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Richard C.N. Branson launches new Caribbean cruise line

- Virgin Cruises now becomes Virgin Voyages; Expected to sail in 2020
Virgin Group Founder, Sir Richard C.N. Branson, made a surprise entrance during a special announcement about his company's cruise lines. Guests at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach were treated to a special performance that included Branson. Photo: Emily Michot Miami Herald
Sir Richard C.N. Branson (right) with Virgin Voyages CEO and president Tom McAlpin. Photo: Caribbean Journal
Sir Richard C.N. Branson (right) with Virgin Voyages CEO and president Tom McAlpin. Photo: Caribbean Journal
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Owner of Necker and Mosquito Islands, Sir Richard C. N. Branson has launched a new Caribbean cruise line that is expected to set sail in 2020.

At a press conference in Miami on Tuesday October 18, 2016, the new cruise line announced that it will now operate under the name Virgin Voyages instead of Virgin Cruises.

“I was never interested in going on a cruise,” said Virgin Group founder Sir Richard C.N. Branson during the Broadway-style announcement at Miami Beach’s Faena Theater, “but I’m interested in a voyage. 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. 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.”

Virgin Voyages’ CEO and president Tom McAlpin updated the audience on the progress of the new line, which will have three ships, at least one of them home-ported in Miami, Florida, by 2022.

McAlpin said that the contract between Virgin Voyages and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has been signed and that they are nearing the close of a financing deal.

“Our world class partners like Bain Capital Private Equity, Virgin Group and Fincantieri as well as financial powerhouses like Cdp, UniCredit, SACE and SIMEST, showcase Virgin Voyages’ strong backing and commitment to developing an incredible product,” McAlpin said. “This is anything but just another cruise or holiday, it will be a transformational experience delivering a very ‘Virgin style’ of adventure.”

Fincantieri will begin cutting steel on the first ship in February 2017, and there will be a keel-laying ceremony in Genoa toward the end of 2017, when, as the CEO put it, “ship gets real.”

Cruising with the environment in mind

Inspired by Branson’s leadership on environmental issues and desire to “do good in the world,” McAlpin also announced the line’s partnership with Swedish clean energy company Climeon.

In a first for the cruise industry, Virgin will install Climeon Ocean, a system that will transform low-grade energy into clean electricity on all three of its ships. The resulting environmental impact will be an estimated 5,400 tons of carbon dioxide savings annually per ship, the line says, — an amount that would take 180,000 trees 30 years to absorb.

Virgin Voyages’ first ship will arrive at PortMiami in 2020 with capacity for 2,700 “sailors” and 1,150 crew, and will sail a Caribbean itinerary to “ports that deliver unique and very social experiences,” the line said.

Where the new Virgin Voyages may take travelers has not yet been announced, but Branson did mention one destination that is on his list.

When asked if Cuba was a potential port, Branson immediately replied, “Yes!” (Caribbean Journal)

32 Responses to “Richard C.N. Branson launches new Caribbean cruise line”

  • qc (19/10/2016, 10:03) Like (16) Dislike (3) Reply
    when you rich you rich
  • dog (19/10/2016, 10:32) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    another cruise ship competing in BVI waters? At least it is small and focused on environmental protection if that is possible.
  • i from here (19/10/2016, 10:35) Like (9) Dislike (4) Reply
    Nice! BVI is also a must stop.
  • Nice (19/10/2016, 11:37) Like (20) Dislike (13) Reply
    So you mean to tell me that we just spend so much money of extending the pier that he couldn't at least have a ship starting port in the VI? What has this man done for the island other than bring in animals for his zoo and help the Rasta?
    • @Nice.Visa a problem.. (19/10/2016, 12:58) Like (6) Dislike (4) Reply
      @ Nice. If not the BVI at lease St. Kitts or Antigua. Sailing the Caribbean for those of us that don't have American Visa. And Eager to go on a Cruise. The BVI should get an international Surprised by then. The BVI will still be a problem because have of our Caribbean bother and sisters will need Visa to come here. starting at a Destination that have no visa restrictions for Caribbean people will be good.
    • Stupesss (19/10/2016, 13:32) Like (14) Dislike (4) Reply
      We are no where near the capacity to accommodate a starting point in the BVI, that's just common sense.
    • Lookup (19/10/2016, 17:55) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
      he doesn't have to do anything for the BVI. Ayo leave the man alone
    • think about (19/10/2016, 21:55) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Will that have work on a business level?
    • Hmmmm (23/10/2016, 08:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      No, Well No< Well then again Naw bigger market up there. he just a share holder and licensing his brand so operations will do the work. Just like Govt is a share holder in an airline but cannot tell them when to fly. So No.
  • from here (19/10/2016, 12:12) Like (11) Dislike (7) Reply
    He will only make here a stop if he is the benifits from it.
    he is not crazy about BVI getting the beifits, he is not that kinda feller.

  • Yes (19/10/2016, 12:52) Like (18) Dislike (4) Reply
    Not many wise people left so i suppose the public will buy it. Here is a man with no background education in any of his ventures but is allowed to parade wrecklessly because he "got it". Black or white, wealth should never be equated to moral standards or intelligence. People dont know the true extent of the damage to the environment and if im a scientist getting paid by branson to come up with a formula that i know doesnt exist, i will keep on takin the money and fabricate results over him not knowing anything about anything . his ventures, when u look under the vale require more maintenence and patchwork more than anything else.
  • No Visa Cruise. (19/10/2016, 13:00) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    I will say Starting at St Kitts or Antigua is a good idea. Places that has no Visa restrictions for Caribbean people ..
  • ahha (19/10/2016, 13:29) Like (7) Dislike (7) Reply
    Now i see why them want to take the island (prickle pear) away from lucille. Homeboy need this for his cruise ship play ground. No more jams for the locals. Let me see if gumption will allow branson to take this island away from his mom.
    • Judas (19/10/2016, 14:45) Like (8) Dislike (5) Reply
      Gumption is a sellout.
      • Son of God (19/10/2016, 22:06) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        @judas - you right Gumption is a sell out but not like you who name Juda. I've seen Gumption work hard and grown. He have drive and passign. Something you and others don't have. Stop hating on Gumption and ask questions. Talk with him before you hate. As you can see Gumption is doing very well.
      • @judas (22/10/2016, 10:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        And what have you done with your life
        • Son of God (22/10/2016, 11:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          @judas I've done everything besides hating on anyone who made a positive change in their life. People like you will always be sour and ain't even about Gumption but it's about people like yourself who's not trying to better yourself so you look at people like Gumption who's striving and Woking hard/someone who encourage others to reach their goals and give when he can. Gumption ain't a pest to the community but it's judas link you is our problems. 2016 give credit where it's due.
    • Nice (19/10/2016, 16:53) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
      Is this high way robbery, I wonder if this was Branson plan all the time, to help the Rasta in favor to hand over his mother property years to come.
  • Hmm (19/10/2016, 14:00) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
  • great (19/10/2016, 15:15) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Can't wait. Virgin Atlantic is my favorite Airline.
  • @strupes (19/10/2016, 16:57) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    But if we can't handle the capacity, why the hell we have 3-4 ships in call at the ports and anchored out there in the first place? What is it to have a growing economy with increase passengers flow through. All govnt had to do was lift the visa waiver once you have a cruise booking, expand the airport to accommodate travel connection and shuttle the passengers to the ship. But we can have a heap of people walking like chickens in Road Town this season, capacity?
    • @strupes (20/10/2016, 08:59) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Meaning the capacity to fill a ship. Flights to the BVI are very expensive - if the home port was here it would mean all 3000 / 4000 people would have to start their cruise here - it is much cheaper and easier to have the home port somewhere easy and cheap to get to for a large number of people.
      • I am nice (20/10/2016, 18:46) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        This is what I see if that happened, so let's say we do get the airport expansion going. All those charter flight with cruise ship passengers can easily land Beef and cleared passengers to the ship as stated before. So many jobs for seasonal employment will be available. If Richard had the country he live on at heart, this should have been his planned for Govt to establish. All I'm saying is this is what we should have done, Wonder if the government willing to subsidize me for building a cruise ship to start call from our Peir if they would help and change the game. I will even name it the Real Virgin Voyage. He using our name and don't pay a cent for it!
  • I know him (19/10/2016, 18:25) Like (5) Dislike (8) Reply
    He is no good to the BVI there are so many ways he
    can promote the BVI and have seen him talk about other
    countries and would never mentioned BVI. England is right
    to seek to remove his sir title. They see him as no good and
    so should we.
  • cuban (19/10/2016, 23:31) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    see its good to have rich white friends
  • Me (20/10/2016, 07:23) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Oh man, the hate the hate, why can't we all be one big happy family? Rejoice that there is going to be another option, an environmentally better one for cruise ships. Jeezum smh!
  • ... (20/10/2016, 14:20) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    All of you people jumping on this man because he is rich and living his life and working hard??? Is he suppose to save this island from perishing?? Where as the persons who really suppose to protect and grow this country is robbing you guys. This is why it is happening. Because you people are too hateful! Getting upset because a man is successful and continue to strive.
    • Looknuh (20/10/2016, 18:48) Like (1) Dislike (26) Reply
      NOw dot, dot, dot, you need to go home where you came from talking 'bout 'you guys.' All you people just like a rolling stone; always seeking out another man's country. You people come here and do the same thing you did in the Colonial era, you are right and bright and we are beneath you. Look nuh, don't ants we up, you know.
  • !! (21/10/2016, 06:49) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hey Richie Rich: Considering you start one project after another some 'blow' up others don't, why not start sure things that give a definite return on your investment while being a great philanthropist in and to the BVI??
  • Just curious to know (21/10/2016, 23:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Can locals get a job in this new venture of yours?
  • exciting (22/10/2016, 01:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I wondering it I could apply as a BVIander. I surely would love to sail the high seas and get a different experience in the working industry and meet new and exciting people. Think I Will try my luck

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