Virgin Voyages’ New Ship Valiant Lady Launches From London

Virgin Voyages, Richard Branson’s cruise line, today celebrated the official introduction of its second signature vessel, the 2,770-passenger Valiant Lady.

The debuted Friday morning with an epic launch celebration at London International Cruise Terminal in Tilbury, where Valiant Lady is docked. There’s also a special event lined up to take place at The Manor (the ship’s onboard nightclub) this evening, complete with food, drink and music from world-class DJs.

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Next, the 912-foot-long, 110,000-gross-ton vessel Valiant Lady will head to Portsmouth on England’s southern coast for her maiden voyage, departing on March 18, which will take guests on a three-night voyage to Zeebrugge, Belgium.

Branson’s lifestyle cruise brand launched its first adults-only cruise ship, the Scarlet Lady, just last year, amid the pandemic. Following a preview season in the United Kingdom, Scarlet Lady began sailing four- and five-night Caribbean voyages from Miami.

Structurally and aesthetically, Valiant Lady’s interiors and exteriors are nearly identical to her predecessor’s, evoking a glitzy, boutique-hotel feel. While offering singularly sophisticated features and amenities, the brand has also designed the ships to provide guests with a straightforward and relaxed onboard experience.

“We’ve thrown out the rule book and said goodbye to bow ties and buffets,” Tom McAlpin, CEO of Virgin Voyages said at today’s launch. “Instead, our ships are exclusively adult, have a no-tipping policy and boast some of the best dining experiences you’ll find at sea, or on land for that matter—including the world’s first Korean BBQ, and the biggest collection of Mezcal and Tequila, at sea. This is what it means to set sail the Virgin way and we can’t wait to welcome Sailors—old and new—on board.”

Stateroom interior aboard Virgin Voyages’ ship, the Valiant Lady. (photo via Virgin Voyages)

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand for travel,” Virgin Voyages President Nirmal Saverimuttu told CNN, giving Virgin reason to believe that Valiant Lady is entering service in time for a busy summer season that’s anticipated as global restrictions continue to ease. “After a tough two years, people are excited to explore the world again and it means a lot to us that we can help facilitate that,” McAlpin also remarked.

According to a Virgin Group release, Virgin Voyages has experienced a 174-percent in bookings over the last six months, indicating that the cruise industry is poised for a robust rebound this year, with demand potentially returning to pre-pandemic levels. Research conducted by Virgin Voyages also found that a whopping 96 percent of survey participants are keen to go on a cruise in 2022.

In May, Valiant Lady will begin operating from her new homeport in Barcelona, sailing itineraries that include overnight stays in such destinations as Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, the Canary Islands, Lisbon, Belgium and Ibiza. Later this year, the new ship is also slated to start sailing brand-first voyages down in Australia.

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