by Kevin Griffin writing for cybercruises.com
The Virgin Group has announced that Virgin Voyages will be the new name for the cruise line that was to have been called Virgin Cruises. The company has also confirmed its contract for three 110,000-ton newbuildings from Italy’s Fincantieri. Steel-cutting for the first ship is scheduled in early 2017, followed by a keel-laying in Genoa during the fourth quarter.
Virgin Voyages owner, Sir Richard Branson, and president and ceo, Tom McAlpin, said that thousands of people had shared their wishes for an ‘irresistible vacation at sea,’ and the new name derived from that.
The aim is to produce not just another conventional cruise line, but a transformational experience delivering a very “Virgin style”of adventure. No more details were made public except that its clients will be called “sailors.”
The new cruise line’s first ship is due at Miami in 2020, and will accommodate more than 2,700 “sailors” with a crew of 1,150. She will offer a range of Caribbean itineraries to ports that have not yet been named but will be chosen for their experiences.
Virgin Voyages is backed by Bain Capital Private Equity and Virgin Group for the multibillion-dollar newbuildings. The lead finance partners are Italian and the loan will be backed by Italian export credit agency SACE.