As Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady sailed into Sydney Harbor for the first time on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, guests were greeted by a very special visitor as Sir Richard Branson met the ship in a classic wooden speedboat for an elite escort into the harbor.

Resilient Lady‘s arrival is the first time Virgin Voyages has sailed Australian waters, offering distinctive adults-only getaways while visiting unique destinations in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.

Virgin Voyages’ newest “ladyship” – Resilient Lady – has arrived in Australia, cruising into Sydney Harbor at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5 for the first time. Upon arrival, a gorgeous wooden speedboat headed out to meet the 110,000-gross-ton vessel, sleekly escorting her toward Circular Quay.

None other than Sir Richard Branson was at the helm of the speedboat, smiling and waving a thumbs-up at guests lining the decks of the cruise ship.

“What a beauty! Just so lovely,” he said as the ship arrived. “It’s just incredible to think it’s come all the way from Europe to here. A lot of people are very excited to see it, and me, maybe number one that’s excited!”

After the speedboat greeting, Branson went to the summit of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge to oversee the ship’s arrival and docking, and to wave to guests as they passed beneath the iconic bridge.

“Sydney is one of my favorite cities in the world, and we wanted to ensure our arrival was as spectacular as the Sydney Harbour itself,” he said. “To stand at the summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and watch Resilient Lady come into Circular Quay was one of the most exciting moments since we founded the Virgin brand.”

Richard Branson Welcomes Resilient Lady (Photo Courtesy: Virgin Voyages)

The founder of the Virgin Group has been celebrating this milestone for Virgin Voyages in a big way. In mid-November, Branson gave a full plane of Virgin Airline travelers each a free Virgin Voyages cruise, as the flight was flying nearly the same route that Resilient Lady will take between Melbourne and Hobart on her official “mermaiden” voyage, now just days away from her December 11 departure.

The cabin crew, baggage handlers, and pilots associated with that special flight also received free cruises, and in total, more than $1 million of prizes were given away.

Resilient Lady has actually been in Australia since November 27, when the ship visited Darwin as part of her repositioning itinerary from Singapore. The ship has also already visited Yorkeys Knob and Airlie Beach on her way to Sydney.

It is the arrival in Sydney at the conclusion of that voyage, however, that truly sets the ship in Australian waters for the season. Resilient Lady will remain anchored in Sydney for two nights, then will make her way to Melbourne to begin her Down Under tenure.

Resilient Lady will offer a diverse season of Australian cruises, ranging from short 2-, 3-, and 4-night getaways to much longer 12- and 14-night voyages. Melbourne and Sydney will both serve as embarkation ports for different sailings, and select voyages will also embark from Auckland, New Zealand.

Resilient Lady Arrives in Sydney (Photo Courtesy: Virgin Voyages)

Depending on the sailing date and cruise length, Resilient Lady will be visiting a variety of amazing destinations, including Burnie, Hobart, Picton, Napier, Tauranga, Wellington, Dunedin, and Christchurch.

The ship will finish her inaugural Australian season in mid-March and will depart Sydney for the last time on March 27, 2024 for a 15-night one-way trip to Singapore, visiting several final Australian ports along the way. She will spend the northern summer offering Greek Isles cruises, and in late summer and early fall 2024 will homeport from Portsmouth, UK for several weeks.

The newest of the Virgin Voyages’ fleet, Resilient Lady debuted in Greece in May 2023. The ship can welcome 2,700 guests aboard at each sailing, offering a unique, elevated, adults-only vibe with 13 passenger decks to enjoy. Guests can indulge in the onboard tattoo parlor, more than 20 bars and restaurants, cozy hammocks on every balcony, five elite production shows, and much more.

Also onboard are over 1,100 international crew members to ensure that everyone has an amazing cruise vacation, no matter where the ship is sailing.

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