Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages' president and CEO Tom McAlpin unveil Virgin Voyages anew branding (Image: Business Wire)
Virgin Voyages (formerly Virgin Cruises) has finalised its order for three cruise ships from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, and has also agreed to be the first cruise line to adopt clean energy system, Climeon Ocean.
The news of the company’s rebranding and ship order was revealed by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages’ president and CEO Tom McAlpin at an event in Miami, US on 18 October.
“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. “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, backed by lead investors Bain Capital Private Equity and Virgin Group, expects the multi-billion-dollar financing package for the purchase of its three ships to be finalised shortly. The lead lending partners will be Cassa depositi e prestiti (Cdp) and UniCredit, and the loan will be fully backed by Italian export credit agency SACE and supported by SIMEST.
“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,” said McAlpin. “This is anything but just another cruise or holiday, it will be a transformational experience delivering a very ‘Virgin style’ of adventure.”
Fincantieri will cut the steel for the first ship in early 2017 and lay the keel in Genoa, Italy in the fourth quarter of the year. Virgin Voyages’ first ship will arrive at PortMiami in 2020 and will offer a range of Caribbean itineraries.
Virgin Voyages is the first major cruise line to partner with Climeon. This partnership will enable the line to install Climeon Ocean – a system that will transform low-grade energy into clean electricity – on all three ships. The resulting environmental impact will be an estimated 5,400 tons of carbon dioxide savings annually per ship.
“The Climeon heat power system is an environmental breakthrough, and working with Virgin is of major importance to us,” said Thomas Öström, founder and CEO of Climeon, “We are excited that Sir Richard Branson and Virgin, with its focus on sustainability, have decided to become a pioneer of this technology. Transforming hot water to electricity will be a major source of energy production going forward.”
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