Ship review: Virgin Voyages' Valiant Lady
By Katie McGonagle | 26 May 2022
Virgin Voyages’ second ship, Valiant Lady, brings the Branson-owned line’s playful style to the seas once again
When business-savvy superstar Jennifer Lopez gives a brand her seal of approval, you know it must be doing something right, so Virgin Voyages’ latest move – to bring J-Lo on board as an investor and director of the line’s lifestyle and entertainment programme – is set to introduce the brand to an entirely new audience.
When it burst onto the scene with its first ship, Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages promised to throw out the rulebook and reinvent the cruise experience afresh, casting buffets aside in favour of funky street-food markets and even introducing the first-ever tattoo parlour at sea.
Two years later, second ship Valiant Lady incorporates that sense of playfulness with a food, fitness and entertainment-focused vibe that will suit a work hard, play hard clientele.
What is it like on Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady?
The adult-only ship is packed full of instantly Instagrammable spots, from the cabanas on the sun deck to the mirrored, fairylight-filled entrance to nightclub The Manor, where you can’t help but feel glitzy and glamorous as you gear up for an evening of entertainment.
Food and drink are the serious standouts here, with nine restaurants and six bars on board, and clever design offering plenty of tucked-away little nooks to enjoy a quiet drink à deux. There’s relaxed dining in street-food hall The Galley, Korean barbecue at Gunbae and Mexican favourites at Pink Agave, along with energetic venues such as Razzle Dazzle where you’ll find vegan options and fun-filled drag brunches, with all dining included in the cruise fare.
I opted for the tasting menu in The Test Kitchen, where the only clue of what’s to come is an open kitchen and a pared-back list of ingredients, relying instead on the chef explaining the elements of each dish one course at a time.
We feasted on rich and earthy mushroom mousse, scallops with salty prosciutto and venison with a sharp blackberry sauce, followed by mandarin sorbet and a chocolate fondant so perfectly gooey it would put many a MasterChef contestant to shame.
But what really stood out was the incredible value for money in this top-quality tasting menu, presented without any fussiness.
Cabins are comfortable and Sea Terrace and above feature a balcony with a hammock, ideal for swaying the day away on sunny voyages, and are kitted out with the latest tech including a tablet that operates everything in the room.
Fitness is also a key feature here, with multiple gyms boasting long rows of treadmills, a resistance studio with weights and even a boxing gym and athletics course out on deck. The same fun and flair extends to the exercise offer as well, with retro ’80s-style aerobics and sunrise yoga on the sun deck among the classes – plus healthy juices and snacks at the Gym and Tonic bar to enjoy afterwards.
Valiant Lady is sailing in Europe this summer with holidays in Spain, Portugal, the Mediterranean and the Greek islands, promising a never-ending supply of entertainment both on board and ashore.
How to book Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady
The Irresistible Med, a seven-night itinerary round-trip from Barcelona, starts at £804 per person for an Insider cabin or £1,032 in a Sea Terrace with balcony, based on a June 26 departure. Find out more and book at virginvoyages.com