Virgin Voyages mega cruise liner Valiant Lady leaves Portsmouth on its maiden voyage to Belgium

The 277m luxury cruise liner arrived in Portsmouth on Tuesday March 1 and has now embarked its passengers for a three-day voyage to Zeebrugge.

Among its 2,700 passengers were Christine and Michael Quigley from Essex, the couple delighted to be away after Covid-19 derailed their plans to sail on Virgin Voyages’ sister ship, Scarlet Lady.

Register to our daily newsletter

The newsletter mute the noise

Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady prepares for her first commercial cruise from the Portsmouth Cruise Terminal on Friday afternoon. Enthusiastic passengers arrived at the dock all afternoon to board the huge cruise ship. Photos by Alex Shute

Speaking ahead of the ship’s departure from Portsmouth, Michael said: ‘We had booked for Scarlet Lady’s maiden voyage and that was canceled due to the pandemic.

“So we’re thrilled to be here for the Valiant Lady.

“So far this year we have only been on a rowing boat – we hope it will be very different.”

Read more

Read more

Several cars and motorbikes in Southsea were torched in a ‘deliberate’ and…

Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady prepares for her first commercial cruise from the Portsmouth Cruise Terminal on Friday afternoon. Photos by Alex Shute

Portsmouth International Port completed a £6.2million extension and upgrade to its quays last year to allow mega cruise liners to visit the city, and Valiant Lady is set to bring an increase in £1.5million to the city per trip.

Andy Williamson, passenger operations manager, said: “This is the first international U-turn call we have made since the pandemic. The whole port is buzzing. It’s great to see.

Similar to her sister ship, the Valiant Lady will make a series of voyages departing from Portsmouth between March 18 and May 2, before sailing to Barcelona and the Mediterranean this summer.

It comes as the cruise industry begins to report a rebound in business following the pandemic, with Virgin Voyages reporting that bookings have jumped 178% in the past six months.

Speaking at the launch of Valiant Lady, Tom McAlpin, CEO of Virgin Voyages, said: “After two difficult years people are excited to explore the world again and it means a lot to us that we can help make it easier that. We know that more than ever, travelers want to invest in quality experiences. They’re looking for the best value, and that’s exactly what we deliver.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron

Subscribe here for unlimited access to all our coverage, including Pompey, for just 26p a day.