Virgin Voyages, meet the BVI
It felt so special to wave Valiant Lady into the British Virgin Islands during Virgin Voyages maiden sail to the BVI.
I jumped on-board the ship with Premier Natalio Wheatley, to say hello to the crew and meet captain Justin Lawes. We also held a traditional plaque and key exchange ceremony, which felt particularly special after calling the BVI home for so long.
One of the most memorable parts of the journey was seeing the ship glide past Necker. It was a dark evening, but the ship lit up the sky with the most fantastic fireworks display. I’d brought everybody on the island down to the waters edge, where we all stood jumping and waving in awe while 2,500 sailors clapped and cheered in return.
Just a month earlier, I was standing on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge welcoming Resilient Lady into Australia’s shores for the very first time. It was moving to realise just how far we’ve come in the past few years, with three ships sailing to more than 100 destinations all around the world.
The sailors we waved into the BVI were on a seven-night voyage from Puerto Rico to Guadeloupe, Barbados, St. Lucia and Martinique. What a line-up! The other new Caribbean itinerary will take sailors from Puerto Rico to Aruba, Curaçao, Martinique, and St. Kitts & Nevis.
We created Virgin Voyages to shake up a stagnant cruise industry and do things differently. We wanted to attract people who love travelling but were sceptical about cruising, so we designed a superyacht style ship with no buffets, no kids (sorry grandkids!), Michelin dining experiences, and a big focus on health, wellness and fun. It was a risk, as it is so far from the typical cruising experience, but it has all been worth it to hear our sailors feedback and to see Virgin Voyages scooping up award after award. In 2023, the team won Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Award and became the first brand to ever sweep the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards – all testament to the team’s passion and hard work. Virgin Voyages is also proof that you should only ever launch a business that is the best product it can possibly be. Everything else will follow.
As Resilient Lady sailed past Necker and into the night, I couldn’t help but feel immensely proud of the team for creating the best cruise line we could have ever imagined.