By the Caribbean Journal staff
Virgin Voyages has more big plans in Miami.
Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and Miami officials have announced plans to build a dedicated Virgin Voyages cruise terminal at PortMiami, slated for completion in November 2021.
“Miami is an incredible city and one of my favorite places to work and play,” Branson said. “From our headquarters for Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages and now Virgin Trains USA, South Florida has quickly become another home for Virgin brands in the leisure travel sector.”
Virgin Voyages’ as-yet-unnamed second ship will homeport at the new Miami terminal in the fall-winter cruise season of 2021-22, while the company’s first ship, the Scarlet Lady, will continue to sail from Miami throughout 2021.
“South Florida is our home, and with our fleet now growing to four ships, we’re humbled and thankful to soon have a gorgeous new terminal overlooking the Miami skyline, an incredible view that will set the stage for the alluring journey that we will take our sailors on,” said Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin.
The Scarlet Lady is set to debut in 2020 in Miami.
The new 100,000-square-foot terminal is slated to begin construction next year, with completion set for November 2021, pending final Miami-Dade County Commission approval.
It will be located on the northwest side of PortMiami, set in a “palm grove” style design concept developed by Miami-based design firm Arquitectonica.
It will include two stories, with a plaza-like feel and designated areas for ride-sharing, provisioning and VIP drop-offs.
It will also feature a rooftop designed to resemble a palm tree grove, with lighting at night that will shine brightly across from the downtown Miami skyline.
“It’s gratifying to see Virgin Voyages expand its presence in Miami-Dade County,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “By constructing a new cruise terminal at PortMiami, Virgin Voyages is signaling its confidence in our thriving community, which is not only the Cruise Capital of the World but also the Gateway to the Americas.”
Virgin’s strikingly-designed ships will carry more than 2,770 “sailors” and 1,160 crew, according to the company.
Virgin Voyages cruise line also announced that it would launch bookings at the beginning of next year.
Bookings for the inaugural season, which will include calls to Cuba, will open Feb. 14 for the general public.