The Virgin Group founder met the ship in a classic wooden speedboat as it sailed through the Heads. Branson then scaled the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a Virgin Voyages takeover of the Sydney landmark.
Helicopters and drones circled the skies above as Resilient Lady to Circular Quay as she pulled into the Overseas Passenger Terminal for the first time.
Speaking about this historic occasion, Sir Richard Branson said: “Sydney is one of my favourite cities in the world, and we wanted to ensure our arrival was as spectacular as the Sydney Harbour itself.
“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.”
Virgin Voyages CEO, Nirmal Saverimuttu said: “Australians love to go on holiday, and they’ve shown how much they love cruising. We’re excited to make our mark here in Australia with the newest ship in our fleet.
“We celebrate being different, and it’s why we decided to push the envelope and do things in a fresh and exciting way. Richard challenged us to create a cruise line he’d want to take his mates on, and we’ve succeeded.”
Resilient Lady will spend two nights in Sydney before heading south to Melbourne, her new homeport for the summer cruising season. On 11 December, the ship sets sail on her Aussie MerMaiden voyage to Tasmania, stopping over in Burnie and Hobart.
The ship will spend the summer season Down Under offering cruises from Melbourne to Hobart, Burnie, Auckland, Wellington, Napier and Picton.