Richard Branson plants Virgin Cruises flag in MiamiIt seems like yesterday that Sir Richard Branson helicoptered in to Miami to announce his new project, “Virgin Cruises” in June 2015.  A little over a year later, in October 2016, he changed the name to Virgin Voyages.

Virgin Voyages Steel Cutting MachineToday at the Fincantieri Shipyards in Italy, a traditional steel cutting ceremony to signal the start of a new ship build was turned into a Facebook Live event.  Leave it to Sir Richard; he never does anything without high-energy fanfare and beautiful women at his side.

Virgin Voyages Steel Cutting LIVE. Sparks are bound to fly. #makeshiphappen

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Posted by Virgin Voyages on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

“Sparks are bound to fly!” said a Virgin Voyages spokesperson.

Virgin Voyages President Tom McAlpin formerly president of Disney Cruises, was host for the ceremony.

The Facebook Live event began at 2:00pm ET – you can view the recorded event – just click the link above. While Sir Richard wasn’t there in person, he was televised live on a large screen to the side of the stage.

After a 5-second countdown (at 10:12 in the video) a “mysterious red button” as Tom McAlpin called it, was pressed.  And the Steel Cutting Machine whirred into motion.   Music blared and a waterfall of white fireworks cascaded into the steel-cooling water.

Virgin Voyages’ first ship will be delivered in 2020 and after a season in Europe will homeport in Miami, with planned winter itineraries to the Caribbean.  With a hashtag of #MakeShipHappen, Sir Richard is counting on building a cruise line to appeal to Millennials as well as anyone in search of a more boutique-style cruise ship and experience.

In total, Virgin Voyages is planning three new ships for the fledgling fleet, each carrying about 2,800 guests.

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