Valiant Lady Review and Specifications
Specifications of Valiant Lady
|Year built||2021 new ship|
|Builder||Fincantieri (Sestri Ponente, Italy)|
|Building cost||EUR 600 million (USD 710 million)|
|Owner||Virgin Voyages Ltd (Virgin Group UK + Bain Capital USA)|
|Operator||Virgin Cruise Line|
|Speed||22 kn / 41 kph / 25 mph|
|Length (LOA)||278 m / 912 ft|
|Beam (width)||38 m / 125 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||110000 gt|
|Passengers||2770 - 2860|
|Decks with cabins||9|
Review of Valiant Lady
MS Valiant Lady cruise ship is the second liner in the Virgin Voyages fleet. Vessel's name was officially announced on November 20, 2019, and is scheduled for delivery in May 2021. The other three sisterships (vessels of the same design) are currently on order or under construction and planned for deliveries in 2020 (Scarlet Lady), 2022 (TBN3) and 2023 (TBN4). The Valiant Lady ship is currently under construction at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente Shipyard (near Genoa Italy).
These liners are known as "Lady Ships" - a play on "your ladyship" term regarding Virgin Group's British heritage. A number of renown designers were chosen to create a new "cruise ship" style and "adult cruising" vacation concept. For ship's interior design, the Virgin cruise line contracted the marine architecture and naval design companies Roman and Williams (NYC), Concrete Amsterdam, Tom Dixon's Design Research Studio (London UK), Gem Srl (Italy), Softroom (London UK), WORKac (NYC), Knibb Design, HL Studio (UK), HKS Architects (Dallas USA), PearsonLloyd (London UK).
The shipowner Virgin Voyages (fka Virgin Cruises) is a new cruise line company headquartered in Plantation (Florida USA). Virgin Voyages was created in December 2014 as a joint venture between Virgin Group Ltd (UK-based multinational holding company, 49% stake) and Bain Capital LP (USA-based multi-asset investment company, 51% stake). Virgin is an adults-only cruise company (passengers' minimum age is 18) and officially starts operations in April 2020.
Virgin's Valiant Lady inaugural cruise season (2021) is based on 7-day Western Mediterranean roundtrips leaving from homeport Barcelona Spain. The 7-day itineraries (Sunday departures) will feature overnights in large port cities in France, Italy and Spain. Bookings for Valiant Lady cruises will be opened on December 19, 2019.
On November 12, 2019, Richard Branson announced that the second Virgin ship (Valiant Lady) will be seasonally homeported in Sydney (NSW Australia). Branson was in Sydney to launch a partnership between Virgin Australia Airlines and Virgin Voyages and promote affordable Australia-Caribbean flycruise deals on Scarlet Lady.
If deployed in the Caribbean, the cruise liner (like all Virgin ships) Valiant Lady will be homeported in Miami Florida and all its itineraries will visit Bimini Bahamas as a private island destination.
In mid-January 2019, Virgin Voyages announced details on ship's RockStar Suite cabins. All staterooms are designed by Tom Dixon Design Research Studio (interior, product and design consultancy). All staterooms are "smart", with mood lighting and sensors auto-adjusting the lighting according to passenger's movements. The cruise ship has a total of 78 cabins in the category "RockStar Suite", including 15x "Mega RockStar Suites" (9x Gorgeous, 2x Posh, 2x Fab, 2x Massive). Most of them are on Deck 15, with the above Deck 16 housing one "RockStar Suite Sailor" (bow-facing Owner Suite).
The decor is music (rock-and-roll) themed, with a retro-futuristic design, a colour palette of deep blues with iridescent dichroic elements in the cabin's bathroom. Massive Suite has a separate bedroom that doubles as a music room (fitted with electric guitars and an amplifier). Cabin's terrace (bow-facing) is fitted with Jacuzzi, dining area (6-seat table with built-in stairs), lounge area (circular sofa with low table), padded sun loungers, 2 hammocks, outdoor shower, catamaran net (canopy partially covering the terrace), live plants. Keeping with the music theme, each of the 78 suites boasts a record player.
All categories RockStar Suites (SB-Brilliant, SG-Gorgeous, SP-Posh, SF-Fab, SM-Massive) have marble-clad bathroom (with hot tub, premium brand bath products, rain-shower head, multi-colored dichroic glass doors and windows / Peek-a-Boo shower), Terrazzo flooring, Tom Dixon brand furniture, large mirrored vanity tables, modern L-shaped sofabeds (for 2), low tables, cabinets, 3-door wardrobe, large smart TV (55-inch), vinyl turntable (gold-plated player with a collection of records), complimentary full bar (nautically-themed barware kit), brass and leather finishing, chaise lounge chair (bedroom).
RockStar Suite passengers enjoy exclusive access to "Richard's Rooftop" (VIP club lounge located forward on Deck 16). RockStar Suites receive as perks (price-inclusive amenities and complimentary services) airport-ship transfer (via private drivers), priority helicopter arrangements, luggage assistance, private walk-down service (express VIP pathway) at Virgin Voyages Miami Cruise Terminal (upon arrival), anytime boarding, early access to special shipboard events, complimentary laundry service, clothing pressing, nightly swimsuit drying, RockStar Agents (dedicated butlers per stateroom), dedicated hair and makeup crew (upon request), complimentary Thermal Suite access (Redemption Spa), all-inclusive premium drinks (in all shipboard eateries and bars), personalized bottomless in-room bar (free of charge), option to curate in-port activities.
All staterooms offer as standard amenities European King-size bed (premium linens, plush bedding), wall-mounted reading lamps, bedside tables, mirrored vanity table / writing desk with stool, large wardrobe, electronic safe box (in the closet), 4K smart Ultra HDTV (with infotainment system), large balcony (with padded loungers, low table, 2-seat sofa, Yellow Leaf hammock, dining table / custom-designed champagne table fitting an ice bucket). Balcony access is via floor-ceiling sliding glass doors.
Every cabin is equipped with a custom-designed "seabed" and "mood lighting" which is familiar to customers of Virgin America (part of Alaska Airlines). Cabin lights automatically adjust according to passenger's movements. There are also staterooms suited for groups (each with 4 bunk beds) and single cabins (designed for solo travelers). Staterooms are divided into 21 categories. Balcony cabins have "sea terrace" (private, step-out veranda) and are serviced by "Rockstar Coordinators" (personal assistants), while "personal wardrobe teams" provide luggage packing and unpacking.
Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks
Dining on Virgin Voyages ships is ticket price-inclusive - no extra charges are applied to any of the 20-plus onboard dining options. The cruise company doesn't believe in "paying more for great food", so it ditched traditional surcharges levied in specialty restaurants. All eateries on Valiant Lady offer "exceptional made-to-order eats" - complimentary.
As part of the company's sustainable travel policy, Virgin Voyages banned single-use plastics and there is no buffet food on the ships. All shipboard food is made-to-order - to reduce waste and lower energy consumption and emissions. Savings are reinvested into fresh (locally sourced) top-quality products, exotic ingredients, highly trained staff, and clean technologies.
The company doesn't follow any traditional cruise dining concepts. Virgin ships don't have the main dining room, buffet restaurant, dress code (formal wear policy), assigned dining times or seating. All these concepts were replaced with intimate (boutique hotel-type) eateries offering 20+ dining options - all of which are included in cruise fares.
Follows the complete list of Valiant Lady restaurants and food bars.
- The Galley (main venue for casual dining and quick meals) is modelled on popular food halls. Here guests can taste food from various onboard restaurants via 8 shops and carts, including panini shop, bakery and pastry shop, a taco shack, noodle bar, a burger grill, a sushi bar with bento boxes, soup, and salad island, 24-hour American diner.
- The Test Kitchen (laboratory-like eatery with metallic furniture, beakers, test tubes) offers "avant-garde cuisine". It is a part restaurant, part cooking school. Chef-driven menus are presented in the form of ingredient list to guests to discover how the chef combines the flavours throughout the course of each meal.
- Wake (sized 5866 ft2 / 545 m2) is a steakhouse-seafood restaurant located aft and featuring views of the ship's wake. It serves "theatrical take" food inspired by The Grill-New York and The Wolseley-London.
- Geonbae (Korean barbecue restaurant) is "hosted by the loudest servers at sea". Meals start with complimentary soju (distilled beverage) for the table with guests encouraged to take part in Korean drinking games.
- Pink Agave (Mexican restaurant) provides shared plate experience with DJ music until late. It features porthole windows, metallic lighting fixtures, large tables, elongated curved area (intimate seating with 2-seat tables), separate bar (in the Lobby), private dining room (can be booked for parties and other private events).
- Extra Virgin (trattoria restaurant) serves traditional Italian food specialties, including handmade fresh pasta.
- Dock (sized 220 ft2 / 20.4 m2 beach club-inspired restaurant) offers Mediterranean cuisine with small plates, dips, mezze, salads. The Dock features wooden deck chairs, day beds, and loungers.
- The Pizza Place (beach club-inspired restaurant) offers complimentary oven-baked gourmet pizzas by the slice.
- Razzle Dazzle is ship's vegan-vegetarian restaurant. Part of Razzle Dazzle Restaurant is the Red Bar - juice bar offering fresh-squeezed juices and tonics, as well as crafted cocktails from a menu that varies every night. In two days per cruise, at Razzle Dazzle is hosted Drag Brunch featuring live entertainment by "sassy drag queens". Considered one of the ship's most energetic spots, Razzle Dazzle gets its design and name from the practice of camouflaging vessels during both World Wars via patterns of black and white paint.
- Sun Club Cafe - Outdoor Eatery
- The Sip is the ship's wine bar lounge (Virgin's champagne house) where along with a selection of premium wines can be enjoyed traditional British Afternoon Tea service.
Virgin cruise ship passengers (Sailors) are offered complimentary water (filtered and sparkling) at all onboard bars and dining venues. Throughout the ship, there are also complimentary water stations.
Via the Sailor App (when your phone is shaken) a secret "Champagne button" allows Sailors to order Moet-Chandon Champagne (Brut Imperial, 750 ml bottle) delivered in an ice bucket and with two glasses. The service is called "Shake for Champagne" and provided anywhere on the ship.
Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport
Each Virgin ship features 93% oceanview cabins and 86% balconied staterooms (called "sea terraces"), casino, several live entertainment venues (similar to traditional theatre lounges).
Ship's signature venues include:
- Athletic Club (training centre) is an outdoor gym area with a boxing ring and gym club equipment) located top-deck aft. Part of the Sports Deck is also the raised jogging track (Runway track, red-white colored), sundeck with open-air lounge (furnished with double daybeds and semi-circular loungers), triple netting area (220 ft2 / 20.4 m2 overlooking below decks), 10 private cabanas (cushioned bed, low table, 2 lounge chairs), beverage service (from the outdoor Sports Bar), foosball tables, swimming pool, showers. The Athletic Club was designed by Concrete Amsterdam and inspired by the New York City's sports clubs in the 1920s.
- Sun Club - Sun Worship Sanctuary
- MyBeast is an outdoor playground / poolside gym area.
- The Crow's Nest (aft sundeck) offers 360-degree views and is furnished with loungers and mats coloured in Virgin's signature red. Here are also hosted sunrise and sunset outdoor yoga classes.
- The B Complex is an indoor fitness centre with Technogym ARTIS equipment, floor-ceiling windows and separate rooms (studios) for cycling, yoga, cardio and spinning classes.
- Gym and Tonic Bar serves cold-pressed fresh juices.
- Aquatic Club Sundeck - Poolside Oasis and Aquatic Club Bar.
- Two Pools (including the Well-being Pool - ship's main pool surrounded by an adult playground and fitness apparatus named MyBeast).
- The Manor is the ship's 2-deck high Disco Nightclub with a large dance floor. The NYC-based design studio Roman and Williams designed ship's ballroom, The Manor, which is a venue for innovative entertainment, dancing, music, and fun, destined to be one of the most exciting spots onboard. The Manor Nightclub was inspired by Richard Branson's first Virgin music studio of the same name and has been expertly outfitted with platforms, corners, and details that make it both somewhere to see and to be seen.
- The Dock is an outdoor lounge (aft on Deck 7) with cushioned wooden furniture (loungers, deckchairs, daybeds).
- Richard's Rooftop is a top-deck VIP area (Suite passengers only sundeck) furnished with daybeds, deckchairs, circular loungers, large umbrellas, coloured crystals. Named after company's founder Richard Branson, it has a futuristic feel with giant umbrellas, circular loungers, and accents of coloured crystals that cast rainbow reflections.
- "Ministry of Ground" and "Ministry of Ground Too" are speciality coffee bars serving Intelligentsia coffee (Virgin Voyages Blend) and made-to-order beverages made by expert baristas. Ministry of Ground (designed by Softroom of London) is located midship on Deck 7 (in The Galley food market) and features round-shaped/porthole-type large windows with window seats, purple and aquamarine hues for seating, comfy loungers and modern tables. In addition to the hand-crafted Intelligentsia Coffee brews, passengers receive complimentary cakes and light bites. Retail items (bags of Intelligentsia Coffee and JoJo loose-leaf teas, kettles, coffee cups, and others) are available for purchase.
- Redemption is the ship's Spa complex (on Deck 5) consisting of Reception, Mud Room, Salt Room, Hydrotherapy Pool, cold plunge pool, Jacuzzi, Thermal Suite (indoor spa with porthole windows, plunge pool and Jacuzzi), treatment rooms (for massages and treatments) with quartz-mattress beds, Dry Dock Salon (hairdressing services), Stubble and Groom (barbershop), Blow Dry Bar, Male pedicure Spa, Mani-pedi Spa. At night, the wellness complex transforms into a dancing lounge with live DJ music.
- The Scene Event Space
- Squid Ink is a tattoo studio via a partnership with World Famous Tattoo Ink. The facility is operated by two full-time tattoo artists (handpicked by Lou Rubino Jr) plus celebrity artists. All tattoos are created by using original vegan ink. Other services at Squid Ink include body piercings and permanent makeup treatments (using certified vegan Perma Blend pigments).
- The Red Room was designed by theatre consultants Auerbach Pollock Friedlander and renowned architects WorkAC as the first-ever transformational multi-form theatre at sea. The Red Room transforms into 4 different configurations: an alley stage used in fashion shows, a traditional Proscenium stage, a dance flat-floor configuration, and a unique reverse stage setup. The first at-sea theatre enables the cruise line to create different experiences for each day of the cruise. Valiant Lady offers 6 original shows that include production by Randy Weiner (The Donkey Show, Queen of the Night, Sleep No More).
- The Groupie (privately bookable karaoke room/for sing-alongs) also doubles as cinema and VIP casino (gaming lounge).
- The Den Flex Event Space
- Local DJ celebrities perform live onboard Valiant Lady at all ports of call.
- Voyage Vinyl (record store) features listening stations, record collections and a DJ spot for live performances (by resident and guest DJs).
- Draught Haus (on deck 7, adjacent to Voyage Vinyl) is ship's taproom - an exclusive bar serving craft beers. Draught Haus offers 8 different draft beers, also boilermakers (beer cocktails), bottled craft beers, shots, shot-cocktails. The bar also provides growler/jug service that allows passengers to take their drinks throughout the ship (public spaces and in cabins). The beerhouse features themed furniture, rustic decor, a beer tap display (behind the bar). MS Valiant Lady will have its own brand of craft beer (name to be revealed soon) created by Wynwood Brewing Company (Miami). For the new "Virgin cruise beer" is used English yeast and American malts and hops.
Virgin cruise deals
In regard to onboard gratuities, the company has "No Tipping" policy, which means all gratuities are included in the base cruise fares. Also included in basic fares are beverages, all eateries, group fitness classes. The company also doesn't charge penalties or change fees. Customers are able to hold staterooms for 24 hours with no money down once they've placed a 20% non-refundable deposit. They also have a 7-day grace period allowing them to change bookings for any reason. Cruise departure date and names on bookings can be changed without fees or penalties.
In February 2019), Virgin announced all-inclusive deal policy by which cruises are sold "by cabin price". Fares are also inclusive of dining (shipwide / 20 options, some 24-hours), unlimited WiFi, all fitness classes. Cabin pricing only varies by the number of occupants. For 5-day itineraries, fares start from ~USD 250 pp per day (excluding taxes-fees).
Valiant Lady - user reviews and comments
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Valiant Lady Wiki
On July 20, 2018, started the Valiant Lady ship's construction (Fincantieri hull number 6288) with the steel-cutting ceremony held at Sestri Ponente Shipyard, near Genoa). Earlier on the same day, the drydock was flooded and 2 large preassembled hull sections of Scarlet Lady were floated out and connected. Next timelapse video shows part of Fincantieri's Virgin ship construction (block assembly) process.
Virgin ship technology
Virgin cruise ships are with passenger capacity 2750 (plus 1150 crew), GT tonnage 110,000 tons, ABB Azipod XO propulsion system (electric drive motors with off-hull submerged azimuth thrusters / 360--degree rotating propellers). These units provide the best manoeuvrability (allowing in-port navigation without tug assistance) and minimal vibrations/noise. By placing the propulsion units outside the hull, the Azipod system frees up space for more lower-deck staterooms. ABB Ability technology is based on a network using real-time data transferred to remote centres monitoring and analyzing the propulsion system data and also offering remote technical support.
These vessels stand out with innovative design ideas and solutions, as well as the latest marine technologies for energy recovery and environmental impact reduction. Ship's cleaning energy system is provided by the Swedish company Climeon Ocean. The technology allows reducing CO2 emissions by converting diesel engines generated heat into electricity (capacity approx 1 MW) for onboard use. Each of the Virgin liners has 6 such units, saving annually approx 5400 tons of CO2. Ship's waste processing system is provided by Scanship.
Wartsila (Finnish marine technologies corporation / former shipbuilder) was contracted to provide ships' powerplants. Each liner is powered by two 8-cylinder plus two 12-cylinder "Wartsila 46F" marine diesel engines. Wartsila's Hybrid Scrubber System operates in both open and closed-loop and uses seawater to remove SOx from vessel's exhaust, also significantly reducing NOx emissions. The Wartsila-made navigation and automation control systems are from the company's latest NACOS Platinum series.
Alternative power is provided by 4-stroke engines powering the 4 electricity gen-sets, each equipped with TPL-C turbochargers (by ABB).
Godspeed to the new ship!
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