At a press conference held at PortMiami earlier this week, Richard Branson announced his plan to build three “boutique” cruise ships with major shipyard, Fincantieri, and his selection of PortMiami as the first homeport for the fledgling cruise line.
The three brand new ships, which Branson referred to as “boutique” in an industry of behemoths, will serve around 2,800 passengers in 1,430 staterooms. Each ship will register around 110,000 GRT, a surprising, yet welcome size for an industry that has recently focused on building bigger and bigger. Once the first of the three ships is completed in 2020, she will begin sailing a variety of seven night Caribbean itineraries every Sunday from PortMiami.
“This is a very exciting day for Virgin and travelers around the globe,” said 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.”
The press event was highlighted by Branson’s arrival by helicopter through a cloud of red smoke, the raising of the Virgin Cruises flag at PortMiami, and Branson cutting off Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimemez’s tie.