File Photo: Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Voyages’ President and CEO Tom McAlpin as he arrives by helicopter for a news conference at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, Florida June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri says it has finalized construction contracts for three new cruise ships worth a combined 2 billion euros with Virgin Voyages, the new cruise ship arm of Virgin Group.
The three ships will be built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri Ponente (Genoa), Italy with delivery scheduled for 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively.
Each ship will weigh about 110,000 gross tons, be 278 meters long and 38 wide. The ships will feature over 1,400 guest cabins that can host more than 2,800 passengers, accompanied by 1,100 crew members on board to deliver the famed Virgin service.
Based in South Florida, Virgin Voyages, formerly Virgin Cruises, is backed by lead investors Bain Capital Private Equity and London-based Virgin Group, whose founder and CEO is billionaire Sir Richard Branson. The shipbuilding contracts were first signed October but depended on closing of the multi-billion dollar financing package.
Steel cutting on the first of the three new ships is scheduled for early 2017, followed by keel laying in Genoa in the fourth quarter of 2017.
“These ships will stand out for original design and craftsmanship,” Fincantieri said in a statement Tuesday. “They will include some highly innovative ideas and design solutions, notably for energy recovery, reducing the overall environmental impact. For example, they will be equipped with an energy production system of approximately 1 MW, which uses the diesel engine’s waste heat. The result is, therefore, a project which distinguishes Virgin Voyages in the worldwide cruise scenery.”
Virgin Voyages’ first ship is expected to arrive at PortMiami in 2020 for a range of Caribbean itineraries.