Richard Branson’s Virgin Cruises has signed a binding letter of intent with Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri for three new mid-size ships, and has selected PortMiami as the home port for its first cruise ship that will set sail in 2020.
Virgin Cruises’ three new mid-size ships, of about 110,000 gross tons each, are slated for delivery in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Each ship will feature 1,430 guest cabins to host more than 2,800 guests. Embarking from PortMiami, Virgin Cruises plans to offer a range of seven-day Caribbean itineraries, with a Sunday sail date.
”This is a very exciting day for Virgin and travellers around the globe,” Richard Branson said. ”We now have the right partners in place to build a world-class cruise line that will redefine the cruising experience for good. The Virgin Cruises approach will appeal to cruisers and non-cruisers alike, and we look forward to being in Miami and delivering an experience for people who want a new way to cruise.”
Virgin Cruises’ binding letter of intent with Fincantieri is the first part of a two-step process with both companies committed to signing a contract at the end of 2015. The PortMiami agreement will be present at the Miami-Dad County Board of Commissioners meeting on June 30, 2015.
”We are committed to making waves in the cruise industry, and partnering with Fincantieri and PortMiami sets Virgin Cruises up to do just that,” said Virgin Cruises CEO Tom McAlpine. ”Today’s announcement brings together important ingredients in our future success – Miami’s vibrant culture paired with the excellent Port infrastructure and Port team; and Fincantieri’s expertise in prototyping, their creativity and understanding of our vision.”