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.
• For more breaking news and in-depth features, sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker here
Have you registered with us yet?
Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.