Get ready, because there is a new cruise ship in town by 2020 and Virgin Cruises will be steering the voyage. In a press conference attended by the Miami Herald at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson proudly announced, “Very happy to share that we’re full steam ahead.”
According to an article written by Branson in the Virgin Group’s website, he has been dreaming of putting up his very own cruise line for some time now. In fact, he wanted one since he was 27. And so with much accomplishment and pride, he joined Virgin Cruises President and CEO Tom McAlpin onstage to share the happy news.
When 2020 comes, the start of every sail would be in Miami. After all, McAlpin told Miami Herald that the place is “without a doubt the best fit” for the new brand. Moreover, McAlpin believes that Miami is “vibrant, red-hot, sassy, sexy and obviously international.”
Furthermore, he explains that Miami’s port infrastructure and proximity to the Caribbean were key factors in their decision to berth the new cruise line in the area. In addition, Miami Herald reports that county commissioners will be making a vote next week with regard to a preferential berthing agreement with Virgin Cruises for five years. The said agreement will also have an option to extend for another five.
Furthermore, all the cruise ships will reportedly come from Italian ship manufacturer Ficantieri which has been in the business since 1959, the company website states. In fact, Miami Herald has learned that Virgin Cruises’ representatives have already signed a letter of intent for Fincantieri to build three ships. Each will weigh approximately 110,000 tons and will be able to serve around 2,800 passengers each. Moreover, the target dates for each ship’s sail are 2020, 2021 and 2022.
According to an Associated Press report published by The Salt Lake Tribune, Virgin Cruises is looking to offer a seven-day Carribean cruise that departs on Sundays. Moreover, the upcoming cruise line has expressed interest in sailing to Cuba.
During the event, Miami Herald tried to get the cost of the new ships, but McAlpin would not disclose the figures. Nonetheless, Branson mentioned it’s “under $2 billion anyway.”