Richard Branson announces Virgin Cruises to launch from Miami in 2020

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Cruises will launch three ships with capacities of nearly 3,000 passengers each in early 2020.

Sir Richard Branson launches Virgin Cruises in Miami (© @HannaBSampson)
Sir Richard Branson launches Virgin Cruises in Miami (© @HannaBSampson)

Branson made the announcement at a news conference on Tuesday (23 June) in the American city. He said the first ship would launch from Miami, although locations were not revealed for the other two.

The Virgin Group founder said: "It’s no secret I’ve dreamed of building a cruise line for a very long time."

Branson arrived at the news conference by helicopter and posed for photos in a red captain’s hat with matching shorts and boat shoes, flanked by two models.

The launch of Virgin Cruises was initially announced last December, when Branson threatened "to shake up the cruise industry," although Virgin's ships will not compete in size with the likes of Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corp, who are building vessels with capacity of more than 5,000 passengers.

Branson was up to his usual tricks at the news conference. "I’ve spent my life trying to get people to get rid of suits," he said, before cutting through Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s tie, as well as those of two other maritime executives on stage with him.

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