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Virgin Voyages Announces First Alaska Cruises, Sailing Summer 2026

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Despite having sailed on them myself, I’m the first to admit that I don’t love the mega cruise ships: too often – especially in an amazing destination like Alaska – the focus is on the ship, its amenities, and keeping your spending on board, instead of the amazing scenery, awesome excursions, and bucket list-worthy wildlife-viewing opportunities.

At least with Virgin Voyages, there’s good reason to be obsessed with what’s happening on-board: the adults-only cruise line has set a new standard for on-board experiential cruising, and they’ve just announced a series of incredible itineraries in new destinations for their forthcoming ship the Brilliant Lady, set to start sailing in September 2025.

Virgin Voyages in Alaska News Hero

Brilliant Lady‘s maiden season commences with a spectacular cross-country voyage, followed by a series of captivating itineraries featuring enticing destinations such as New York, Los Angeles, and Alaska. Here are the itineraries announced so far for the new ship:

  • Autumn 2025 – New England & Maritime Canada – Brilliant Lady will start itineraries in New York City, traveling throughout the region to destinations including Maine, Charleston, Boston, Halifax, and New Brunswick, as well as Quebec City. She’ll also do some Caribbean runs to Bermuda during this time.
  • Winter 2025/2026 – Caribbean – Next, she’ll move down the coast to base herself from Miami, sailing the entire Caribbean including southern ports like Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, and Cartagena and other ports including Turks & Caicos, Antigua, and Grand Cayman (which are also served by other Virgin ships) and the introduction of Ocho Rios (Jamaica).
  • Early Spring 2026 – Panama Canal – Having sailed through the Panama Canal myself, I know how cool this is: in March 2026, the Brilliant Lady will transit the Panama Canal from Miami to Los Angeles. Stops along the way include Costa Rica, Antigua, Guatemala, and Los Cabos (Mexico).
  • Spring 2026 – Mexican Riviera – Next, the ship will spend the spring exploring the Mexican Riviera and Southern California Coast. Itineraries include stops along the Baja Peninsula, in Puerto Vallarta, and Santa Barbara, Catalina Island, and San Diego.
  • Summer 2026 – Alaska (!!!) – At long last, the Brilliant Lady will use Seattle as her cruise terminal for Alaska, doing round-trip sailings of the Inside Passage. Ports haven’t been confirmed, but you can expect the classics: Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway will likely all feature prominently on itineraries.

Beyond the allure of destinations, the onboard experience sets new standards of excellence. Named the best mega-ship cruise line by brand-name travel publications like Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, Virgin Voyages ensures the highest level of comfort in between those port stops and destinations. From Michelin-star chefs and award-winning entertainment to a mermaid-inspired spa and Virgin’s iconic red-hued balcony hammocks, the Brilliant Lady will bring something unique to Alaskan waters.

If you’re ready to board (but willing to wait two years!), Virgin Voyages will offer The Alaska Front(ier) of the Line Pass. This guarantees priority booking for limited itineraries starting May 8, 2024. You can secure your spot with an early deposit, starting at $500 for Sea Terraces, $1,000 for RockStar Quarters, and $2,500 for Mega RockStar Quarters. Trust me, I’m tempted too…

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I was born on the East Coast and currently live in the Midwest – but my heart will always be out West. I lived for 15 years in Alaska, as well as four years each in California and Washington. I share travel resources and stories based on my personal experience and knowledge.

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