In 2020 Virgin Cruises will launch from Miami with a midsize 2,800-passenger ship constructed by Fincantieri, Italy. According to the line, two additional 2,800-passenger 110,000-GT ships will follow in 2021 and 2022.
The announcement took place in Miami, during a media event held to make waves for the new brand (#letsmakewaves is the event's Twitter hashtag). Of course, this was not just an ordinary press conference as the founder of Virgin Group Richard Branson arrived via helicopter in downtown Miami's Museum Park with a slogan “let’s make waves” and a cloud of red smoke.
A letter of intent was signed with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the new ships. Fincantieri said the agreement was subject to customary conditions and was expected to be finalized in the 4th quarter. Financing details were not released, but according to Branson, the cost for the three vessels would be less than $2 billion.
The Managing Director of Bain Capital (Virgin Cruises' financial partner), Ryan Cotton said there was a large unserved, or underserved consumer segment: adventurous, sophisticated, young at heart - the people they were going to deliver for, who understood why cruising was so exciting but hadn't yet found "a home on the seas".
The trio would sail 7-day Caribbean cruises, but Virgin Cruises did not detail any specific itineraries. At 2,800-passengers, the new vessels are in the midsize category, and still in the design phase. Virgin asked customers to weigh in at virgincruises.com, to "tell what you want to be able to see and do when you're on a Virgin Cruises ship".