Valiant Lady’s atrium, The Roundabout, lies at the heart of the ship and opens out onto other spaces
Europe is renowned for its diverse cuisine, rich history and culture, and relaxed lifestyles that celebrate ‘joie de vivre’. And Virgin Voyages’ new ship Valiant Lady, scheduled to debut in November 2021, has been created to embody these cornerstones of European culture.
“Valiant Lady is going to be positioned in the Mediterranean, sailing out of Barcelona, Spain,” says Dee Cooper, Virgin Voyages’ senior vice president of design. “Inspired by the stunning backdrops of the region, we have selected artwork which builds on the romance of sailing around the historical European ports.”
The onboard spaces have been designed with Valiant Lady’s destinations in mind. For example, The Grounds Club pays homage to Europe’s famous coffee culture. “We’ve really honoured this with our porthole seating and ocean blue high-top tables to create a convivial gathering place and a relaxing area to watch the sea and the onboard hustle and bustle,” says Cooper.
Extra Virgin, one of the ship’s many dining options, also follows the regional theme by offering Italian-inspired cuisine with a modern twist. “Here you can meet friends for a refreshing Aperol Spritz, or dine in for a generous antipasti spread and a selection of excellent wines,” says Cooper. “The space really represents the European dining culture with touches of Italian terrazzo and verdant green.”
Elsewhere, Virgin has incorporated the importance of ocean views and the ship’s surrounding landscape into the onboard décor to continually reconnect guests to the sea and the engineering structure of the ship.
“When we first started planning the ship’s interior, we realised the opportunity that we had to create an exceptional cabin experience,” says Cooper. “Our ships have been designed to create a natural and authentic connection to the sea, so we have worked to make each cabin a sanctuary where guests can make the most of the amazing views.
“We’ve achieved this by introducing a range of accessories, vanity tables and spacious bathrooms. In addition, we have designed the staterooms so that guests can configure the room into a lounge space during the day and then transform it back into a luxury bedroom at night.”
However, Cooper believes that there are a few spaces which are even more noteworthy. “Upon first entrance, you’ll find yourself in the atrium, also known as The Roundabout, where you can truly appreciate the size of the ship and enjoy some quintessential Virgin Voyages features with the Voyage Vinyl record shop and Octopus sculpture,” she says. “We also have the fabulous promenade deck with a 360-degree walk-around and outside dining spaces including the Pizza Place and The Dock, where you can lounge all day enjoying cocktails and seafood as you watch the wake roll away.”
Cooper’s personal favourite space is the Redemption Spa. “It offers a really modern spa experience with a hammam, plunge pools and high-end treatment spaces. It’s also located on Deck 5, which offers a great reminder of our connection to the sea through large portholes where you can watch the waves roll past.”
Upon her delivery, Valiant Lady will also play host to some new concepts. “Our art and entertainment will feature different selections, showcasing more European artists and inspiration from that part of the world,” says Cooper.
In addition, Virgin Voyages has been exploring the use of new technologies to ensure a safe onboard environment. “During this time of pause we have taken the opportunity to evaluate our health and safety protocols above and beyond the existing measures,” says Cooper. “One investment we made was with AtmosAir, an air purification system that kills 99.9 per cent of all viruses and bacteria.”
This article was first published in the 2021 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
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