The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Virgin Voyages ship
Anyone looking for the best Virgin Voyages cruise itinerary should start with the Bahamas and Caribbean cruises.
The two-ship line since its debut in 2021 has focused most of its energies on creating relatively short, fun, and adult-centric voyages from Miami to the two regions, with its ships spending the majority of their time on such spend routes.
For a line with so few ships, that makes sense given that the Bahamas and Caribbean account for most of the cruise demand.
As Virgin Voyages grows – with a third and fourth ship arriving in May and December respectively – the company plans to significantly expand its offering with more routes in other parts of the world.
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In addition to a year-round presence in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, Virgin Voyages offers regular Mediterranean cruises with a single vessel during the summer months. With the arrival of a third and fourth ship this year, the shipping company will expand its offering in the Mediterranean and also begin its first voyages to Australia and New Zealand.
While the latter trips don’t start until late 2023, they’re already open for bookings.
What are the best Virgin Voyages destinations to visit and which itineraries to choose from? Here are TPG’s top five tips.
Short crossings to the Bahamas and the Caribbean
Virgin Voyages began offering short cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean from Miami, and that’s still the biggest focus of the line’s cruise destinations. In fact, one of Virgin Voyages’ two currently operating ships, the 2,770-passenger Scarlet Lady, makes short trips to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Miami.
In all cases, these crossings include a stopover in the Bahamas. Some then add a stop in the Caribbean, while others add a stop in Florida.
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Specifically, Scarlet Lady offers four different four- and five-night Bahamas itineraries from Miami year-round. All include a stop at Bimini, Bahamas, where the line has a private beach club, as well as a single call at either Mexico, the Dominican Republic, or Key West, Florida. The four itineraries are:
- Route of Fire and Sunset Soirees. A four night cruise to Bimini and Key West, plus a day at sea.
- Route of the Riviera Maya. A five-night cruise to Bimini and Cozumel, Mexico, plus two days at sea.
- Dominican Haze Itinerary. A five night cruise to Bimini and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic plus two days at sea.
- Maya Sol Itinerary. A five night cruise to Bimini and Costa Maya, Mexico plus two days at sea.
In keeping with its adult-only “time to let go” vibe, Virgin Voyages has incorporated relatively late layovers into several of the port calls on these itineraries to allow passengers to maximize their entertaining time ashore. The typical stay at Bimini — where the cruise line hosts late-night DJ-led pool parties at its private beach club — lasts until 8 p.m., which is later than most ships arrive in Bahamas ports. Visits to Cozumel, Mexico also go until 8pm
Scarlet Lady has operated these voyages since debuting as Virgin’s first ship in 2021 and will rotate on itineraries through May 2024. At this point, Scarlet Lady’s nearly identical sister ship, the 2,770-passenger Valiant Lady, will take over those Bahamas and Caribbean routes.
Longer trips to the Bahamas and the Caribbean
Initially, Virgin Voyages only offered shorter cruises of five nights or less to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. But the list of itineraries in the regions is now peppered with longer trips of six to eight nights.
These are cruises that head to more distant Caribbean destinations such as St. Croix and Roatan, Honduras, and will appeal to cruisers who find trips of just four or five days too short.
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Currently operated by the line’s second ship, Valiant Lady, they are itineraries that are only offered seasonally during the winter months for the time being.
For 2023, Virgin is offering two long itineraries, both from Miami.
- Itinerary Eastern Caribbean Antilles. An eight-night cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico; St Croix; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and Bimini, plus two sea days.
- Itinerary Western Caribbean Charm. A six-night cruise to Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Bimini plus two sea days.
For 2024, Virgin Voyages is adding two more long-haul Caribbean itineraries, both departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- Sunsets on the Lesser Antilles route. A seven-night cruise to Aruba, Curaçao, Martinique and St. Kitts plus two days at sea.
- Southeastern Caribbean Islands Itinerary. A seven night cruise to Tortola, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St Lucia and Barbados plus a day at sea.
The two new routes will be operated by Virgin Voyages’ fourth ship, the 2,770-passenger Brilliant Lady, following her debut in late December. These cruises can already be booked.
Virgin is also planning two seven-night cruises from Miami with Valiant Lady around winter break for next year. Beginning December 16 and December 23 respectively, they will include calls in Puerto Plata, San Juan and Bimini.
Another top destination for Virgin Voyages is the Mediterranean, as the cruise line massively expands the number of European sailings it offers this year thanks to the arrival of its third ship, the Resilient Lady.
Scheduled to debut in May, the Resilient Lady will join the Valiant Lady for the May-October period in the Mediterranean, potentially doubling the number of sailings compared to 2022. A second ship will also allow Virgin Voyages to operate seven overnight sailings each week during these months from both Barcelona and Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens) – a first for the line.
Valiant Lady will be based in Barcelona and will offer two Western Mediterranean itineraries, primarily focusing on stops in Spain and France. In particular, one will spend most of its time on the Spanish islands of Mallorca and Ibiza, along with stops in Marseille and Cannes in France, while the other offers stops in Ibiza; the French island of Corsica; Toulon, France; and the port for Carrara, Italy.
Resilient Lady will be based in Piraeus and alternate between Eastern Mediterranean routes, focusing on the Greek islands and Croatian coast respectively.
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Named Greek Island Glow, the Greek Islands itinerary includes stops in Santorini, Rhodes and Mykonos, and a visit to Bodrum in Turkey.
Like Virgin’s Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries, Mediterranean itineraries are specifically designed for fun-filled travelers looking for a night-time experience.
In the case of Greek Islands cruises, Resilient Lady’s visit to Santorini is a daytime call that lasts until 10:00 p.m. The Mykonos stop on the same cruise is a night call where the ship stays in port until 14:00 the day after it arrives.
Named “Adriatic Sea and Greek Jewels”, the Croatian coast-focused itinerary also includes several nighttime stops. The ship will stay in Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia until 9pm and 10pm respectively. A call to Corfu, Greece lasts until 9pm
Australia and New Zealand
Next year brings Virgin Voyages’ first sailings to Australia and New Zealand on the line’s new Resilient Lady. After spending her first summer cruises in the Mediterranean, the ship will be relocated to Australia in December for a series of 11 voyages of between five and 14 nights.
These include return trips from Melbourne, Australia and one-way trips between Melbourne and Auckland, New Zealand, with a variety of calls. Itineraries include:
- Australian Mermaid. A five night cruise from Melbourne calling at Hobart and Burnie in Tasmania plus a day at sea.
- Resilient Pacific Ahoy to the New Year. A 14-night cruise from Melbourne to Auckland, calling at Hobart and Burnie in Tasmania; Sydney; and Tauranga, Napier and Picton in New Zealand and five days at sea.
- Tasman Sea, Fjords and Maori Coast. An 11-night cruise from Auckland to Melbourne, calling at Tauranga, Dunedin and Christ Church in New Zealand, and Hobart and Burnie in Tasmania, and four days at sea.
The Australia and New Zealand cruises are booked through two 15-night one-way voyages between Singapore and Australia. Scheduled for November 2023 and March 2024, the two sailings will offer overnight stays in Bali, as well as stops at Airlie Beach, Cairns and Darwin in Australia.
The expansion of Virgin Voyages cruises in the Bahamas and the Caribbean this year means the line is sending more ships back and forth between Europe and North America than in the past. This creates an expanded range of so-called “repositioning” cruises across the Atlantic, which offer many days at sea.
Transatlantic sailings in the line’s 2023 and 2024 schedule include:
- A 15-night voyage from Miami to Barcelona departing April 22, comprising 10 days at sea plus stops at Bimini; Cadiz, Spain; and Palma de Mallorca.
- A 14-night Barcelona to Miami voyage, departing October 29, encompassing nine days at sea and stops in Ibiza and Malaga, Spain; and the Portuguese island of Madeira.
- An 11 night voyage from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Lisbon, Portugal, departing 20 April 2024, comprising six days at sea and calls in the Canary Islands and Madeira.
- A 14-night voyage from Miami to Barcelona departing April 21, 2024, comprising 10 days at sea plus stops in Madeira; Malaga and Palma de Mallorca.
Additionally, Virgin Voyages will operate its first repositioning cruises from Europe to Australia in late 2023 as Resilient Lady relocates to Australia for her first season in the region. The cruises include a 14-night voyage from Piraeus, Greece to Dubai and a 15-night voyage from Singapore to Sydney.
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Virgin Voyages is still a relatively small company with only two ships, which means they can’t offer a huge range of itineraries. But as more ships join the fleet in the coming year, the range of destinations will grow. The brand has the widest range of options in the Bahamas and Caribbean, where it got its start, and is rapidly expanding in Europe. Australia and New Zealand departures will be next when the line begins operating in the region in late 2023.
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