PHOTO: Sir Richard Branson unveils Virgin Voyages during an event in Miami. (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)
Virgin's cruise line will move forward as Virgin Voyages.
In a presentation in Miami this week, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson revealed the cruise line's new name, announced a shipbuilding contract and that it will be the first cruise line to partner with clean energy system Climeon Ocean.
The company confirmed that it has officially signed a contract with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build three cruise ships. According to Virgin Voyages president and CEO Tom McAlpin, steel cutting will begin in early 2017, while keel laying is scheduled in Genoa some time in the fourth quarter of 2017.
In addition to providing an unparalleled experience, Virgin will look to pioneer the cruise industry in terms of utilizing clean energy. The company will install the Climeon Ocean on all three of its ships.
Climeon works by transforming low-grade energy into clean electricity.
The environmental impact of installing Climeon will be approximately 5,400 tons of carbon dioxide savings annually per vessel, Virgin said.
The cruise line’s first ship is currently scheduled to arrive in PortMiami in 2020.
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"Thousands of future sailors and travel professionals shared their thoughts with us and tasked us with delivering the most irresistible vacation at sea and that our name alone should leave them dizzy with anticipation," said Branson at the revealing event inside the Faena Hotel Miami Beach. "I’m excited to reveal we are now Virgin Voyages, and while we have lots of work ahead to build our three ships, we can’t wait to welcome you aboard the ship of things to come."
"This is anything but just another cruise or holiday, it will be a transformational experience delivering a very 'Virgin style' of adventure," added McAlpin.
It's been more than two years since Branson confirmed plans to operate a cruise line and to this point, details have been relatively scarce. But after this week's reveal, it's clear that he and Virgin Voyages are determined to introduce something new to the industry.