It was a big moment for the Virgin brand in Miami this week, and I almost missed it. As the CEO of our cruise line was up onstage in the beautiful Faena Hotel theatre, I was nowhere to be seen. Stalling for time, Tom McAlpin invited some wonderful performers to dance upon some red deck chairs. It was then that I made my entrance to the stage – carrying towels and serving drinks.
After our performance, it was time for a big announcement: our new name. I have never been on a cruise, and never wanted to - they sound stuffy and dull. But I would love to go on a Voyage – they sound adventurous, exciting and glamourous. So I am thrilled to introduce our newest company: Virgin Voyages.
We have officially signed a ship building contract for three vessels with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, and can’t wait to set sail. While we have lots of work ahead to build our three ships, we’re already excited to welcome you aboard the ship of things to come.
We outlined our ship building schedule, including steel cutting in early 2017, followed by the keel laying in Genoa in the fourth quarter of 2017. Virgin Voyages’ first ship will arrive at PortMiami in 2020, hosting more than 2,700 sailors and 1,150 spirited crew members.
Whatever industry we enter, we commit to changing for good – and cruising is no exception. Virgin Voyages will be the first cruise line to adopt the clean energy system, Climeon Ocean, which will transform low-grade energy into clean electricity, on all three of our ships. The resulting environmental impact will be an estimated 5,400 tons of carbon dioxide savings annually per ship - an amount that would take 180,000 trees 30 years to absorb.
There is so much more to share, and I can’t wait to reveal our designs, our itineraries and the unique experiences that will make Virgin Voyages unforgettable. In the meantime, future sailors are invited to visit Virgin Voyages on social or at www.virginvoyages.com. Now, it’s back to the beach for me – I have some more towels to collect and drinks to pour…