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Inside Look: Open Ship Nights Kick Off With Virgin Voyages In Sydney

On 5 December 2023 Virgin Voyages hosted an Open Ship Night in Sydney Harbour on 5th December to celebrate the launch in Australia waters.


hundreds of people dressed in red dancing around a pool
For most guests, this was their first Scarlet Night, leading to a raucous celebration under the glow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. © Photo by VV Insider

Invited Guests attended Open Ship Night

Virgin Voyages, the award winning cruise line, made a grand entrance into Australia with an exclusive Open Ship Night aboard the Resilient Lady. The exclusive Open Ship Night event, the first of two such events, happened on the evening of 5 December 2023 in Sydney, Australia.

This unforgettable event, attended by invited media, First Mates (travel agents), and a crowd of around 1000 enthusiastic paying guests, marked the beginning of Virgin Voyages’ venture into the Australian waters.

The VV Insider team were among a slew of invited guests and media who were present for a special message delivered by CEO Nirmal Saverimuttu and Sir Richard Branson.

The second Open Ship Night is due to take place in Melbourne on 10 December 2023 at Station Pier, Port Melbourne. Tickets are now sold out for this highly anticipated event.

Schedule of Events

Media Exclusive Tour (3:00 pm)

The festivities commenced at 3:00 pm with an exclusive ship tour for the media, offering a sneak peek into the Resilient Lady. The highlight of this segment was a speech by the visionary himself, Sir Richard Branson.

Sir Richard Branson delivering a speech alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sir Richard Branson delivered a speech to the invited guests and media in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge© Photo by VV Insider

Paying Guests (5:00 pm)

At 5:00 pm, the ship opened its doors to paying guests, who each paid AUD$99 for an evening filled with excitement and entertainment, as well as an exclusive first look at the ship. Resilient Lady launched in May this year from Athens, Greece.

Performances and Culmination

  • 6:00pm: The special performance of Persephone set the stage for the evening.
  • 8:00pm: The legendary Scarlet Night unfolded against the breathtaking backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
  • 9:45pm: The night reached its pinnacle with the Scarlet Night Pool Party, a celebration like no other.
  • 12:00am: The festivities came to a close, leaving lasting memories for all attendees.

Live music was also playing at On the Rocks bar throughout the night.

A lead performer with flowers on stage
The main lead ‘Persephone’ interacts with the crowd© Photo by VV Insider

Returning Happenings Cast

The Resilient Lady played host to some familiar faces, including the beloved Happenings Cast – Abi the Hostess, Jake the Foodie, Titty Kaka the Diva, and Patrick the Balancer. Their presence added a touch of familiarity to the launch, delighting both new and returning fans.

Three cast members in glittering costumes smiling
Abi the Hostess, Titty Kaka the Diva & Jake the Foodie from the Happenings Cast© Photo by VV Insider

Messages from the Leaders

Sir Richard Branson and CEO Nirmal Saverimuttu took center stage, addressing the invited guests. Their speeches not only emphasized the significance of bringing the Resilient Lady to Australia but also celebrated the ship’s distinction as having the most diverse crew at sea.

CEO Nirmal Saverimuttu & Sir Richard Branson delivered the speech
CEO Nirmal Saverimuttu & Sir Richard Branson delivered the speech© Photo by VV Insider

Exclusive Cabin Showcase

As part of the launch, guests had the exclusive opportunity to explore all categories of cabins, including the luxurious Massive Suite. For many, it was their first glimpse of the Resilient Lady, adding an extra layer of excitement to the evening.

© The Massive Suite Photo by Virgin Voyages®

Scarlet Night Extravaganza

The Scarlet Night, held against the iconic Sydney Harbour, created a visual spectacle. Guests, adorned in splashes of red, reveled in the joyous atmosphere, making the night truly special.

The pool party began with a thank you speech from CEO Nirmal Saverimuttu and the Diva for the night Titty Kaka.

Titty Kaka, the Diva & CEO Nirmal Saverimuttu
Titty Kaka, the Diva & CEO Nirmal Saverimuttu© Photo by VV Insider

Among the more adventurous guests a few accepted the Happenings Cast invitation to join them dancing in the pool. Some brave invitees made an extra splash by jumping in the pool.

Scarlet Night concluded with a short thanks you message delivered by The Happenings Cast. The party continued with live music in On The Rocks, concluding the night’s festivities.

dancers dressed in read dancing around a pool
Happenings Cast at the Scarlet Night Pool Party© Photo by VV Insider

The Journey Ahead

The Resilient Lady is set to embark on a special 2-night voyage to Melbourne on December 7th for the second Open Ship Night, with tickets already sold out. Following this, the ship will navigate through various itineraries in Australia and New Zealand until March 2024.

In conclusion, the Open Ship Night aboard the Resilient Lady was not just a launch event; it was a celebration of diversity, entertainment, and the beginning of an exciting journey for Virgin Voyages in the Australian waters.

Virgin Voyages ship, Resilient Lady in Sydney Harbour
Virgin Voyages ship, Resilient Lady in Sydney Harbour© Photo by Wayne Mcanalley

About the author

Co-Founder and Director. David has a background in web design and development and writes travel content, vacation guides and tips about Virgin Voyages.


  1. Saviour Baldacchino says:

    BEST NIGHT OUT I took my family on the ship Tuesday night i have booked Athens to Melbourne next year THANK YOU VIRGIN

  2. Marcella Hennessy says:

    In a world where we should be able to be who we are …. this is truly the case …. if anyone has blinkers then do themselves a favour and stay at home… I loved that the staff could be who they are and so could the sailors…
    my one critic would be to the kitchens re think your availability for gluten feee & dairy free options I stuggled and breakfast time…. the most ….. simple things in life gluteen free cereal and plant based yoghurt…. but on the whole we enjoyed

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