Day 4 onboard Valiant Lady and sailing the Irresistible Med and Wow!!! Virgin Voyages Ajaccio is a beautiful port! So beautiful and picturesque, and we docked right in the heart of the town.
Waking up in Ajaccio
We woke up to the sight of a massive eye encroaching on our view. Aida Cosma was pulling in just as we woke up, and the view of that eye from the bed was more than a little unsettling. Aida is a German Cruise line owned and operated by Carnival Cruise Corporation, Aisa Cosma joined their feel in late 2021, so she’s a brand new ship just like Valiant Lady.
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She certainly looks like fun, with a visible water park aft of the ship, but I’ll take the adult-only side of life any day onboard Valiant Lady.
Breakfast in The Galley
We got out of bed around 9:40, so a late start for most. We decided to head to the Dock first to get our daily juice as part of our Splash of Romance Package. We had a leisurely walk through the ship and made our way to our usual breakfast spot, and today more than ever, we were blown away by the beautiful view.
We then headed off the ship to free explore. Again, we’re not the best people for booking Shore Things as Virgin Voyages call them or Port Excursions. We often prefer to wander around, take in a few sights, and relax in a cafe.
I had my drone with me on this trip. However, I’m the laziest pilot ever and never plan ahead to ensure I can get some good footage. If I’m honest, it’s often complicated due to the local rules and laws about flying drones, and you have to head to an open space to film without breaking any rules.
Ajaccio however did have a perfect spot to take off safely near both the ship, and the beach, so I took my drone up for a short flight and got some excellent footage.
Both myself and my drone are registered with the CAA in the UK, and I followed all the rules and guidance for flying. For anyone wondering, I have the DJI Mini.
Virgin Voyages are very relaxed about sailors bringing drones onboard, however, that will only last as long as people follow the rules. Officially they do say they aren’t allowed onboard, so this could all change any time, but I’ve taken mine onboard twice and not had any issues.
When you board the ship they take either the controller or the drone itself and hold it whilst you are onboard. I’ve always been able to ask if I can have one or the other to charge it/get the footage off the memory card, and they are understanding and work with me. You will get a security ticket to hand in whenever you want to collect the drone to take it off the ship when you are in port.
Ajaccio is a beautiful port, and as you can see from the video footage, the ship docks right in the heart of the city. It’s the largest settlement in Corsica and is the birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte. His ancestral home is also a museum that’s available to visit, however, I only learnt this after we left, but something for next time.
We headed straight for the beachfront, which was a short 15-minute walk away from where Valiant Lady was docked. After filming with the drone, we grabbed a coffee from a local cafe across the beach. We spent the best part of an hour here, enjoying the sun in the shade and watching the world go by. I do forget that the French like to smoke a lot, so be prepared for that sadly if you choose to sit outside of any cafe.
We then walked through the city, taking in the sights and some local shops. We ventured into what looked like a fort, there wasn’t much to see here that we could work out at least. There was a bar serving drinks if you wanted something refreshing to cool down with and some local art, but little to explain what anything was.
We continued to explore the town without any major plan in mind, browsing a few shops before deciding to make our way back to the ship, but not before finding a perfect spot that was safe to fly the drone near the ship, a rare opportunity as most ports are restricted airspace.
Splash of Romance Cocktail Sailaway
Once back on the ship, we grabbed a quick bite to eat from The Galley, we headed to our cabin to freshen up and prepare for another cocktail sail away event. We had the Splash of Romance package for this sailing, which includes a sail away cocktail hour.
Once again, this took place on The Perch, similar to the sail away hour that’s included for those who are members of the Sailor Club Loyalty Club. Like that reception, this one also included members of the crew who were there to speak with and answer any questions you may have, as well as live music and unlimited bubbles and sangria.
The Perch, and the aft of the ship in the Athletic club (Don’t let the name fool you, it’s a beautiful space at the aft with panoramic views, very little athletics involved), are perfect for sail away as you watch the port disappear into the distance.
We then walked slowly to our dinner this evening in Razzle Dazzle via the upper deck outdoor spaces to enjoy the beautiful golden sunset.
I found a new toilet with a beautiful wall that’s perfect for a photo shoot! The ship is full of gorgeous details, and often makes use of textures and materials that shimmer in different light, it’s a beautiful effect and I never tire of.
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Dinner in Razzle Dazzle
We then headed to Razzle Dazzle, and I really do love the decor here, and the food is always exciting.
We both ate from the secret, not so secret, seeing as they tell you about it, menu.
I had the Buttered Chicken Curry, which has taken on legendary status with many sailors for being one of the best dishes on the ship. I can see why; it was terrific, full of flavour and a welcomed cuisine option (Indian) that’s not readily available elsewhere on the ship. Phil had the steak, which he claims is better than the steak in The Wake, and he wasn’t the only person who said so that evening.
Some would say this is the diluting of the Vegetarian Forward nature of Razzle Dazzle, which it very may well be, but I think it’s important to share that these are options for those who may dismiss the eatery because they believe it’s 100% vegetarian.
After Razzle Dazzle, we killed some time exploring the ship. I played some games in the arcade, and we had a drink in Sip, the cocktail lounge located just off the Roundabout and before the Red Room theatre space.
Around the World with the Diva
We watched people heading to the Red Room to watch Dual Reality, which we had seen on previous sailings, so decided to skip it this time. That’s not a slight on the show, it’s incredible, but we had no plans to change our dining plans this voyage if they clashed with shows.
That’s one thing I will point out. On traditional cruise lines, the entertainment is often run twice, and around the two main dining times, so you can rest assured that you can see all the onboard entertainment as it’s scheduled around when you will be eating.
Virgin don’t have fixed dining times, which we love, so this isn’t a complaint from us. The entertainment schedule may not go live until a few days before your voyage, so you may have to book meal times without knowing what time shows are happening.
Our top tip would be to try and keep 8-10 clear as much as possible. The headline shows are often during these times and it’s easier to move back 30 minutes or so whilst onboard.
You can always join the walk-up list for all eateries, so don’t feel if you don’t get any reservations, you won’t be able to eat, the crew will do their best to accommodate you. The Wake always books up first, followed by Extra Virgin or Pink Agave.
After having a few drinks, we watched Around the World with the Diva, which we adore. It’s a camptastic drag show with the Diva, a member of the Happenings Cast in the Manor nightclub. The core show structure is the same, but each Diva is allowed to put their spin on it, and Martina is fantastic; she had us howling.
Then after a few more drinks in the Manor, we decided to head off to bed
Ordering from Ship Eats (Room Service)
I ordered from Ship Eats, the onboard room service menu, and Phil grabbed a pizza on his way back to the room from The Pizza Place.
A quick tip regarding Ship Eats, there is a delivery fee of $5 per order, however, that fee is waived if you spend over $5. The food is included, so there is no cost there. So we would order some premade cocktails to keep in our mini fridge to have later when getting ready, or to take home at the end of the voyage. These are $13, but you can also order beer for $6 a can, and half bottles of wine from around $15. Redbull and Kambutcha are also available for around $6.
The sky was beautifully clear, so I tried to take some pictures, apparently the iPhone 12 pro specialises in night photos… I’m not convinced, but here they are here, nonetheless.
Food took about an hour, which in defence of Virgin, they did say it would, but I think the moment passed for me by the time it did arrive. I was secretly hoping it would be sooner when I ordered my food. But that was on me, not Virgin.
I ordered the delicious chicken soup and Strip steak, which were 100% worth the wait in the end, so not a total disaster.
I watched the Secrets of Dumbledore, hoping that by watching it on a ship would mean I wouldn’t be giving any extra money to JK Rowling to support some of the outrageous things she has been saying recently… but it was OK as I fell asleep within minutes as it’s a bore fest anyway.
Feel free to contact me if you want bland film recommendations on your cruise… With this and Morbius the other night, I’m becoming an expert at picking them. Perfect however, for those looking to fall asleep.