Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
MIAMI — Virgin Voyages is getting ready to open the books for 2020 sailings on its first ship, Scarlet Lady, starting Feb. 14, 2019 and has also released renderings of its just-announced 100,000-square-foot dedicated Virgin Voyages terminal at PortMiami.
“Since we’re already feeling the love, Pre-Sale Deposit Holders will be able to book passage aboard our Scarlet Lady starting February 5, 2019. We will be open for business for all sailors beginning February 14, 2019,” says the cruise line.
Virgin Voyages says Scarlet Lady will continue to sail to the Caribbean from Miami throughout 2021. The company’s second ship will sail from Miami during the fall/winter cruise season of 2021/22.
Meanwhile the new Virgin Voyages Terminal will be located on the northwest side of the port. Pending the Board of County Commission’s approval of the MOU for construction of a new cruise facility, along with the subsequent berthing agreement, the project will start next year and is slated for completion by November 2021.
“Miami is an incredible city and one of my favorite places to work and play,” said Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson. “From our headquarters for Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages and now Virgin Trains USA, South Florida has quickly become another home for Virgin brands in the leisure travel sector.”
Adds Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin: “South Florida is our home, and with our fleet now growing to four ships, we’re humbled and thankful to soon have a gorgeous new terminal overlooking the Miami skyline, an incredible view that will set the stage for the alluring journey that we will take our sailors on.”
The new terminal is designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, the same architecture firm that designed American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami, Brickell City Centre Complex in Brickell and the Miami City Ballet in South Beach.
Arquitectonica has designed the terminal’s rooftop to resemble a palm tree grove with pockets that allow natural light to flow into the building by day, “and gorgeous beams to light up our iconic Virgin Voyages logo (as well as the Miami sky) by night, allowing our future home to shine brightly.”
The two-storey storm-proof glass facility will boast lush landscaping, giving the terminal a plaza-like feel with designated areas for VIP drop-offs, as well as ride-sharing and provisioning, all designed to provide a seamless shore to ship experience, says the cruise line.
Earlier this month Virgin Voyages announced its plans to build a fourth ship from Fincantieri shipyard, set for delivery in 2023 and accommodating 2,770 passengers.
The cruise line also announced Cuba as one of the destinations for its first ship Scarlet Lady, setting sail in 2020.
The adults-only cruise line has created considerable buzz in the industry. In a recent feature story for Travelweek, McAlpin said Canada is a “great market” for Virgin Voyages and talked about his plans for this market.
A number of trade-focused initiatives will be included in the line’s rollout over the next year, like a First Mates website and an expanding sales force that will educate front-line agents.