Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady - a Really Honest Review

Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady Review

Hey Owlets,

If you read my original Virgin Voyages review from my time on board Scarlet Lady then you’re probably shocked to see that I’ve been back on board a Virgin Voyages ship since. If I’m honest I wasn’t expecting it either, but when Virgin Voyages invited me for a whirlwind 12 hours on board their new ship, Valiant Lady, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I’m a firm believer in people (and cruise lines) learning from mistakes so I was keen to see if Virgin Voyages had listened to the criticisms they received from Scarlet Lady’s maiden season and used this to improve their second ship. I’m going to be referencing my Scarlet Lady review a lot in this article as I look to see if things have improved, so I suggest you read that before moving onto my Valiant Lady review.

Before we get into it there are a few things to note. Number one, we experienced issues with boarding AGAIN. This was down to an issue with the PR company, not Virgin Voyages themselves, but it meant that we missed most of the entertainment as the cruise line are very app-focused which didn’t work for us as we didn’t have a booking number. This means that I’m sadly not able to update you on the issues we had with the shows on board Scarlet Lady, but we did still experience entertainment around the ship so I’ll touch on that. Of course this also means that I can’t walk you through the app’s functionality (sorry!).

Secondly, I wanted to point out that Valiant Lady is the same class ship as Scarlet Lady and Virgin Voyages had already ordered Valiant Lady’s construction before Scarlet Lady’s maiden voyage. This means that for the most part the ship is identical (or at least very similar) to Scarlet Lady, and they weren’t able to make changes to some common criticisms like the tiny pool. Having said that, they’ve listened to feedback and implemented changes wherever possible so I’ll touch on that in my review.

Finally, they had a VIP guest on board and because of this they’d taken the decision to close all of the suites, so I’m unable to provide an update on the issues I had with Scarlet Lady’s suites.

After all of those caveats, lets (finally) jump into the review.

Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas - A Very Honest Review

Cruise and luxury travel blogger, Becky The Owlet, in front of Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas docked in Liverpool

Hey Owlets,

It feels so odd to be writing about Royal Caribbean again, but here we are. If you’re a long time reader of The Owlet you’ll remember me saying that you shouldn’t go back to the same ship twice, after my magical first cruise on Independence of the Seas was overshadowed by a trip that was equally memorable for all the wrong reasons. I’ve spent a few years exploring other cruise lines, but post-pandemic my parents are no longer able to sail with any Carnival lines due to the stricter health requirements, so we looked into giving Royal Caribbean another chance and found a deal for a week on board Anthem of the Seas that we just couldn’t say no to! I’ll be honest with you, I was very apprehensive about it after my previous RCCL experience but I was drawn in my remembering the magic of my first trip, and you know what? I’m really glad I gave it another go. 

What's Happening with The Owlet?

Cruise and Travel Blogger Becky The Owlet on board Anthem of the Seas

Hey Owlets,

It’s been such a long time since I last uploaded that I’m wondering if I can even still call you that? Let’s call it what it is - 2021 was a total train wreck for my blog. I think I uploaded maybe 10 blog posts, if that. I’ve had loads of messages asking if I’m still going to be a blogger, and even people coming up to me in the street and asking why I don’t post anymore. So, with that in mind I wanted to take some time now to catch you up and explain what’s been happening.

For three incredible years I was so lucky to call The Owlet my job - opening my emails to find someone asking me to review a cruise ship or fly to a random country for an epic road trip (here’s looking at you, Romania). Then 2020 happened. As much as I love my blog I’m sure you can understand that there isn’t a lot of call for a travel blogger in the middle of a pandemic. I woke up one morning (actually the morning I was supposed to be heading to Barcelona for a work trip - go figure) to find that my job was no longer required, along with the rest of the travel industry.

My options were go and get a normal job, hope the pandemic didn’t last too long or work something out - well winging it has worked for me so far so that seemed like the obvious choice. 

Why the Productivity Movement is Toxic

Plus size Bristol blogger The Owlet in Bristol

 Hey Owlets,

This past year has been the year of the side hustle. Saving hours of commuting time every day, multiple lockdowns and not being able to be social in our down time has led people to question what we do with all this free time? And the answer seems fairly obvious on the face of it. There’s so much content online about creating financial freedom and being your own boss - you’ve got all free now so why not start working on growing your brand/business/freelancing career so you never have to go back to the office when this is over with? It seems like an ideal plan, but it’s toxic.

In Search of the "Cruise Ship Sparkle" Post-Pandemic

UK Travel Blogger Becky The Owlet on a balcony on board Princess Cruises Regal Princess

Hey Owlets,

If you read my post a few weeks ago you’ll know that I’ve been really struggling to find the motivation with my blog in the last few months. While I started my blog in 2016, it was in 2017 after just one chance encounter and an unplanned cruise got me hooked on travel that The Owlet was really born. For three glorious years I got to travel, see more of what was on my doorstep and what was further afield and I could finally say that I was doing something I loved. So in 2020 when my wings were unexpectedly clipped and I found myself tethered to a two mile radius in a seaside town that no one has ever heard of, I lost my “why”. It’s understandable - when your whole personality revolves around a love of exploring and adventure, a 2 mile radius is never going to be enough to fulfil you - anyway, how do you write about travel if no one is allowed to do it anymore?

One of the things I found hardest was not being able to cruise, so when the opportunity finally came up to be able to get back to doing what I love most I was more than a little surprised to find myself apprehensive. I’ve long spoken about the magic of cruising where everything feels like it’s straight out of a fairytale and you’re the princess. I love being able to make friends with guests and crew and see new places knowing that at the end of the day I get to re-board my floating home and quite literally sail into the sunset for the next destination.

5 Unmissable Destinations for a UK Road Trip

Plus size blogger The Owlet in South Wales, UK

Hey Owlets, 

Lockdown is easing up and the world is beginning to feel a little more accessible again, but for a lot of people (including me) it feels just a little bit soon to be starting to travel internationally. Last summer Jack and I went on a mini road trip around the South West region of the UK; even though the idea was born out of being desperate to travel but not feeling safe to go abroad we absolutely loved it and I’m now totally sold on the idea of a road trip in normal times too, not just as a pandemic appropriate holiday. 

How I Fought the Comparison Cliche

Bristol Blogger The Owlet in the sunshine in Portishead

Hey Owlets,

They say that comparison is the thief of joy. I have no idea who “they” are exactly but they’re right.

It’s such a cliche phrase that even as I’m writing this I’m desperately trying to come up with a title that doesn’t have people rolling their eyes and scrolling past - the internet is all about clicks after all. The thing is, that’s the problem.

For five years now I’ve called The Owlet my home on the internet. I’ve been lucky to meet incredible people from across the globe, create a life that gives me freedom and makes me truly happy. I open my phone to an inbox flooded with kind messages and happy anecdotes that people just wanted to share with me. I’ve created content that I’m truly proud of and worked with brands that I could only dream of knowing I exist. I am so lucky and I have worked so hard to have these things in my life and yet this week I lost sight of it all. 

Plus Size Party Look Book

plus size party lookbook formal wear ideas

Hey Owlets,

It’s getting towards that time of year where party invites are starting to mount up in my email so I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of my favourite go-to outfits to give you some style inspiration for any Christmas events you may have. I went through a phase a few years ago where I’d just started to get invited to press events, so every time I got an invite I bought a new dress. However since then my wardrobe has started overflowing with formalwear, so I’ve been making sure I wear what I already own instead of buying new, and some clear favourites have emerged.