In a flurry of press releases today, it is announced that Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri will build three cruise ships for Virgin Cruises.
“– FINCANTIERI S.p.A., world leader in cruise ship construction, and Virgin Cruises, brand of Virgin Group and new cruise operator, have signed a binding Letter of Intent (LOI) for the construction of three cruise ships. The agreement, subject to the satisfaction of the usual customary conditions, is expected to be finalized in Q4 of 2015.”
The new vessels are listed at 110,000 gross tons each with 1430 guest cabins to host more than 2800 passengers on board, and 1150 crew. The delivery is scheduled respectively in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
In a release from Virgin Cruises today Sir Richard Branson, (founder of the Virgin Group), announced today that Virgin Cruises has selected Miami, Florida as the home port for its first cruise ship that will set sail in 2020.
“Emerging through a cloud of iconic Virgin red smoke, Sir Richard flew across Miami’s Biscayne Bay via helicopter landing at Museum Park. Joined by Virgin Cruises’ President and CEO Tom McAlpin, the two raised a Virgin Cruises flag to mark the cruise line’s official arrival in Miami.”
“This is a very exciting day for Virgin and travelers around the globe,” said Sir Richard. “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 plans to offer a range of seven-day Caribbean itineraries, with a Sunday sailing date.
“Virgin Group announced the formation of Virgin Cruises in a venture with Bain Capital, one of the world’s leading private investment firms, in December 2014. Ryan Cotton, a Managing Director of Bain Capital, and Virgin Cruises board member said: “As lead shareholder, Bain Capital is excited to contribute our deep experience in building and growing great consumer brand companies. We believe there is a large, underserved market and strong growth prospects for a cruise line that delivers a superior experience for young-at-heart customers. We’re very pleased to be partnering with the other important shareholders who share the same long term vision, and together we will provide a strong and broad support base for Virgin Cruises.”
Virgin expects the experts at Fincantieri to bring these ideas to life. Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “I am honored our company is the selected partner for Virgin Cruises for such an important development in the cruise industry. I’m convinced this choice will contribute to the expansion of the cruising audience, especially considering the market segment still has wide growth margins. I am sure that together, our teams will create cutting edge ships that deliver a memorable guest experience.”
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez noted, “With the largest cruise port in the world, Miami is an exciting city that offers companies and brands an excellent environment for business. We are delighted to be selected by Virgin Cruises as their home port and I can’t wait to see their beautiful ships become part of Miami’s spectacular skyline.”
MARTIN COX - Founder and publisher of MaritimeMatters, inspired by maritime culture and technology growing up in the port of Southampton. He works as a photographer in Los Angeles, and his works has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, New York, London and Iceland.Martin is the co-writer of the book “Hollywood to Honolulu; the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company” published by the Steam Ship Historical Society of America. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum has commissioned artworks and collected his photographs.
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