Vibrant Valiant Lady

Suzanna Pinder on 15 May 2022
The new kid on the block in the world of cruising, this year Virgin Voyages have been changing the traditional view of cruising and won ‘Best New Cruise Ship’ for Scarlet Lady’s ''standout new concepts and designs to give guests witty and smart features and options''. I was therefore very excited to be invited aboard her sister ship ‘Valiant Lady’ for her MerMaiden Mediterranean voyage in May – that’s her maiden Med cruise from her new home port of Barcelona to you and me!

Flying to Barcelona, we had a quick transfer to the port before being swiftly boarded by the friendly crew, made so simple with our pre-programmed ‘sea bands’ (snazzy bracelet performing as room key and onboard payment method) and also having uploaded all our travel docs, vaccination passes, PCR test and personal requirements to the Virgin Voyages app. We were soon reunited with our luggage in our cabin and ready to explore.

Valliant Lady is a beautiful ship. Modelled on a superyacht, she is sleek (for a cruise ship!), luxurious, stylish and full of fun! Sharing with my friend, we had a Sea Terrace Cabin with lovely balcony and the most comfy Yellow Leaf hammock upon which to relax. We opted for the double bed to be converted into two singles in an L-shape, also maximising the cabin space for daytime movement. The cabin had everything required; hairdryer, fridge, safe, regularly replaced drinking water, TV packed with free movies and box sets, bathing and beach towels, a bathroom stocked with all the essentials and two faultless attendants who regularly restocked and refreshed our cabin. In fact all the crew on Valiant Lady were amazing – super friendly, relaxed and attentive. Nothing was ever too much trouble to sort or source. Whilst onboard we were also able to view some of the Rockstar Quarters and exclusive Richards Rooftop, the private sundeck (for Rockstar guests) with panoramic ocean views and lavish cocktail and bubbly hours!

The food aboard Valliant Lady was exceptional. With more than 20 eateries, we managed to try almost everything (yes, I did not need to eat for a couple of weeks after I got back!). My favourite restaurants were the Korean BBQ Gumbae, the Mexican Pink Agave, the Italian Extra Virgin, the delicious mezze at The Dock and the showy Test Kitchen with tasting menu and wine pairing – in fact we even went to the Test Kitchen twice to try both their meat and seafood menus. No matter the time of day, from apples to pizza or salads to sushi, there was always something delicious available to satisfy any hunger pangs! The breakfasts were amazing too, I particularly enjoyed the melon and cucumber sriracha salad and egg and chorizo burritos.

The entertainment was exciting and certainly different to other cruise ships I have been on. Dual Reality was one of my favourite shows, a fast paced modern day Romeo and Juliet, with two gangs fighting to win through dance and death-defying acrobatics. The Diva provided us with fun and frolics ‘around the world’ with interactive games, songs, dancing and a stunning aerial silks display right above our heads! We spent a fun couple of hours perfecting cocktail making, photography and drinking(!) with the onboard mixologists and to help clear our heads, a highly amusing ‘80’s dance workout – I have not laughed so much in a long time! Music is a large part of Virgin’s ethos, with an onboard vinyl shop and many fabulous musicians and DJ’s. A favourite time of the day was meeting friends at The Dock on the aft deck for sundowner cocktails whilst leaving port, listening to the wonderful solo guitarist Journeyman or DJ Ella and her chilled vibes. After dinner we would often enjoy a nightcap at the lounge bar, On The Rocks, listening to the Slam Allen Blues Band before heading for some well earned rest or to dance the night away at The Manor, the onboard nightclub. Pools parties, stargazing, eco-shopping tours, dinner entertainment, 90’s boy band workouts, karaoke… there was so much to do onboard but cleverly hidden away, so if you simply wanted to sit and chill, lots of space and peace for that too.

In addition to the two onboard pools with plenty of sun loungers, there were also a variety of sunbeds and comfy seating dotted around the decks, perfect for hanging out with friends or finding a quiet corner to read a book. We spent a wonderful 3 hours in the spa, working our way through the series of rooms offering steam, mud, sauna, salt and hot and cold pools – afterwards feeling so relaxed and with skin as soft as a peach! On the odd occasion we felt a little too overindulged(!), we hit the gym, with state of the art cardio and weights equipment, various classes and even an outdoor running track.

Our route took us from Barcelona – Toulon (France) - Marina di Carrera (Italy) – Ajaccio (Corsica) – Cagliari (Sardinia) – Ibiza – Barcelona. Not only do Virgin Voyages offer unique itineraries, but also excursions with a difference, using small local operators for an immersive experience. In an ideal world we would have spent at least a week in each destination to do all the shore trips that appealed to us! We visited St Tropez, Florence and Pisa, we hung out on the beach in Corsica, kayaked in Sardinia and explored caves and snorkelled in Ibiza.

Virgin Voyages have definitely thrown all the cruising norms overboard. Having taken a friend along who had never cruised before, she said it was her ‘’most favourite holiday ever’’ (shhh, don’t tell her family!) and she will definitely now consider cruise as a future holiday option. Currently cruising the Med and Caribbean with Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady, Virgin Voyages have two new ships on the horizon, Resilient Lady and Brilliant Lady. They will be expanding their cruising grounds to include Australia and New Zealand, plus some fabulous opportunities for one off itineraries such as Transatlantic, Athens to Dubai, Dubai to Singapore and Singapore to Sydney.

There is so much more I could tell you about my time onboard Valiant Lady and any questions, please ask away! Alternatively, why not see for yourself? As one of Virgin Voyages top tier ‘Gold’ agents, I have access to some amazing deals not available direct and based on my awesome adventure, promise you will not be disappointed!