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A cruise ship deck with a pool, sun beds and deck chairs around
Photograph: Supplied/Virgin Voyages

Ship wrecked: Virgin Voyages adult-only cruises have cancelled all Australian trips

Due to attacks in the Red Sea

Liv Condous
Alice Ellis
Written by
Liv Condous
Alice Ellis

When cruisers and non-cruisers alike heard that Virgin Voyages were heading Down Under, their interest piqued – at last, an adults-only cruise that looked fresh and exciting. We checked out the Resilient Lady ship and can confirm, it lived up to the hype. But now, it seems like we may not have the chance to fulfil our idyllic cruise dreams, with the company suddenly axing all of its cruises that were set to depart from Sydney and Melbourne. 

The cruise line has announced it will be cancelling almost all of its upcoming voyages for the 2024 to 2025 season. A statement from the company cited safety concerns regarding "potential escalations in the Red Sea over the next 12 months".

Attacks by Yemen's Houthi militants on ships in the Red Sea are disrupting maritime trade through the Suez Canal, a vital route up past Africa and the Middle East into the Mediterranean. The militants say they will continue to control the area until attacks on Gaza stop. The blockage of this route makes it impossible to cut through that passage to Europe – the Virgin Voyages ships would need to take a long re-route around the whole west coast of Africa in order to get back to Europe.

A cruise ship on water
Photograph: Supplied | Virgin Voyages

The cruise company had a short-lived run in Australia, after the maiden voyage from our shores kicked off in December 2023. The brand-new cruises mainly departed from Melbourne, with some also leaving from Sydney. 

"This significant and ongoing conflict puts unacceptable risks for safe passage through the region for our Sailors, crew and vessel (Resilient Lady)," the statement from Virgin Voyages read. "As a result, we have been left with no choice but to cancel our 2024-25 voyage season plans for Resilient Lady, impacting the late 2024 and early 2025 repositioning voyages between Europe and Australia and a second sailing season in Australian waters."

A pool on a ship
Photograph: Alice Ellis for Time Out | Virgin Voyages - Resilient Lady


Of course, they will be refunding those who've already purchased cruises. And in case you're devastated to miss out on the opportunity to experience this luxe cruise, don't despair. Virgin Voyages has also said that they definitely plan to return to Australia as soon as possible. So watch this space. 

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