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Valiant Lady (95,000 redemption)

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  • Howard0181

    Any feedback please from anyone who cruised using the recent points offer on the Virgin cruise? We are going on 4th September on Valiant Lady.

    Mart

    Food good
    Rooms good
    Drink good
    Shows ok

    Easily the best 95k use of points ever especially now with the ridiculous taxes and fees on points bookings.
    Here’s hoping it comes back

    Roberto

    I too just got off and must say I was impressed with the whole thing.
    We stayed overnight in Barcelona and boarded at our leisure the following day , many other flew in on the day including from the US but I would think thats a risk too far in my book.

    The ship was immaculate , looked brand new still and there was always someone somewhere cleaning. The common areas were light and bright and there was plenty of space , however with only about 800 pax (30% of capacity ish) you would hope so. Talking of passengers there was a wide selection of demographics with passengers of all ages but most tended to be 30-50 and party orientated. The pool was party central most afternoons so if you looking for a quiet place to sit and read may be you should be seeking solace elsewhere.

    The food was very good , we ate in all the restaurants and was very happy with both the presentation and taste. We booked all of our dinner reservations before we left but for some reason they all disappeared and we had to rebook them on embarkation. There was never a problem getting a table at any restaurant , it seemed most people ate earlier than us ( we did 8:30 every night ) but I did not hear any complaints from anyone about dinners.

    Breakfast was the usual big selection up in the galley or you could get served breakfast/brunch at a table in a couple of the restaurants ( the wake and razzle dazzle ) if you preferred. Again I tried everything except tacos for breakfast and was well happy.

    We bought a couple of bar tabs before we boarded. paid $300 each and got $50 extra totalling $700. I also got another $50 sailor loot meaning we had $750 to drink . Seems like a lot but had another $265 bill at the end as we got of. The drink service was great and the wines were ok if a little over priced. We stuck to Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc at $45 (plus 10%) a bottle when dinning at night. Margaritas, Rum and cokes & bloody Marys were about $10 and frozen cocktails a little more. Beer a little less – they had a good selection of IPA if your into that , I enjoyed the 4% session Lagunitas IPA at about $8.

    The room was nothing special , immaculate and very clean with everything you needed. The shower was hot and powerful and your luggage fits under the bed. We did watch a film one night and the tv worked well. There is a little feeling of student digs at times with doors banging but I can honestly say on deck 13 I slept like a baby.

    Shows – well we never bothered to be honest , instead enjoying the band music most evenings over a few post dinner drinks.

    Crew – amazing

    Gym and fitness – Looked great but too old and fat for all that.

    There was a noticeable LBGTQ+ plus element on the boat including a group of Americans guys who were the life a soul of every party, ( they are on socials “queer indigo” check them out – fantastic ). Everybody seemed to have a great time , there was no them and us and if a guy wanted to wear a bikini he did and no one raised an eyebrow. I have some amazing memories of the pool party watching the most straight laced people getting their groove on to Britney at 3am soaked to the skin. The next morning there were plenty of sore heads and not too many people up for breakfast at 10am.

    If youre a rock star ( we were not ) there was a free champagne afternoon ( 90 mins actually ) every day about 4:30 where I understood they drank about 50 bottles of Moet every day.

    We only did one tour – Positano at about $100 each – paid before we left home. , we had a great day. The boat docks in town and we got off every day for a wander and a local coffee. The stuff on board was ok but not a patch on a good cup.

    No masks of course (except for the crew) and I would guess plenty of covid so if that something that worries you you need to adjust your expiations of this party cruise accordingly.

    Feel free to ask any questions.

    PeteM

    Thanks for that, Roberto – I am not going, but a brilliant review and would know exactly what I would be getting myself into if I went.

    Howard0181

    Brilliant review. Thank you so much for your time in writing this.

    stevenhp1987

    I’ve mentioned it elsewhere (in the main Virgin Voyages thread) but Dual Reality was by far the best show on board in my opinion. If you can only see one show, make sure it’s this one!

    Most of the other shows were one person bands. Dancing with the Diva = Good. Puddles Pity Party = Like Marmite (everyone seemed to either love it or dislike it, I was in the later group). The events listed pre departure are only a small selection of events available.

    There was a band called “The Honey Hounds” who were playing in On the Rocks every other night or so. They were very impressive. We enjoyed a bottle of sparkling wine listening to them late in the evening.

    We generally did around 20k steps each day (sightseeing in each port), except the sea days and in Marina di Carrara. There are lots of (empty) chairs on the beach in Marina di Carrara but the owners all said they were fully booked so if you fancy sitting at the beach there is a public part closest to the dock without chairs. A nice cheap bar is located there too where we also learned of the Rockstar champagne Happy “Hour”. Another group left the bar in a hurry when they learned of it’s existence from another group of sailors!

    My only real negative is the lack of Long Island Iced Teas… my favourite summer cocktail! I found the cocktails on the ship to be a bit too sweet without much alcohol in them so we tended to stick to wine & cider. The Strongbow tastes like Angry Orchard Crisp Apple – the blue one – (an American hard cider). If you like the later you’ll get along with Strongbow there just fine.

    The Red Room (only serves beers/cider & canned cocktails (no wine). The Manor sells pretty much everything – wine, champagne, cocktails, spirits – including by the bottle – but not cider! These are the two venues most of the shows are performed in.

    One thing to note: All alcohol (and premium food) prices are listed excluding VAT which is 10%. The 10% is chargeable to the bar tab. The cheapest bottle of wine I saw was $29. The most expensive was around $2k iirc. Most were $40-60. We charged $681.34 to our room total. On disembarkation day I went to Sailor Services and asked to pay for my tab using my Chase Debit Card (I had another card down for deposit reasons). It earned 1% cashback. They took the payment there and then and removing the pre-auth on my credit card.

    The prices in the shop are listed inclusive of 20% VAT. We took home a buildable Valiant Lady model and an octopus sticker.

    We were on deck 12. It was super quiet each night. We did order a bottle of wine and snacks via room service a couple of times late in the evening… I do recommend the charcuterie board on the room service menu! It’s pretty much the same one you can eat in Extra Virgin. It’s a minimum $5 charge for delivery. If you only get free items (food, soft drinks) then $5 is charged. Buy a bottle of wine and only pay for the wine – so you might as well get snacks / cans of coke etc at the same time!

    Also the Queer Indigos were simply fabulous. Never got to speak with them myself but saw them many times around the ship being the life and sole of the party!

    For what it’s worth, I did a covid test on Monday because I was curious… still negative (we last had it in March).

    ryaneberry

    Appreciate the reviews guys, very informative.

    How strict are they with carry on alcohol? I’ve got a tab but $40-$50 wine will use that up in no time – would much prefer to get a local bottle each stop and consume that. How harsh are they with checking each time you embark again?

    Roberto

    Security getting on and off was very strict. My other half has a bangle that required a pat down on each occasion she got onboard.

    You can take one bottle of wine per person on in Barcelona at embarkation and thats it. Any other wine or booze purchased at any other time will be confiscated and returned to you as you get off back in Barcelona. To get back onboard you had to do the metal detector and bag x-ray same as at the airport so you cant sneak it on.

    If youre a drinker its going to run you at least $100 a day – mine was just over $150 a day but many others were spending much much more. The day of the Test Kitchen and wine pairings for 2 ($77) we spent $270 without larging it up. My better half stopped drinking all together sometime during day 5 as she just could not hack the pace. I of course soldiered on with no regard for the bar tab and/or my liver.

    The group of Virgin Cabin crew I chatted with were ordering bottles of pink stuff @ $70 willy-nilly all afternoon at the pool and one fella (and if you was on the boat you all know which one) spent $1000 in the first 3 days drinking champagne and beer like it was going out of fashion..

    ryaneberry

    Security getting on and off was very strict. My other half has a bangle that required a pat down on each occasion she got onboard.

    You can take one bottle of wine per person on in Barcelona at embarkation and thats it. Any other wine purchased at any other time will be confiscated and returned to you as you get off back in Barcelona. If youre a drinker its going to run you at least $100 a day – mine was just over $150 a day but many others were spending much much more. The day of the Test Kitchen and wine pairings for 2 ($77) we spent $270 without larging it up. My better half stopped drinking all together sometime during day 5 as she just could not hack the pace. I of course soldiered on with no regard for the bar tab and/or my liver.

    The group of Virgin Cabin crew I chatted with were ordering bottles of pink stuff @ $70 willy-nilly all afternoon at the pool and one fella (and if you was on the boat you all know which one) spend $1000 in the first 3 days drinking champagne and beer like it was going out of fashion..

    Thanks, much stricter than I imagined it would be, good for safety though I suppose!

    May have to invest in some gin / vodka and a pack of water bottles – can’t imagine they’d stop you from bringing water on?

    stevenhp1987

    Security getting on and off was very strict. My other half has a bangle that required a pat down on each occasion she got onboard.

    You can take one bottle of wine per person on in Barcelona at embarkation and thats it. Any other wine purchased at any other time will be confiscated and returned to you as you get off back in Barcelona. If youre a drinker its going to run you at least $100 a day – mine was just over $150 a day but many others were spending much much more. The day of the Test Kitchen and wine pairings for 2 ($77) we spent $270 without larging it up. My better half stopped drinking all together sometime during day 5 as she just could not hack the pace. I of course soldiered on with no regard for the bar tab and/or my liver.

    The group of Virgin Cabin crew I chatted with were ordering bottles of pink stuff @ $70 willy-nilly all afternoon at the pool and one fella (and if you was on the boat you all know which one) spend $1000 in the first 3 days drinking champagne and beer like it was going out of fashion..

    Thanks, much stricter than I imagined it would be, good for safety though I suppose!

    May have to invest in some gin / vodka and a pack of water bottles – can’t imagine they’d stop you from bringing water on?

    I took the 2 bottles of wine (limit per cabin) and 2 empty 1.5lt water bottles on board at Barcelona.

    I filled the water bottles up daily from the Galley. We took both bottles with us when we went off ship (every day). I had no problem bringing them back with water still in them when coming back to the ship.

    I’ve read online that modern security scanners can determine water from, say, vodka but I’ve no idea if that’s true. So if you try and sneak it in said water bottle you’re potentially in for a world of pain. They never bothered smelling the water so I did wonder if I could have tried bringing some Vodka on board… They never even bothered taking them out of the backpack!

    If you want to limit the cost, do some day drinking at port. We found some reasonable places at each port on the Irresistible Med cruise.

    Ladyshopper

    We put a box of wine in our suitcase, as well as taking on a bottle each in hand luggage. The box was against the rules, but got through no problem at all. Think when they scan the suitcases they’re just looking for bottle shapes.

    We also took some run runners with various bits in, but I am notoriously tight when it comes to buying alcohol on cruise ships!

    For room service, any paid for drink makes the delivery free. We ordered breakfast one morning, and my husband ordered a coffee (think it was $3.49?), meant no delivery charge. I didn’t realise (was on the maiden voyage of Valiant Lady) that the soft drinks that come with room service are cans. If I’d known, I would have ordered more with our breakfast, as didn’t find cans elsewhere on board.

    I would also agree that Dual Reality is a don’t miss show.

    Roberto

    I can’t see the joy in sneaking booze onto the boat tbh. I appreciate people like a couple of drinks before heading out but we started early and took the opportunity of having time away from drinking in the cabin to sober up a bit before getting back out there.

    stevenhp1987

    I can’t see the joy in sneaking booze onto the boat tbh. I appreciate people like a couple of drinks before heading out but we started early and took the opportunity of having time away from drinking in the cabin to sober up a bit before getting back out there.

    Also there was so much to do on the ship.

    I wouldn’t have wanted to run back to the room to top-up constantly.

    Enjoying a bottle of wine with nice views on land or some on the ship during a meal / at the pool / at a show is much more enjoyable than drinking in your room or having to run back and forth between your room / pool etc.

    Given the cost of the cruise, we can’t really complain about spending ~ £500pp or so on alcohol during the trip

    We did enjoy the 2 bottles we brought on board in our room and the odd room service bottle late at night, but I barely spent enough time in the room to make sneaking any in worth it! I did consider it but it felt like too much hassle than it was going to be worth.

    If people want to get drunk in their cabin watching TV then they might as well just stay at home…

    Roberto

    If people want to get drunk in their cabin watching TV then they might as well just stay at home…

    This

    Ladyshopper

    Guess I’m not such a hardcore drinker as all of you! Someone asked the question, I just thought I’d share my experience

    Interesting different perspectives. Ours was a short cruise, not like these cruises which I think are a week long? It was also back in March, and not really quite the same weather as you’re getting on these cruises in the Med! We probably did spend more time in our cabin that we would on an average cruise, as it wasn’t really the weather for lying around the pool. I also have mobility issues, so needed to rest.

    I didn’t say we had a zero bar bill, we did buy some stuff. However, as someone who hates champagne, can barely tolerate prosecco if forced, and doesn’t like any cocktails that are fruit based (I’m strictly a baileys cocktail person), it made sense for us to take wine on that we would like, and could enjoy. We also took 4 cans of gluten-free beer, as had no idea if we could get it or not (and didn’t see any on there).

    We didn’t do any really late night stuff, I simply don’t have the energy, nor am I much of a day drinker. I guess I’m the opposite of those who like to start early, then go back to the cabin to sober up! It’s perfectly possible to enjoy a cruise without feeling the need to have a drink in hand the whole day and night, some of these posts make it sound like the whole point of the cruise is to drink morning, noon and night!

    Oh, and the tv didn’t go on in the cabin at all, nor did we spend hours sitting in a cabin drinking to get drunk, which people have suggested. But it was lovely to have drinks in there whilst getting ready for dinner, as well as wrapped up warm on the balcony.

    pbcold

    The people that I know in the 30-50 age range no longer drink to excess and I was quite surprised to read some of these comments. Each to their own, of course; all remarks are really useful and the huge variety on offer should keep everyone happy by the sounds of it.

    Roberto

    ⁸2

    The people that I know in the 30-50 age range no longer drink to excess

    One of the benefits of being 59 🙂

    However in all seriousness the boat is set up as a floating party venue. There were many obviously fit/beautiful people and they spent a lot of time in the gym and or fitness studio so looking back their perception of the weeks cruise would be totally different to mine.

    I think Virgin is a warm weather cruise company , its designed for young at heart fun people to interact with each other, the crew and the ship’s many facilities 24/7. And whilst people don’t need a drink to do that of course, I for one think that it’s better done in shorts, with a beer in my hand, outside in the sunshine with other like minded souls.

    pbcold

    I am due to depart BCN on July 31st but have health issues. Hospital appointment on the 28th – does anyone know how much notice I need to give to cancel for points to be returned just in case, please?

    pbcold

    I`ve just found this in the T and Cs so will have to keep my fingers crossed:

    If you cancel 45 days or less from the sail date, a full penalty will be assessed — no refund will be given, and no Future Voyage Credit will be given.

    Roberto

    @pbcold fingers crossed for you. If you test positive there is some wiggle room in those t&c if that’s an option.

    They say “If you happen to test positive within 72 hours of your embarkation time, you will not be able to sail, but Virgin Voyages will provide a full future voyage credit for use toward a booking at a later date. Taxes, fees, and bookable amounts are refunded to the original form of payment. The Future Voyage Credit (FVC) can be used as payment for a new voyage booking. The FVC is valid for 12 months — so Sailors have 12 months to make a new booking for any future voyage and redeem their FVC.”

    Talking of testing positive Virgin Voyages have removed the need for pre-cruise covid testing as of 7/24/22 (for Valiant Lady) and 7/27/22 (for Scarlet Lady).

    pbcold

    @Roberto…..that is very interesting indeed! Thank you so much for posting.

    Jipster

    Can anyone confirm which port in Toulon the ship docks at? … There are two possibilities one actually in Toulon downtown and one in La Seyne Sur Mer which is about 8 km away.

    Thanks

    stevenhp1987

    Can anyone confirm which port in Toulon the ship docks at? … There are two possibilities one actually in Toulon downtown and one in La Seyne Sur Mer which is about 8 km away.

    Thanks

    Toulon downtown. You get off and you’re literally at the marina. Less than 5 minutes walk to town centre.

    Roberto

    As Steve says it’s a perfect place to get off the ship right in the center of town by the marina with their many bars and restaurants. We had some amazing coffee and the odd glass or three of (€3) ricard there , certainly much better that the onboard coffee.

    In town there are many shops and some nice looking boutiques, patisseries and the like – certainly enough to wander about and pass a couple of hours no problem. There is also a large shopping mall with a supermarket if you’re looking for some amazing pate, ham, cheese and breads to bring back for something different (save your brought on wine for today )… It’s also a great place to pick up some sun tan lotion if you’re running low , a fraction of the price of the on board options.

    If on the other hand you’re looking for something a little more along the fast food front two well know burger joints will be happy to take your money.

    Lastly if you’re into your Rugby the stadium is right there too, Toulon were just about the best club side in the world 7 or 8 years ago and even managed to tempt a certain Johnny Wilkinson to play for them.

    Jipster

    Thank you so much for the responses. Really helpful. Do either of you have any advice on other port stops and where to go / what to do?

    Thanks

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