Our first experience of Virgin Voyages was onboard their second ladyship, Valiant Lady for week 2 of her Mermaiden voyages from Barcelona in May 2022.

Our itinerary was the French Daze and Ibiza Nights. Other than Ibiza, this was the first time Valiant Lady would be docking at Marseille, Cannes & Olbia. We were excited to finally be experiencing an adults only voyage with dine around gastronomy on a ship with the latest technology.


Prior To Departure

As we had booked a Sweet Aft RockStar Suite we had been able to book our “shore thing” excursions at 120 days and up to six à la carte restaurant reservations from 60 days prior to departure via the Sailor App.

We also added a bar tab onto our voyage, we paid $350 and received a $50 top up bonus.


Embarkation In Barcelona

Armed with our Covid vaccination documents and negative Covid test result, we arrived at the Valiant Lady for our embarkation time of 14:00. She docks at the World Trade Centre in Barcelona, which is a much more convenient location that the usual cruise port. The process was to drop off your luggage, then join the boarding queue for your allotted time. For us RockStars there was a separate desk, set back on the left and no-one ahead of us, so we went straight through to the boarding desks inside. Here, we were issued with our sailor wrist bands and any outstanding paperwork checked before proceeding to the ship.

Various high energy crew members greeted us before we were directed to The Manor to meet our RockStar Concierge and enjoy our first glass of Moët. As we had already mastered the Sailor App and had our dining and excursions organised, it wasn’t long before we were striding towards the aft to find our suite. One of our cases was already outside our cabin door, and the other arrived shortly afterwards.


Our Suite

Wow! Cabin 10009A was amazing, there’s only 7 of the Sweet Aft Suites on Virgin’s ladyships. One on each deck from decks 8-14. The lower ones are with a “Pretty Big Terrace” ours was an “Even Bigger Terrace” and above us were the “Biggest Terrace” ones. We loved this position on the ship, it was extremely private and sheltered when at sea and offered a fantastic view when in port.

As you enter the suite we immediately faced the wardrobe, turning to the left we found a huge bed and the cabin opened up where we could appreciate the size of our terrace. On the backside of the wardrobe was a small desk / dressing table with stool. In the back corner was our fully stocked bar! We had been expecting a welcome drink but definitely not a bottle of gin, vodka, bourbon & bacardi. In the fridge was a bottle of Moët, white & rosé wine, plus a few beers and red bulls. With ice and soft drinks on tap in The Galley we were set to enjoy some cocktails on our terrace.

Our bathroom was the depth of the suite, there was lots of storage space, bathrobes, toiletries and a shower with a view – we had a porthole! Stepping outside we found an enormous terrace with Virgin Voyages trademark red hammock, two sun beds, two chairs and a table. A massive TV delivered the safety briefing, and a tablet gave us a choice of mood room lighting and television programme options. We even had a record player with the Sex Pistols album Never Mind The Bollocks. There was room to store both large cases under the bed, and the other side had two large sliding drawers.

The smart door system opens with the wrist bands. Inside you can set a door status for the cabin crew of blue to enter or red for do not disturb. The cabin was serviced twice a day, in the morning to make up the bed and in the evening for turndown. Each time our sparkling and still water jugs were refilled and towels freshened.


Dining

The dining options are definitely what sets Virgin Voyages apart from other cruise lines. There is no buffet dining and we loved it! Advance bookings via the Sailor App is limited to 6 reservations before you board, and 3 dinner reservations for any one particular eatery. Other reservations can be made on request or via walk ins.

The Galley is their quick dining option, there are lots of different food stations offering a wide choice of dishes. Even here in the food hall type of environment you have waited tables, simply take a seat and your server will be with you soon. Browse the menu, place your order and it’s brought to you. There are help yourself soft drinks and water dispensers with ice machines. At breakfast fresh orange juice and tea / coffee was also offered. Check out the French toast burger for breakfast!

The Wake is the ultimate dining experience, we had two evening meals and two breakfasts in this luxurious restaurant at the aft of the ship. Brunch favourites included the soft shell crab eggs benedict, and the Petit Plateu with a $40 supplement from the Raw Bar was superb.

Razzle Dazzle is a vegetarian restaurant with some secret meat dishes! The mushroom tartare was on our list of dishes to try as well as the butter chicken, rainbow churros and malted waffles.

Gumbae is a fun experience, the only restaurant where you are seated with other Sailors. The crispy chicken is a must. Interestingly the crew have taken over the cooking so that you experience the food as it’s meant to be served! If you have Rupert serving your table, ask if his drinking game status has been beaten!

The Test Kitchen is another must do for foodies. They have two tasting menus during one voyage so you can dine twice and enjoy different courses. Menu A is served for the first 3 days, then menu B. Wine pairing is $35 per person (6 wines).

Pink Agave was a close third to The Wake and the Test Kitchen, we had amazing prawns, scallops and fish dish, followed by chocolate tacos and milhojas desserts. The rib eye steak is another great option in this restaurant.

Even the The Pizza Place was fabulous, it was so decadent lounging on our balcony terrace with a great take away pepperoni pizza.

The Dock was a fun place for lunch, simply put the flag up on your menu and a selection of mezze food arrives!


Opening Hours

Bars:

  • Grounds Club 07:00-21:00
  • Gym & Tonic 07:00-19:00
  • The Aquatic Club Bar 09:00-21:00
  • Sip Lounge 10:00-01:00
  • The Dock Bar 11:00-22:00
  • The Athletic Club Bar 11:00-22:00
  • The Dock House Bar 12:00-01:00
  • Sun Club Bar 13:00-19:00
  • Draught Haus 13:00-23:00
  • The Loose Cannon 16:00-00:00
  • On The Rocks 16:00-01:00

Restaurants & Cafes:

  • Sun Club Cafe 12:00-17:00
  • Razzle Dazzle 08:00-13:00 & 18:00-22:00
  • The Wake 08:00-13:00 & 18:00-22:00
  • The Test Kitchen 18:00-22:00
  • Extra Virgin 18:00-22:00
  • Gunbae 18:00-22:00
  • Pink Agave 18:00-22:00
  • The Pizza Place 11:30-18:30 & 21:00-01:30
  • Lick Me Till Ice Cream 11:30-22:00
  • The Dock House 12:00-18:30

The Galley:

  • Hot off the Press 08:00-15:00
  • Noodle Around 08:00-15:00 & 22:00-23:30
  • Let’s Taco About It 08:00-10:30 & 12:00-15:00
  • Diner & Dash 06:00-16:00
  • Pop Star 12:00-15:00 & 17:00-22:00
  • Bento Baby 07:00-10:30 & 12:00-15:00 & 17:00-22:00
  • Burger Bar 07:00-10:30 & 12:00-15:00 & 19:00-22:00
  • The Sweet Side 06:00-10:30 & 12:00-15:00 & 17:00-22:00
  • The Daily Mix 07:00-10:30 & 12:00-15:00 & 17:00-22:00

Entertainment

Here’s some examples of the adult themed entertainment available onboard the Valiant Lady. Book on the Sailor App as soon as available, as the shows are very popular and sell out quickly. If you miss out at first keep checking as sailors can change their plans and release places through the voyage.

Scarlet Night: Make sure you pack something red for Scarlet Night. If red’s not your colour, a token splash works too, such as shoes, handbag or jewellery. Happenings start around around deck 7 from 21:00, then the pool party gets started at the Aquatic Club from 22:45-00:00, continuing with the after party in The Manor 23:30 til late. There’s a fantastic atmosphere, with banging tunes, an excellent drinks service and lots of dancing.

Here’s some other examples of what you might experience….

Happenings: PJ Party on the first night at the Athletic Club, Grog Walk pub crawl ($45), Salty Trivia, The After Party, Brews with the Bounce, Retro Glam Happy Hour & Bingo with the Diva.

Parties & Shows: Never Sleep Alone at The Manor, Scarlet Night, It’s a Ship Show & Cocktails and Revelry with the Diva.

Music: Sam Allen Blues Band, The Journeyman, Valiant Lady’s House Band, DJ Aitor Robles & DJ Ella.

Wellness: 90’s Dance Class, On-the-Upswing Bungee Class, HIIT (Don’t Quit) Class, Invigorating Vinyasa Yoga Class, Spin-Out Class.


Richard’s Rooftop

Access to Richard’s Rooftop is restricted to those sailors with RockStar cabins. Situated on deck 16 forward this exclusive sun deck wraps around both sides of the ship with a bar in the middle. There’s a choice of cabins, circular beds, jacuzzis and lounge bar providing ample space and comfort to really chill out.

Dichroic glass separating some the different areas reflects rainbow colours which adds another dimension to the space. Free flowing Moët bubbles are served from 16:30-18:00!


The Bridge

To our surprise we received a secret invitation to visit the bridge during our voyage (thanks to Karina, our Rockstar Agent. Circumstances permitting on the at sea day, a select few sailors per voyage are given invitations to an exclusive tour of the bridge.

All kudos to Davide who guided us around his domain sharing his passion and knowledge about the Virgin Voyages ladyships. It was fascinating to understand their latest technology and very different 360 degree propulsion system.


Itinerary

We booked the French Daze & Ibiza Nights itinerary which was originally scheduled to overnight in Monte Carlo and subsequently amended to Cannes. I’ve linked to our Facebook albums for details of what we got up to ashore.

Day 1: Barcelona – Departs at 06:00 PM
Day 2: Marseille – 08:00 AM – 08:00 PM (Flavours of Marseille’s Neighbourhoods excursion album)
Day 3: Cannes – Arrives at 08:00 AM (self drive tour album)
Day 4: Cannes – Departs at 02:00 PM
Day 5: Olbia – 08:00 AM – 06:00 PM
Day 6: Ibiza – Arrives at 07:00 PM
Day 7: Ibiza – Departs at 06:00 PM (self drive tour album)
Day 8: Barcelona – Arrives at 06:30 AM


In Summary

We loved our time aboard the Valiant Lady, so much so, we have two future cruises booked! We liked the diverse range of clientele and mingling with the crew around the ship. The relaxed attitude to dress codes suited us and we absolutely adored the gastronomy. Virgin Voyages is a fabulous introduction to a new way of holidaying for adults who haven’t cruised before. For us, we’ve found a cruise company that suits us, we love the concept of waking up in a new place, but previous experiences hadn’t hit the mark.

We’ve loaded more images of the Valiant Lady in our Facebook Album: Valiant Lady May 2022

For detailed ship information please visit: Virgin Voyages all their ladyships are the same design.


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