What makes Virgin Voyages different?

Posted on 16 Feb 2024 , updated on 4 May 2024

Virgin Voyages is a new player in the Australian cruise market - and one of the newer cruise lines in general, having only started operations in 2020 just as the COVID pandemic struck.

The cruise line flaunts that it has taken a whole fresh approach to cruising - and is not trying to mimic the existing cruise market. They have four ships, the Scarlet Lady, Valiant Lady, Resilient Lady, and Brilliant Lady (coming into service soon). All ships are the same design and offer the same amenities and services.

If you are an experienced cruiser, there are a few differences that will stand out for you with a Virgin Voyage.

Let's explore!

Dining Experience

If you are a foodie, then Virgin is for you. Virgin Voyages has taken cruise dining back to the drawing board for their ships and created a spectacular, high-quality experience.

No Buffet

Order from your table by raising the flag for service
Order from your table by raising the flag for service

Firstly, there is no traditional buffet on Virgin Voyages. In place of a buffet, you have The Galley. The Galley is best compared to a food hall, with multiple food outlets to choose from. Unlike a buffet, most of the food is cooked to order, and you can even order from your table and the crew will bring your food out to you when it's ready.

Options include Mexican, salads, a noodle bar, a dessert bar, and Japanese-style bento boxes.

No Main Dining Room

Premium restaurant quality food is available throughout the ship
Premium restaurant quality food is available throughout the ship

As well as doing away with the traditional buffet, there is also no traditional 'main dining room'. Virgin Voyages has six larger restaurants onboard that each offer their own style of cuisine. These include;

  • Pink Agave - Mexican
  • Razzle Dazzle - Vegan Friendly
  • The Wake - Steakhouse
  • Extra Virgin - Italian
  • Gunbae - Korean BBQ
  • The Test Kitchen - creative and imaginative cuisine

All of these restaurants have premium quality food that would compare to that of a premium-paid restaurant on other cruise lines.

There are no assigned dining times like a traditional cruise, so you plan out your day and make a dinner reservation for a time that suits you. These can all be reserved through the Virgin Voyages app, available in the Apple app store, or Google Play store.

All Restaurants Included

Are you tired of the on-sell of specialty dining? well there is no specialty dining on Virgin Voyages - all the onboard dining options are included in your cruise fare.


Grab and go options
Grab and go options

Just want to grab a bite without needing to wait? At selected dining venues across the ship, there are grab-and-go fridges of pre-prepared meals, that you can just grab and take with you anywhere in the ship. These include wraps, salads, and even charcuterie boards.


Virgin Voyages is an adults-only cruise line - so no kid's clubs, and no teenagers running up and down the passageways. The adults-only audience also means that comedians and entertainment can be a little more risqué - but there is still something for everyone.

Bar Tabs Instead of Drinks Packages

Virgin Voyages does not offer all-inclusive drinks packages - they do however offer the pre-purchase of bar tabs.

How are bar tabs different from beverage packages?

Bar tabs allow you to pre-pay for your drinks - a great way to soften the bill shock at the end of your cruise. You can only buy a bar tab before your cruise - and Virgin throws in a little extra bonus dependent on how much you add to your tab.

Once on board, you can use your bar tab to buy drinks for yourself, and anyone else you like.

Themed Nights

The entire Resilient Lady is decked out for Scarlet Night
The entire Resilient Lady is decked out for Scarlet Night

The dress code on Virgin Voyages is very relaxed and casual. The basic rule is no swimwear in the restaurants.

While there are no formal nights on cruises, there are some themed occasions that everyone is encouraged to dress for (an email before your cruise lets you know what themes to pack for).

These will include the Scarlet Night - which is the main party on the ship. Everyone is encouraged to wear something red, and the entire ship goes off!

No Tipping

Unlike most other American based cruise lines, there is no expectation of tipping/gratuities on Virgin Voyages. All prices have tips built in to them - and of course, if you find a crew member has gone above and beyond you are still welcome to give them a tip.

Virgin even makes sure post cruise in their satisfaction survey that no crew members have asked you for a tip.

WIFI is Included

Wifi is included in your fare
Wifi is included in your fare

No need to splash out on an internet package - Virgin Voyages includes wifi for all passengers in their cruise fare.

The App

Virgin Voyages is not unique in any way by having an app to allow you to book and plan activities onboard.

However the Virgin Voyages app goes to the next level, and becomes your go to for onboard information and updates.

For example, when you arrive at a port and the gangway opens - no need to be listening out for the announcement over the PA, especially if you are in your cabin. A notification will appear on the app to tell you the gangway is now open, and which deck it is on.

Made new friends on board and want to have dinner together. Easy - you can add other 'sailors' as friends on the app, and book things for the whole group.

Your Thoughts?

Have you tried Virgin Voyages? How did you find the experience, and what did you like and dislike about the Virgin way of cruising. Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.


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