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Image: Virgin Voyages

Virgin reveals fourth cruise ship, aims for Cuba

Construction had already been underway on the first three ships, to set sail in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Virgin Voyages has signed a €700 million deal to build a fourth cruise ship, with the Fincantieri shipbuilders enlisted to construct the vessel, to be delivered at the end of 2023.

It will be a sister ship to three others Virgin has ordered since announcing it would dive into the cruise business in late 2014. Construction is underway at the Sestri Ponente shipyard in Genoa and the first three ships will set sail in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The fourth vessel will be about 110,000 gross tons, 278 metres long and 38 metres wide and feature more than 1,400 guest cabins to host more than 2,770 passengers.

The ships will be equipped with an energy production system of 1 MW, which uses the diesel engine’s waste heat.

Gleaming in Havana
Virgin Voyages has also revealed that its first ship, Scarlet Lady, will feature Cuba in its inaugural season in 2020, TTG reports.

The decision to sail to Cuba was influenced by customer and travel partner research the line conducted in the US and the UK, the company says.

Both groups ranked the Caribbean island as one of the most desired and interesting destinations to visit on a voyage. Other companies, such as Norwegian Cruise Line, have also spoken about Cuba’s growing cruise popularity.

“Virgin Atlantic has been visiting Cuba for 13 years, and I cannot wait to see our iconic Scarlet Lady gleaming in the Havana Harbour,” declared Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.

“Havana is the perfect place for our sailors to go and experience a city that exudes an irresistible energy and passion.”

All sailings to Cuba from Miami feature an overnight stay, meaning passengers will have time to “really explore and experience the capital city’s vibrant nightlife and cultural heritage”, the company says.

Meet the Cubans
The Virgin Voyages destination announcement was made at the Havana International Fair. Shore experiences are in development and details will be made available later in 2019.

Specific sailing dates for the visits to Cuba will be released when the company opens up bookings next year.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group and are pleased to announce this new partnership with Virgin Voyages,” said Manuel Marrero Cruz, minister of tourism for Cuba.

“The Cuban people look forward to welcoming Virgin Voyages’ first ship, its crew and passengers to our shores in 2020.”

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