VIRGIN Voyages welcomed its second ship, the Valiant Lady, to its fleet on Friday with a typically dazzling party featuring Grammy Award-winning DJ Diplo and Brit Award winner Ella Henderson.
The ship is almost identical to its sister, the Scarlet Lady, which was launched in February 2020 and will be the first to make seven-night voyages from Barcelona this summer.
Firmly aimed at “young at heart” and intended for adults only, Virgin has thrown out the traditional rulebook with its sleek, yacht-like design and distinctive gray and red exterior.
But it’s inside where things get really interesting.
Gone is the main dining room and buffet restaurants are loved by classic cruise lines.
Instead, there are more than 20 dining options – all included in the price of the ticket.
Passengers – or “sailors” as Virgin calls them – can choose from premium options including Korean barbecue cooked at your table in Gunbae, authentic Mexican in Pink Agave, steaks and seafood at The Wake and vegan at Razzle Dazzle, also home to a tugboat brunch.
There is no main buffet restaurant – instead, a series of “food trucks” on the 15th floor promise everything from sushi lunch boxes and fresh tet cakes to all-day breakfasts, burgers and noodles.
The ship’s interior is also full of intimate bars, from chic champagne-soaked Sip to my favorites, maritime hideaway The Lost Cannon and a geo-inspired outdoor venue Trung Hai, The Dock.
Once again, Virgin has turned entertainment all the way to the top with the wonderfully authentic The Manor nightclub, complete with a dazzling Instagram selfie spot entrance and intimate velvet couches.
Unlike other ships that have a traditional theater for dance performances, the Valiant Lady features The Red Room, a space that converts from stage to dance floor allowing for all sorts of other forms of fun. together.
This week, it also announced a partnership with Jennifer Lopezwill see the singer and actress invest in the cruise line and develop entertainment, health and fitness partnerships.
Where the Valiant Lady works is a bit different from Original Scarlet Lady is in the design of the cabin.
With it going on longer trips, there has been more storage as well as new furniture and wall fixtures.
About 86% of the ship’s cabins have balconies and 93% have sea views – a real difference from older cruise lines.
And there are several Virgin features – from a bed that transforms into an everyday sofa seat to a tablet that lets you control the lighting according to your mood.
The balcony cabins also have a special red hammock to enjoy the sea breeze in comfort.
But with the ship heading to the Mediterranean this summer and then to the Caribbean in winter, the outdoors will matter and Virgin scores with cool beach club vibes.
The Aquatic Club is a pool deck with a difference of day beds, and while some traditionalists might prefer a slightly deeper pool, it’s the perfect place to pose with one or more. two cocktails and cool off after a long day of exploring.
Wellness and fitness are brought to the fore with the extensive fitness and gym space in the B-Complex and Redemption Spa that will rival terrestrial self-care.
There’s even more outdoor fun at the Wellbeing pool, The Perch outdoor wellness space and the exclusive Virgin red Runway.
For great Instagram selfies, head to the Athletic Club with its grid giving you a view from deck 16 down.
And of course, there’s Virgin, which even has a tattoo parlor, as well as barbers and some very posh boutiques.
With wifi, soft drinks, tea and coffee plus all dining options included in the price, Virgin is offering premium cruises at one price point.
It may well be the last line that tempts those who have never considered a step-aboard excursion.
Seven nights in the Med this summer from £923pp, yacht only, flghts not included. For details, see virginvoyages.com.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8516214/inside-virgin-voyages-valiant-lady-ship/ Inside Virgin Voyages’ new Valiant Lady cruise ship