

If time allows, also consider a side trip to Milos, which is outlined in my guide, A Foodie’s Guide to Milos (Μήλος).

Santorini

Starting with a bang, Santorini is a great stop to have right off the bat (as you will need all of your excited energy to persevere the tendering and commuting up/down the caldera).

First things first. Santorini is a tender port, meaning the ship will remain offshore, smaller ferry-like boats will pull up alongside the ship to take sailors to shore, and getting to and from the island can take much longer than anticipated. Virgin Voyages requires guests to pre-book tender times via the app, which can be done in the weeks prior to boarding the ship (Rockstars and Mega Rockstars can disregard and catch a tender whenever they like). This is one major reason to consider booking an excursion through Virgin Voyages, which cuts down significantly in terms of the stress of planning.

Secondly, those not booked through a dedicated cruise line excursion will need to reach the town of Θήρα (Thira or Fira) at the top of the hill from the Old Port (which is no quick and easy feat during high season). There are two options: walking up the Karavolades stairs or taking the cable car (you will be provided cable car passes by Virgin Voyages, so there is no need to purchase). The stairs are not an option unless you are at the peak of physical fitness and want to spend the remainder of the day a sweaty mess (and please do not ride a donkey). The cable car is a very easy option, the only issue is that the waiting times get longer as the day goes along (depending on how many cruise ships are in port that day).

Those booking independent excursions should try to get a tender reservation as early as possible in order to take the cable car up the hill (factoring in possible wait times). The best solution is to book a private excursion, so even though you still have to navigate tendering and the cable car, the guide will wait for you regardless of your delay.

One of the best excursion options in Santorini is a private wine tour provided by Santorini Day Tours, where the guide/sommelier can tailor your stops around various producers (if you have specifics you might be interested in seeing). Do note that due to time and distance constraints, most tours will visit producers on the southern half of the island (where most are concentrated) and will not be able to add a stop as far north as Oia (such as Domaine Sigalas). Despite that limitation, there are plenty of phenomenal producers to see, such as Χατζηδάκης (Hatzidakis), Γαβαλά (Gavalas), and Gaia. Santo Wines is a stop on almost all Santorini wine tours as it is by far the most scenic, having beautiful caldera views. However, do note that Santo Wines is a cooperative (versus an individual producer), and while the wines are quite quaffable, are more mass-marketed than some of the smaller, individual producers.

Most tours (including cruise line excursions) will end in Fira and require guests to make their own way back down the hill to the tender boats. One of the best features of Virgin Voyages in Greece versus other cruise lines is that the Resilient Lady will have a late evening departure time, allowing for dinner or drinks in Santorini once many other ships have left port. One of the best places to watch the sunset while enjoying drinks is the PK Cocktail Bar, where you can reserve a table in advance and enjoy the sunset views before taking the cable car back down and catching a tender back to the ship. For elevated dining, consider making reservations at Selene Restaurant.

When attempting to take the cable car back down to the old port, expect exceptionally long waits with lines meandering throughout the town of Fira. During peak afternoon/early evening hours, this line can take upwards of two to three hours, so keep this in mind when factoring enough time to catch one of the last tenders (though with the late evening departure, cable car lines generally dwindle with the departure of the other ships). The alternate option (though not so much in the dark) is to walk down the Karavolades stairs, which is obviously easier than going up. However, this should only be undertaken by those who are very healthy, wearing good traction shoes, and have water for the journey down. The stairs have been worn quite smooth in many places (plus have donkey poo scattered about), so it is very easy to slip while walking down (which at a fast pace still takes about 25 minutes).

Rhodes

This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a leisurely morning getting off the ship whenever you feel ready and enjoy wandering the streets of the old town (which has a tremendous amount of history just minutes from the ship). While the Colossus of Rhodes no longer greets seafarers upon entering the harbor, the old town is a great place to meander through the remaining centuries of history. Make sure your wander takes you down the Street of Knights before stopping for lunch at Τα Πεταλάδικα (Ta Petaladika). On the way back to the ship, pop into Fournariko pastry shop (https://www.fotisgroup.com/restaurants/fournariko/) for some treats to enjoy back on the ship, such as portokalopita (traditional Greek orange cake).

A person walking down a street with old brick buildings

Kelsey Parry

Bodrum

While technically a part of Turkey (not Greece), the Greek history and influence will be quite obvious as you venture out for the day. Most of the options for excursions revolve around beaches, day cruises, and diving (though you can certainly walk into the old town area of Bodrum from the port to enjoy haggling in the markets). Do note that Virgin Voyages is very specific on their rules for diving: voyagers who book a diving excursion must show their certified dive card at the beginning of the voyage (and provide their dive weight), must have had a dive within the last three years, and if newly certified, must have had at least one additional dive since their certification.

The balcony of a cruise ship on the water

Kelsey Parry

Gulets are traditional Turkish two- or three-masted wooden yachts that are a lovely way to sail and enjoy the coastal areas around Bodrum for the day (or week, for a future vacation idea). Multiple stops allow guests to snorkel in the crystal blue waters, followed by a lovely mezze spread for lunch. Virgin Voyages offers official gulet excursions, though outside excursions are also quite easy to navigate as the gulets dock about a five-minute walk from the cruise ship.

Mykonos

In true Virgin Voyages fashion, sailors get an overnight on the island of Mykonos in order to enjoy the epic nightlife scene. Mykonos can be either a tender port or a traditional docked port (or both in the same sailing, with the ship moving to the dock later in the evening once other ships have left). Remember that Virgin Voyages requires guests to pre-book morning tender times via the app, which can be done weeks before boarding the ship (Rockstars and Mega Rockstars can disregard and catch a tender whenever they like).

The first day should be enjoyed at one of the many beach clubs on the island. Jackie O’ Beach Club is one of the most inclusive options (in every sense of the word), offering beach beds by day, one of the top restaurants on the island, and a drag show/party scene each evening. Virgin Voyages does offer an official excursion to Jackie O’s. However, consider contacting the club directly to reserve day beds and restaurant reservations (and they can even organize a car for pickup and return to the port). Note that traffic on Mykonos is notoriously terrible, with very few taxis, so when assistance with transportation is offered by the venue, take it even if it is at a seemingly high cost (€40-60 each way).

A group of beach chairs on the beach during the daytime

Kelsey Parry

Head back to the ship after the drag show to shower and refresh before returning to Mykonos Town for a late dinner (Greece enjoys very late dining times, but this is particularly true in Mykonos). Consider making reservations at Το μαερειό (To Maereio), and be sure to order Asemina’s meatballs (their mother’s recipe) and Maereio’s local sausage with feta.

While the ship stays in Mykonos until early afternoon the next day, most find that the night before goes so late (or, at that point, early again) that they do not get off the ship the second day. However, if you do, make sure to stop at Gioras Bakery for a late breakfast and/or snacks before heading back to the ship.

A couple posing in front of a sparkly backdrop

Image 1:PJ Party on Resilient Lady ; Image 2:Seahorse Racing on Resilient Lady

Ship-based Activities

Grog Walk - For sailors who want to meet and mingle, those in the know book the Grog Walk for the first evening of the voyage as soon as they board the ship/log onto the ship’s wifi. The Grog Walk is an additional cost of $45 but does include four cocktails from various bars around the ship. It is a great way to meet other joiners early on in the voyage.

PJ Party - Usually held at the Athletic Club all the way aft on deck 16 (weather permitting), the PJ Party is a blast for those who pace themselves enough on Day 1 to make it until 11:00 pm. This is also the last stop of the Grog Walk, so consider either wearing your pajamas to the Grog Walk in preparation (or quickly running back to change between drinks three and four). Depending on the ship, there may even be a competition for the best pajamas…

Lola’s Library - This show is so epic that it is divided into three sections throughout the voyage. A hilarious story revolving around an enigmatic librarian with some eclectic tastes in reading material, this show is considered an “immersive cabaret.” It is worth planning your meals around seeing all three parts.

Redemption Spa - The thermal spa onboard Virgin Voyages’ ships is a nice experience. However, perhaps only visit once during the voyage (or book the Splash of Romance package where one visit is included). The spa requires advance reservations for a three-hour window, so book a timeslot as soon as you board if you are interested in going (sea days will fill up fast).

Scarlet Night - This almost needs its own guide entirely. When packing for your voyage, make sure to pack something scarlet red to wear for this themed night. Stop by one of the many various “storytellings” about Scarlet Night held during the afternoon and evening leading up to the kickoff in the Roundabout at 9:00 pm, where you will likely be given some insider tips about surprise goings on and where to be to see them or participate. The big finale is on the pool deck at 10:45 pm, which should not be missed. Consider leaving anything behind in the room that might not withstand complete submersion in the pool, including your scarlet attire.

Another Rose - This dinner and show is a new concept to Virgin Voyages and is yet another immersive theatre experience. When reserving the show via the app, you can select how close to the stage you would prefer to be (as the front row is VERY immersive and moves around throughout the show). Additionally, upon entering, you select a certain color flower to secure to your attire that denotes how adventurous you might be in terms of participation (so those who are not comfortable being involved are able to enjoy without fear of being pulled in).

Persephone - This show is tied for first place with Dual Reality regarding best performances on Virgin Voyages. Persephone is an amazing vocal, acrobatic, and dance show that is a must-see, even if you need to skip dinner. It is a performance where the audience stands for the duration, so plan accordingly regarding shoe comfort.

Dining on the Ship

Pink Agave - The Mexican dining location on Virgin Voyages. This is hands-down one of the best restaurants on the ship. However, do not expect Tex Mex options such as fajitas and quesadillas, as this authentic Mexican menu revolves around dishes such as cochinita pibil, aguachile, elotes, etc. (yes, you can still get guacamole). The bar at the front of the restaurant is available to enjoy regardless of whether you are eating at the restaurant and has the largest tequila and mezcal selection at sea.

Extra Virgin - Virgin Voyages’ Italian enoteca-style restaurant with fabulous ship-made pasta. Dessert includes a gelato trolly, so consider an affogato to keep yourself going through all the excitement of the evening.

Razzle Dazzle - After receiving a menu update in mid-2023, Razzle Dazzle is now one of the top restaurant recommendations on Virgin Voyages for dinner. While much of the menu is vegetarian, they have integrated their former “naughty” menu into the offerings, which is a real win. Brunch at Razzle Dazzle is still the top option for sea days, so make sure to book brunch reservations when dining opens for booking 45 days in advance.

Gunbae - The first of its kind at sea, Gunbae is a Korean BBQ restaurant where sailors are seated at communal tables of up to six persons. This is another great way to meet other sailors early in the voyage, so consider reserving for the first night. Also, perhaps research the drinking game so you can show up at your table mates by practicing beforehand.

The Wake - Virgin Voyages’ seafood and steakhouse onboard, with gorgeous aft views of the ship’s wake. The menu is solid, albeit expected for a steakhouse (though their Parker House rolls are phenomenal). Definitely make a dinner reservation, but perhaps do not reserve it for your most anticipated evening. The Wake also offers brunch, which is worth booking if you have at least two sea days in your itinerary. If only one sea day brunch is available, book Razzle Dazzle.

Test Kitchen - Virgin Voyages included a molecular gastronomy restaurant on its ships called Test Kitchen. The menu will generally shift halfway through the voyage, so keep that in mind if there is a menu you find yourself leaning more toward. There are some interesting choices on the menu, so if anything falls outside your comfort zone, let the server know, and they can easily swap it out for something else.

The Pizza Place - Hands down, the best pizza spot on any cruise line. Virgin Voyages makes individual pizzas to order and provides a buzzer to let you know when your order is ready. Pro-tip: send one person in your group to put the order in when you know the party is winding down to beat the rush of people (particularly on Scarlet Night). The buzzer will work a few decks away, though not all the way to the other end of the ship.

Lick Me Til Ice Cream - Here’s Virgin Voyages’ level up from cruise ship froyo. This location on all ships offers great quality gelato (including vegan and dairy-free options).

The Galley - Virgin Voyages does not have a buffet onboard and instead has The Galley, which consists of quick-service food stalls that can be ordered from your table through a server. Food generally comes fairly quickly (though it comes as it is ready, so you may have toast long before your partner receives their eggs). The made-to-order element of the Galley does add a bit of extra time when planning morning excursions and disembarkation times, so do take that into consideration.

The Dock House - While not a full restaurant, the Dock House does have snacks during the day and early evening, so you can enjoy the gorgeous views from the back of the ship without having to go up to deck 15 for snacks from the Galley.

Bars on Resilient Lady

On the Rocks - Arguably the best bar on the ship with the largest selection, this is where you will find yourself stopping in between activities and when you need your favorite go-to cocktail that is not on the menu at other ship bars. Live music and performances are often here to sit down and enjoy throughout the voyage.

Richard’s Rooftop - For Rockstar and Mega Rockstar sailors only, this private bar and sundeck has a limited bar menu throughout the day, but most importantly, Moët Champagne happy hour each afternoon for sailors in suites.

The Dock House - Be sure to head to the Dock House early on sea days to snag one of the prime daybeds. The Dock House has a great cocktail selection (both at its location inside and outside on the deck) and is the perfect location to relax once you have orientated yourself to the ship on boarding day.

Grounds Club - While not technically a bar (though you can add a shot of Kahlua or Bailey’s to your order), the Grounds Club on deck seven (and Grounds Club Too in the Galley) are the full-service barista coffee bars on the ship, which do come at an added cost. However, the snacks available at the locations are included in your voyage fare.

Gym & Tonic Bar - Another dual-purpose location where you can find fresh juices and smoothies during the day (including the free juice offered in the Splash of Romance package). However, in the evenings, this will transition to yet another pool bar with shorter lines on nights like Scarlet Night.

Loose Cannon - Good luck finding this bar the first time around! Hidden all the way in the back corner of the Social Club (across from the arcade), the Loose Cannon has a cool, calm vibe with a menu more skewed toward beer and basic wine (though it does have a cocktail or two on offer).

Aquatic Club Bar/Sun Club Bar - Do not be confused when you see a bar charge on your account for the Aquatic Club (Virgin Voyages speak for pool bar). The Sun Club is the bar directly above it on deck 16, overlooking the pool.

Draught Haus - Also tucked away and often missed, this is the full-scale beer haunt on the ship with many drafts and bottled/canned options. Consider buying a refillable (and returnable) growler here for use through your voyage for those looking to go the beer route.

The Athletic Club - This bar’s name is a bit of a misnomer, as the Athletic Club is all the way aft on deck 16 and a bit difficult to get to. You do indeed have to walk past much of the athletic equipment, like the boxing ring, sports court, etc., to reach this bar, but once there, it is more about lounging near the overhanging net (that is too uncomfortable to walk or sit on).

Need to Know

Packing considerations

Where to begin as a Virgin Voyages cruise through Greece is really two separate vacations in one fell swoop. For Greece, ensure you pack plenty of bathing suits, cover-ups, sunscreen (reef-safe), a sunhat, and most importantly, water shoes. Many beaches in Greece are pebbles instead of sand (which is why the waters are such a crystal clear blue), so water shoes are necessary to protect your feet. Snorkeling equipment is very useful if you already own it (though usually provided at a lower quality level on excursions).

Attire for Santorini, Rhodes, and Bodrum will revolve more around comfort in the heat. Mykonos, unsurprisingly, emphasizes fashion over function, particularly for dinner and late-night.

Packing considerations for the ship should include Scarlet Night (red) attire, 80s workout-themed attire for the VHS Workout class, 90s attire for the Klub Rubix party, gold attire for the We Fancy party, and pajamas for the PJ Party. Other than these specific wardrobe suggestions, Virgin Voyages tend to skew more towards elevated casual attire, with most sailors not wearing anything close to cocktail or formal (in fact, you will stand out as an exception wearing anything formal).

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Greece. In need of further inspiration? Check out Michael Lissack’s guide, Best Cruise in Greece.

Advisor - Kelsey Parry

Travel Advisor

Kelsey Parry

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