Virgin Voyages' Repositioning Cruises
Food & Wine
In October and November of 2023, I took a repositioning cruise, from Athens to Dubai, on Virgin Voyages' Resilient Lady. The attentive and friendly crew, the outstanding food, the modern and innovative entertainment and the bucket list-worthy ports of call, all made for an amazing trip. I loved the cruise so much that I booked another repositioning cruise on Virgin Voyages, from Singapore to Dubai, in the spring. I highly recommend both Virgin Voyages, and repositioning cruises in general, to my clients.
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Where to stay
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
Set on the banks of the Nile, this luxury stay has multiple restaurants and bars, three outdoor pools and a luxe on-site spa.
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Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
Indulge in opulence at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, where Ottoman-inspired luxury meets the pristine beaches of Dubai for an unforgettable retreat.
$75 food / beverage or spa credit
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible
Your contemporary urban haven in the heart of Athens, where modern design, artistic flair, and Greek hospitality combine for a trendy stay in the Greek capital.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
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I recently went on a Virgin Voyages cruise from Athens, Greece to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The ship, The Resilient Lady, was repositioning from the Mediterranean to Australia for the winter. However, because the journey is 45 days from start to finish, Virgin Voyages broke it up into three segments. Some passengers were on the cruise for all three segments. I chose to cruise just the first segment.
My journey began with a flight to Athens. Once in the city, I enjoyed many of the sights and tastes that Athens has to offer. I took an e-bike tour past some historical highlights as well as into some of the lesser-traveled neighborhoods, ate dinner at a two-star Michelin restaurant, Delta, toured the Acropolis, kayaked in Cape Sounion, shopped in the Plaka neighborhood and walked through the fabulous Acropolis Museum.
I boarded the Resilient Lady on my fourth evening in Athens. By the next morning, I was visiting wineries in Santorini and walking past the white and blue buildings of Oia I had previously only seen in photos. I had dinner at a rooftop restaurant, Athenian House in Imerovigli, as I watched the sun set over the caldera. The following day, our ship docked on the island of Rhodes and I explored the medieval city of Rhodes, where knights used to live. I particularly enjoyed the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes.
After a day at sea, we docked at Port Said in Egypt. The ship stayed in Port Said overnight. The passengers had plenty of time to get to the city of Cairo and stay there for two days, if they chose. All during my first day in colorful and chaotic Cairo I had a private guide who took me to the Saladin Citadel, the Islamic quarter, the Coptic quarter and the Grand Bazaar. On my second day, I went up inside the Great Pyramid, walked past other notable pyramids, and got up close to the Great Sphinx.
After leaving Port Said, our ship spent most of the day sailing through the Suez Canal. It was such a treat to view the changing Egyptian landscape as we passed through the canal. Our next destination was the Egyptian port of Safaga, which gave passengers the ability to travel to Luxor for the day. I visited the Karnak Temple complex, had lunch on a boat as it crossed the Nile River, and walked into tombs in the Valley of the Kings, including the tomb of King Tut-ankh-amun. My final destination was the breathtaking tomb of Queen Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens. It was a childhood dream of mine to visit Egypt, and the repositioning cruise allowed me to have a quick visit to some of the country’s highlights.
After leaving Egypt, I had five days at sea to enjoy all that the ship had to offer. Virgin Voyages doesn’t have any buffets but rather multiple restaurants and a “galley”, which is akin to a nice food court. I appreciated having the time to sample all of the different culinary offerings. My favorite on-board restaurants include the Test Kitchen, which is a small plate experimental cuisine restaurant. Extra Virgin, where the pasta is made fresh every day and the meal ends with a small glass of Limoncello and a made-to-order Affogato from the Affogato cart. I also liked that I was able to see all of the shows offered on the cruise. This is something I may not have been able to do without so many sea days. My personal favorite was Another Rose, but I also enjoyed the modern re-telling of Persephone, with the performers moving all around the theater and the audience members. The group fitness classes on Virgin Voyages run the gamut from Bungee Fitness to a 90’s Boy Band dance class. I spent a lot of time walking on the top deck track, with unparalleled ocean views. There were also several themed nights, such as Scarlet Night, when sailors are encouraged to wear something red and dance the night away in the pool! The Pajama Party, when pajama-wearing guests are treated to milk and cookies during the dance party. Whether or not sailors choose to dress up, the themed nights keep the evenings different and fresh.
My final destination was Dubai. Once I got off the ship, I enjoyed a few days in the large city. Touring a couple of the famous buildings, such as the Burj Khalifa, the Burj al Arab, two gigantic shopping malls, the Mall of Emirates and the Dubai Mall. I took a water taxi on the Dubai Creek, wandered the spice and gold shops in the Souk (bazaar). I rode a camel and watched performers at a re-created Bedouin camp in the desert. My meals included dinner at one of Conde Nast Traveler’s newly minted “top 50 restaurants in the world”, Orfali Bros bistro. I also went to an authentic Middle Eastern lunch in Old Dubai at the Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant. I capped off my last night in Dubai with cocktails at the most beautiful bar I have ever been to, the Galaxy Bar.
By taking a repositioning cruise, I was able to visit three very distinct parts of the world, as well as three different continents, in one voyage. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I am so grateful I was able to take it.
Need to Know
Virgin Voyages cruises are adults-only voyages with just about everything included. Your trip includes Michelin-worthy meals at multiple dining venues, gratuities, WiFi, group fitness classes, and basic beverages, such as soda, coffee, and sparkling water. The sailors are diverse and the vibe is energetic and playful.
Virgin Voyages offer Virtuoso perks such as;
$100 in sailor loot
Priority boarding for Sea Terrace cabins
What is a repositioning cruise? Most cruises start and end at the same port. However, at different times of the year, cruise ships may need to get from one market to another. For example, a ship that spends the summer cruising the Mediterranean Sea might travel, or reposition, to the Caribbean for the winter months. That cruise might embark from Barcelona and disembark in Miami.
Repositioning cruises often have extra “days at sea”, which some travelers prefer. A transatlantic crossing from the Mediterranean to Miami, will have about eight days at sea. While some sailors enjoy visiting a port, some like to take advantage of the extra sea days at sea, enjoying all of the activity and dining options the ship has to offer.
I personally enjoy extra sea days. I have also found that a repositioning cruise can offer me an opportunity to cross multiple “bucket list” destinations off my list in one trip.
Many cruise lines offer repositioning cruises, so there are options for all tastes and preferences. Contact me if you would like to discuss how I can help you plan your next cruise or other travel adventure, as well as how I can get you extra perks such as onboard or hotel credits.
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor April Sampleton’s guide, How to Make the Most of an All-Adult Cruise by Virgin Voyages.
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