Our second day onboard Valiant Lady on the Irresistible Med itinarary was equally as alcohol-fuelled and amazing. Today we arrived in Toulon, and I awoke early with what I call my “I’m on a cruise” excitement. However, I think I’d have preferred not to be awake before 6 am…
Sunrise in the Hammock
I took the early wake-up call as an opportunity to enjoy our arrival into Toulon from the beautiful hammock on our Sea Terrace balcony. I spent more time in this hammock on this voyage than ever before, but it is one of the best features of a Sea Terrace cabin onboard Virgin Voyages.
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Breakfast onboard Valiant Lady
We had breakfast in our new favourite sport, the outside area of The Galley overlooking the aft of the ship. I’m not a fan of eating in direct sun, so it’s such a fantastic space where you can still be sat outside with fantastic views, but it’s pretty much completely shaded.
Since we had the Splash of Romance Package this sailing, we decided to get our daily pressed juice from The Dock House. We each get to choose a pressed juice drink each morning from the menu. I had the Orage, which is a Sweet Potato, Carrot, Lime and Orange drink; very delicious and a nice perk to have each morning as we went for our morning walk around the ship.
After getting changed, we headed off the ship around 11 am, so a little late for some, but as I mentioned in the day 1 post, we decided to take this voyage slower than usual and enjoy relaxing more than exploring. The weather was a little overcast, but still warm.
Irresistible Med – Toulon
We didn’t have any plans in mind other than to explore the nearby port town. I knew there was a cable car in the port after seeing friends’ photos from their trip in this itinerary, so we decided to hunt that down. Cut to us once again walking up the tallest hill in town to get to the cable car station, which was a lot higher up the hill than anticipated; this is fast becoming a tradition of ours, with zero intention for that to happen.
The cable car cost us €8 each for the return journey up and down the mountain, and the climb to the station was totally worth it in the end, despite what my legs may have said at the moment. You can get a bus here, but we worked that out after we’d already climbed to the top of the hill to the cable car station.
There are a few attractions at the top of the mountain, including a zoo and a war museum. After our climb up the hill to the station, we were desperate for a drink, so we opted to get a coffee at a small restaurant near the cable car station. It was clear they were prioritising guests who were willing to dine, as it took a while to get served, and they refused to serve us at the counter for some reason, but we managed to get a coffee each and enjoy some time relaxing in the outdoor seating area.
I then tried to fly my drone; however, the drone had other plans serving up a number of faults with the signal, and memory card, but I was able to capture this short bit of footage that offers a panoramic view of the area and a unique perspective of Valiant Lady from the mountain top.
Drone Footage of Toulon
After spending two hours at the top, it was time to start making our way back to the ship. We had a slow walk back to the port, taking in a few landmarks along the way.
I’m sure there is more to do here in the port, but I must confess we are really bad planners for port days; we rarely book excursions ourselves as we are often just happy to explore on foot and see where the day takes us.
This can bite us in the bum when we miss out on some must-do activities, but then we have also found some hidden gems ourselves that others may have paid to be guided two, so swings and roundabouts really.
Once we were back on the ship, we had a mini food crawl, where we walk from venue to venue grabbing snacks. This included another Pizza from The Pizza Place, and I got some Wings and a Hot Dog from The Social. Then we went back to our cabin for an hour to relax, catch up on emails, and then got dressed for our evening onboard Valiant Lady.
Sailaway from Toulon – Virgin Voyages Sailing Club
Before our evening meal, it was time to enjoy a beautiful sail way from Toulon. As we were sailing this time as members of Virgin Voyages Loyalty club the Sailing Club, and today was the day for the sail away cocktail hour. There are a number of perks as part of your membership, such as expedited boarding, daily coffee allowance, and laundry. On our sailing, the cocktail hour was on the Perch, an area at the aft of the ship, that offers beautiful views as you leave port. Fun fact, this is also the sport that’s reserved for topless sunbathing for those who maybe interested. It’s high up on the ship and not overlooked.
Virgin Voyages do offer to match your status from other cruise line/hotel and airline loyalty, so if you want to take advantage of these extra perks and haven’t yet sailed with Virgin Voyages, let us know, and we can help get that set for you.
During sunrise they will often run Yoga classes at the perch, but in most cases it’s a quiet space to relax and unwind in the sun.
The drinks were a choice of Sangria or Pink Sparkling wine, and Virgin was very generous with these. There were also canapes available, as well as a few crew members to chat with about anything you may need whilst sailing onboard, including Chris from the Happenings Cast and a member from the Next Voyage Desk. Both were very friendly, we knew Chris from our last voyage, so it was nice to chat more with him in a relaxed environment.
Dinner in The Wake
After more drinks than I could count, and making some new friends, we headed to our dinner reservation for the evening, which was at The Wake this evening, the onboard steakhouse.
I love the food at The Wake; usually, on other lines, steak this good is an extra charge, but here is one of the options for your evening meal. Phil does struggle with side and dessert options here, as there are limited options for those who are gluten-free.
You can see our full Gluten Free guide here; in general, Virgin Voyages do a fantastic job, but compared to the other eateries, The Wake is the most limited regarding Gluten Free options. I think this is more noticeable due to how much choice there is in the other eateries. We’ve had the same options from other lines when dining in their steakhouses.
I do love the views in The Wake if you are lucky to be sat near the aft windows. Sadly not lucky this time, but we were in a more intimate and private corner today, making it feel more like date night.
As we were leaving The Wake, we stopped by The Dock for a drink as Whitney, The Hostess, and Ty, The Gamer, were setting up for Risky Quizness, it was wonderful to see Whitney again; she also gave us a big hug and said she’d chat to us after the game show.
Risky Quizness is one of those game shows where you play in teams, and it’s more about the journey than the points; it’s a lot of fun as you play mini-games to win bonus barnacles, or steal them from opposing teams. We opted to watch this time as we learnt last time we are terrible at trivia and wanted to save the embarrassment.
After watching Risky Trivia, it was time to head to The Manor for Heartbeat.
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How do I explain Heartbeat? It’s a themed night club event, that’s part dance party, part performance. It’s spread over a few hours, with performances spread throughout the night.
At different times the Untitled Cast will perform dance numbers and dance on platforms with light-up costumes. At one point, there is a parashoot like we used to have in school for PE… honestly, it’s a sensory delight.
It all culminates in a song performance by the Unicorn, the onboard vocalist who’s a member of The Happenings Cast to Lordes Green Light with the lyrics adapted to Heart Beat.
It’s such a fun vibe, but it’s more a themed party than an outright performance. I think it’s also a good time to explain one of the unique things about Virgin Voyages and the atmosphere onboard.
You will never be the first person on the dancefloor! The Happenings Cast or the Untitled Cast will always be there to start any parties and happenings on the ship. They do a fantastic job of setting the mood and getting people to dance, or just chat with you if they see solo’s or couples alone.
It’s a secret weapon in what makes Virgin Voyage so special, the Cast become your friends for the Voyage, but they also look for ways to introduce you to fellow sailors also, be it from simple things like “They are from the same town”, or “They support the same team”, it’s subtle, never in your face, more like a friend intoducing you their friends, rather than manuplulative, but its fantastic to watch and see it, and we’ve made so many connection whilst on the ship from cast introdcuing us to likeminded sailors.
As we left The Manor at 2 am, it seemed like the perfect time for another drunken Photoshoot in the starlight corridor that leads into The Manor…. When will I ever learn that drunk-o-clock is never the best time for a photoshoot?
We then headed to The Galley for the After Party… it’s by no way an official listing in the schedule, but it happens most nights if I’m honest. Most nights with us onboard Virgin Voyages when we end up in The Manor are followed by early morning breakfast in The Galley. We often find most people end up here pre-empting the hangover with an all-day breakfast, and the atmosphere is just as high as it is in The Manor.
It’s not that people are partying in The Galley, but that people are still in high spirits and having fun. Most of our best friendships onboard a cemented in The Galley at 3 am.
Officially there is no closing time at The Manor. It often runs till the atmosphere falls flat. We have been partying till 4 am, but it does tend to trail off between 2-4 am, depending on the crowd on board and the port the next day.
That’s not to say you won’t eventually be sent to bed, but more, there isn’t a fixed time, and it can vary by how popular (i.e. how much people are spending at the bar if you are cynical), the night is.
Tomorrow we are in Marina Di Carrara, so hopefully, we get up in time to enjoy it.