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Taste the Med with these 4-night cruises to Spanish coasts & the French Riviera

Mediterranean cruise for a long weekend anyone? Virgin Voyages is offering a tempting selection of four-night taste cruises this summer – here’s what you need to know.

Mediterranean cruises are among the most popular holidays for cruising fans but if you’re short on time, or not sure whether the region is right for you, do you want to dedicate a whole week to sailing the Med?

Enter Virgin Voyages. The adults-only cruise line is offering a range of four-night Mediterranean cruise holidays this summer calling at some of the continent’s hottest, well, hotspots. Who said a mini break had to be to the Cotswolds?

Admire Gaudí’s famous architecture in Spain, pretend you’re a movie star in the French Riviera or sip on a glass of Pastis in Marseille… don’t mind if we do! You’ll even get an overnight night stay on the island of Mallorca (yup, plenty of time to hit those fabulous Balearic bars and clubs!).

The taster voyages – fun-sized versions of Virgin’s full seven-night French Daze and Ibiza Nights itinerary if you will – are taking place on cruise ship Valiant Lady in May through September 2023 and prices include return flights from multiple UK airports. Hooray!

Your getaway begins in Catalonian capital Barcelona, home to a flourishing art scene and super fresh seafood. Here you’ll find bucket-list destinations such as La Sagrada Familia and La Rambla plus a host of unique districts like Barri Gotic and its historic streets or El Born and countless bars and boutiques.

Next up is Marseille, France’s second-largest city and gateway to spectacular Provence. Among Virgin’s many shore excursions here, you can take a tuk-tuk tour of the city or hike Calanques National Park, finishing off with a swim in the Med’s crystalline waters and a scrumptious picnic on the beach.

Alternatively, visit the nearby seaside village of Le Castellet brimming with historic cobblestone streets before joining a wine-tasting experience.

Over in Cannes, you’ll want to keep one eye peeled for celebrity spotting amid the massive yachts or along La Croisette, the town’s long beach promenade.

Virgin Voyages shore excursions include a guided day trip to Saint Tropez, a vin-tasting sesh at an 18th-century château in the gorgeous Provençal countryside, or renting a sports car for the day to sample that iconic James-Bond-in-the-French-Riviera feeling. Why not treat yourself to a martini when you’re back onboard Valiant Lady to go the whole hog?

Your final port of call is Palma de Mallorca, home to a staggering beautiful cathedral, winding streets and cute cafés. There are more wine-tasting opportunities to lap up (these voyages aren’t called tasters for nothing!), a kayaking excursion, a visit to the town of Deià (a historic second home to writers, actors and musicians) and more.

However, it’s not just fabulous French and Spanish destinations you’ll benefit from during these four-night taster sailings – you’ll be treated to free drinks too!

That’s right, these tasty (see what we did there?) packages come with a free $300 bar tab per cabin! That’s a lotttt of free cocktails for you guys – and that’s on top of all the incredible food included in your Virgin Voyages cruise.

Did you know, there are more than 20 eateries onboard? Can you hit up all of them on your four-night cruise? Don’t worry there’s a gym and spa where you can balance out the indulgence – plus you’ll definitely be getting your steps in during your Mediterranean shore excursions.

So how do you bag these mini breaks at sea? Well, they’re part of an exclusive partnership so all you need to do is book the Mediterranean cruises through a travel agent! Easy peasy.

Don’t worry about missing out by taking the shorter holiday – you’ll get the full Virgin experience on these four nights, from the line’s entertainment programme to hitting up the free group workout classes (you’ll burn off those pain au chocolats in no time!).

Having a mini break doesn’t mean you’ll be rushed off the ship either. Sailors, as Virgin Voyages likes to call passengers, have until 11am to disembark on the final morning of their Mediterranean cruise to allow the most flexibility and an opportunity to enjoy time in port or onboard before the ship sets sail.

Of course, if you simply cannot tear yourself away from the amazing nightclubs, the tattoo parlour or the games arcade onboard Virgin’s cruise ship, then…you don’t need to!

Guests have the option to upgrade to an extended stay – you just have to reach out to the Virgin Voyages Holiday Matchmaker onboard at the Future Voyage sales desk and they’ll chat through pricing and get you set up. Yeah, let’s get back to the pool, shall we?

However, holidaymakers should be aware that because these are a unique set of voyages there are no single sailor reductions available. What’s more, the Taster Voyages are priced exclusively for double occupancy Sea Terrace cabins so there are no third or fourth passenger options.

That said, the Virgin Voyages Sailor App will prove a pal before and during your cruise. You can book dining reservations directly through the app starting 45 days before the holiday while shore excursions can be booked from 120 days prior.

Furthermore, the app will also help ease your boarding experience if you complete the Ready To Sail process ahead of arrival at the terminal (you’ll be given a set arrival time to ensure a seamless process, with boarding generally beginning from 12pm).

Ready to go? All of the taster voyages throughout the summer follow the same itinerary so you’ll just need to pick the dates that suit you best!

What’s more, your agent can help arrange a pre-cruise stay in Barcelona or a post-cruise jolly in Palma de Mallorca if you want to add some land time onto your holiday (note there will be luggage assistance in the latter if you require help) – which we suspect you’ll be keen to!

But, if you simply can’t stay, we’re sure you’ll be back for more once you’ve had a taste (geddit?) of the stunning Mediterranean with Virgin Voyages. We’d better start drinking some pastis now, just to practice.

Set Sail

4-night Taster Voyage with Virgin Voyages

Duration: 4 nights

Where: Barcelona, Spain | Marseille, France | Cannes, France | Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Ship: Valiant Lady

Price: From £899 pp

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Published 28.01.23