Home » Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady Mediterranean Cruise

Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady Mediterranean Cruise

by Robert Adams
Valiant Lady at Sunset (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

When it comes to the Virgin Voyages Team, we were amazed and delighted by the diversity of people who live and work on the ship.

Valiant Lady at Sunset (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

When asked if we wanted to sail around the Mediterranean aboard Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady my husband and I jumped at the chance.

The itinerary: seven nights starting in Barcelona and stopping in the south of France, the Italian Riviera, Corsica, Sardinia, and Ibiza was perfect for us. Three of the ports of call we had never been to before, and we were happy to heed the Dalai Lama’s advice and “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.”

Our cruise, from July 24 – 31, took place during the hottest time of year in Europe, and during a record-breaking heatwave. With temperatures in the 90s everyday, off ship excursions were challenging at best. Many of our fellow sailors decided to take air-conditioned bus tours where they were only exposed to the extreme heat for a limited amount of time each day. Our advice, book your Mediterranean cruise any other time of year except July and August. Another benefit of traveling before or after the busy summer season is that you may be able to get better deals with the cruise line, and be able to enjoy as much outdoor activity as you like.

Virgin Sign at Night (Photos courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

Virgin Sign at Night (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

After our arrival in Barcelona from New York, clearing customs and immigration was easy and smooth. That cannot be said of our departure a week later. Some of our fellow passengers had to wait three hours or more just to check their bags and get through security. Luckily, we were traveling with just our carry-on bags and the time it took us to get through the airport and into the lounge was about one hour. If possible, you may want to consider working with a company that offers Fast Track, or VIP Departure services at the airport in Barcelona. After a wonderful cruise, the last thing you need is the stress of being stuck in long lines for hours, or the possibility of missing your flight back home.

Barcelona is a fascinating and exciting city that deserves at least a few days worth of exploration before or after your cruise. Must visits in Barcelona include the amazing , cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudí, as well as the Fundació Joan Miró, and the Museu Picasso. The art and architecture of this city is a feast for the eyes, and it truly makes Barcelona a unique place to visit. Tours By Locals (toursbylocals.com) offers an exceptional selection of tours for visitors. Choose from a variety of options including art, culture, cuisine, nature, hiking and biking excursions, and more.

Brilliant Suite Bathroom (Photo by Robert Adams)

Brilliant Suite Bathroom (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

When it comes time to board the ship, you will find the Virgin Voyages cruise terminal in Barcelona is modern and easy to navigate. We sailed through all the formalities and were onboard enjoying cocktails within 45-minutes. When choosing your cabin, make sure to book an XL Sea Terrace or larger accommodation. Having extra room to spread out, a larger bathroom, or a spacious suite with a large terrace will make your trip that much more enjoyable.

Posh Suite Terrace (Photos courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

Posh Suite Terrace (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

The itinerary: seven nights starting in Barcelona and stopping in the south of France, the Italian Riviera, Corsica, Sardinia, and Ibiza was perfect for us.

The Valiant Lady features 78 suites, and the. RockStar Quarters provide early access to onboard entertainment, restaurants, Shore Things, and an exclusive express VIP pathway to the ship during embarkation. Sailors staying in RockStar Quarters have their very own wardrobe team to help unpack and repack, complimentary pressing service, and nightly express swimsuit drying service, “because no rockstar should ever have a wet bottom,” according to Virgin Voyages. The mini-bar has also been reimagined. Instead of the usual mini-fridge, suites have a full bar and cocktail kit fit for a rockstar, with the first round on the house.

If you book a suite, you will also have access to Richard’s Rooftop, your very own private members club with your own bar in a secluded area where you can bask under the sun or the stars. Right next door to Richard’s Rooftop is a public area where smoking aficionados can light up day or night.

Life on board ship was relaxed and casual for us, and just what we needed for our first post-pandemic cruise. Virgin Voyages provides their passengers (sailors) with an all-inclusive fare that features dining at 20+ eateries, all gratuities, free wifi, essential drinks (coffee, tea, juice, and soda), and unlimited group fitness classes to work off all the great meals they serve.

Zazzle Dazzle (Photos courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

Zazzle Dazzle (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

For breakfast each morning, Razzle Dazzle was our go to place. Offering vibrant and creative twists on mostly vegetarian contemporary food, all dishes here can be made “naughty” with meat add-ons or boozy shots, while the “nice” menu puts a flip on traditional dishes by offering plant based vegetarian and vegan alternatives to classic dishes, including “burgers.” Razzle Dazzle is also the home of the ship’s drag brunch where sailors are treated to a performance by the Valiant Lady’s resident drag performer and friends.

Almost every night, we dined in a different restaurant. Some are more casual than others, but the dress code on board is whatever makes you happy. So feel free to dress up or down and make the most of the culinary offerings on the Valiant Lady.

For a sophisticated take on steak and seafood, The Wake is the most glamorous restaurant on the ship with a sumptuous mid-twentieth century chop-house atmosphere, a raw bar, table-side drink cart service, and Champagne poured by the glass from a magnum bottle.

Pink Agave Bar (Photos courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

Pink Agave Bar (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

For elevated Mexican food, Pink Agave transports sailors to the vibrant streets of Mexico City through immersive void lighting. Offering a wide variety of Mexican specialties including tlayudas, memelas, sopes, tortas, esquites, tamales and an expansive array of mezcals.

If you like Italian food, Extra Virgin is the ship’s trattoria serving regionally-inspired food rooted in the culinary traditions of Italy. The space features communal tables and a private dining room, and everything on the menu is delicious. For appetizers, the Braised Mini Meatballs with tomato, smoked mozzarella and pancetta, and the Crispy Artichoke with caper aioli and charred lemon, are a must.

For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, head to The Galley, the ships food hall that features a mix of more than eight shops and food carts, each offering a unique concept, including a dedicated bakery and pastry shop, a panini shop, a burger grill, a taco shack, a sushi bar with bento boxes, a noodle bar, a soup and salad stand, and a 24-hour American diner.

View From the Ship of the Port in Toulon, France (Photo by Robert Adams)

View From the Ship of the Port in Toulon, France (Photo by Robert Adams)

One of the highlights of our Mediterranean cruise were the various ports of call available to explore. Virgin Voyages organizes a variety of interesting excursion from each port, or you can hire a local tour company and follow you own personal itinerary. We preferred to explore on our own, and in some ports we were able to walk right off the ship and into the local area.

At other destinations, such as in Cagliari, Sardinia, we used a local tour company that had a desk in the cruise terminal. Here they arranged for a car to take us to a nearby beach club and bring us back to the ship a couple of hours later. For about $60, we received two beach loungers with umbrellas, and round trip transportation to the beach. It was wonderful to hang out with the locals and enjoy an afternoon swimming in the warm crystal clear water that surround this fascinating island. If the temperature hadn’t been in the upper 90s that day, we would have taken a walking tour of Cagliari that Virgin Voyages offered featuring the cultural and historic highlights of the city.

When we docked in Ibiza, the ship had arranged for a shuttle bus to bring passengers to and from the Old Town. This was a big plus, considering that public transportation is almost non-existent, and the lines for taxis were long and could involve a wait of an hour or more during peak times.

Ibiza is world famous for it’s parties and nightlife, LGBTQ+ included, and some people on our cruise decided to party all-night, not returning until the next afternoon before the ship was scheduled to depart. We waited until after 9 P.M. to head into the town, but it was still 90 degrees and humid outside. Luckily, we found a wonderful harborside restaurant called Casa Sudaca (casasudacaibiza.com) with shade trees where we could enjoy a light meal and ice-cold martinis.

Entertainment on board is unique and provides plenty for passengers to enjoy during the cruise. This includes The Red Room, the first multi-form theater at sea. It transforms into four different configurations: a traditional Proscenium stage, an alley stage used in fashion shows, a dance floor, and a unique reverse stage setup. This first at-sea theatre enables Virgin Voyages to create completely different experiences for each day of the voyage.

At Voyage Vinyl, an onboard record shop and the go-to spot for Sailors to experience music from all eras and genres, there are personal listening stations where you can enjoy your favorite albums both current and classic. If you’re looking for something unique, you can also shop for limited-edition curated albums and special editions of classics, as well as music magazines, headphones, and record players. For karaoke lovers, The Groupie is a modernist take on a Japanese-style karaoke where you and your friends can sing along to your favorite tunes.

While on ship, passengers have the opportunity to choose from a festival-like lineup of all-new, completely original entertainment. Valiant Lady features six shows that include a production by award winning producer Randy Weiner (Queen of the Night, The Donkey Show, Sleep No More).

B-Complex, a gym with a view (Photos courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

B-Complex, a gym with a view (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

If looking and feeling you best is a priority, Virgin Voyages has you covered. The Training Center at the Athletic Club features an outdoor training zone, including a boxing ring and gymnastics equipment, while The Perch provides 360-degree ocean views on a secluded sundeck for sunrise and sunset yoga. At B-Complex you’ll find the ultimate well-being and fitness experience with strength, spin, yoga, and cardio in its “Build, Burn, Bike and Balance” rooms, all with dramatic ocean views. For on-demand fitness, the Burn and Build gyms are equipped with Technogym Artis, a line of sustainably crafted cutting-edge fitness technology.

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