MIAMI — Forget cruising, says Sir Richard Branson. On a Virgin ship, it’s a “voyage”. Virgin Voyages, coming in 2020, aims to convince all those consumers who say they’ll never cruise that a vacation on a ship can be hip, sophisticated and fun. It’s what the cruise industry has tried to do, with varying degrees of success, for decades.
The Virgin Voyages name and logo was unveiled yesterday at Faena Hotel Miami Beach, complete with a theatrical performance where Virgin Group Founder Branson appeared with two performers who danced on deck chairs in front of an audience of international news media, Miami politicos and business leaders.
Together with Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin, the two shared that Virgin Voyages has officially signed a ship building contract for three vessels with Italian master shipbuilder Fincantieri, and that the company will be the first cruise line to adopt the clean energy system, Climeon Ocean.
“Thousands of future sailors and travel professionals shared their thoughts with us and tasked us with delivering the most irresistible vacation at sea and that our name alone should leave them dizzy with anticipation,” said Branson. “I’m excited to reveal we are now Virgin Voyages, and while we have lots of work ahead to build our three ships, we can’t wait to welcome you aboard the ship of things to come.”
Virgin Voyages expects the multibillion dollar financing package for the purchase of its three ships to be finalized shortly. McAlpin outlined a ship building schedule including steel cutting in early 2017, followed by the keel laying in Genoa in the fourth quarter of 2017.
“This is anything but just another cruise or holiday, it will be a transformational experience delivering a very ‘Virgin style’ of adventure,” said McAlpin.
Virgin Voyages’ first ship will arrive at PortMiami in 2020, hosting more than 2,700 passengers and 1,150 crew. For the first ship, Virgin Voyages will offer a range of Caribbean itineraries to ports that deliver “unique and very social experiences”. See virginvoyages.com.