Sir Richard Branson announced his newest venture, Virgin Cruises, would set sail from PortMiami in 2020. According to British billionaire, Virgin Cruises has signed a letter of intent with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build the three ships, the first of which will debut in early 2020. The 110,00-ton, 2,860-passenger ship will be followed by identical fleetmates in 2021 and 2022. Each ship would carry 2,860 passengers, based on double occupancy, and 1,150 crewmembers on their seven-day Caribbean itineraries.
The first ship will be based in Miami and sail the Caribbean. No word yet on where the other two ships will be deployed.
Branson said the ships would be Virgin’s trademark red. For ideas of what to offer onboard, he said the line is seeking public input at its website, virgincruises.com. He said Virgin fans could expect “a really fun product delivered in a fun and different way,” similar to his approach to airlines, trains and hotels. “We think we can do the same with cruises,” he said.
To fund the project, (which Branson said costs “under $2 billion, anyway,”) Virgin Group partnered with private investor Bain Capital.