Virgin Voyages unveils PortMiami Terminal plans

Miami commitment for 2021 | Bookings open 14 February

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Virgin Voyages has revealed renderings of its new two-storey cruise facility and “future home” on Dodge Island in Miami, from where its maiden ship, Scarlet Lady, will homeport once constructed.

“Seeing how we will be setting up shop in the heart of Biscayne Bay, we wanted to be sure we worked with a firm that understood how to highlight and honour the Magic City,” Virgin Voyages said.

The structure will have a plaza-like feel, and offer a VIP drop-off and ride-sharing section for its “sailors”.

The new cruise company has enlisted Miami-based talent Arquitectonica to design the PortMiami terminal in the heart of Biscayne Bay. Arquitectonica are the visionaries behind projects including American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami and the Miami City Ballet in South Beach.

Render of terminal's VIP entrance at ground-level with Scarlet Lady in the background
Render of terminal’s VIP entrance at ground-level with Scarlet Lady in the background | Virgin Voyages ©

“Not only are they experts in building structures equipped for tropical elements like sizzling sun, splashing salt and dizzying winds; more importantly, they understand what it means to create something truly, unequivocally and wholeheartedly, ‘Miami’.”

A Memorandum of Understanding for the facility’s construction requires approval from the local county commission, and is slated to begin work next year and delivered in 2021.

“Miami is an incredible city and one of my favourite places to work and play,” said Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson. “From our headquarters for Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages and now Virgin Trains USA, South Florida has quickly become another home for Virgin brands in the leisure travel sector.”

Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin said “South Florida is our home, and with our fleet now growing to four ships, we’re humbled and thankful to soon have a gorgeous new terminal overlooking the Miami skyline, an incredible view that will set the stage for the alluring journey that we will take our sailors on”.

At the core of the 100,000-square-foot terminal are Miami’s iconic palm trees.

“For years visitors have been attracted by the city’s sun-soaked beaches, invigorating atmosphere and gorgeous, iconic sights. No sight is more recognised than the Royal Palm Tree lounging carefree amidst a backdrop of captivating Art Deco design. These palm trees, tall and regal, relaxed yet unwavering, were the inspiration for the structure that will become our sanctuary in the bustling bay,” Virgin Voyages said.

Render of terminal's West facing side in the nighttime with dozens of lights shooting into the sky | Virgin Voyages &copy
Render of terminal’s West facing side in the nighttime with dozens of lights shooting into the sky | Virgin Voyages ©

“The terminal’s rooftop is designed to resemble a palm tree grove with pockets that allow natural light to flow into the building by day, and gorgeous beams to light up our iconic Virgin Voyages logo (as well as the Miami sky) by night, allowing our future home to shine brightly.”

Normally cruise terminals are dull, lifeless places where people are herded onto even more boring boats; our palm grove-inspired design will be filled with colour and fun – a place where people can really begin their voyage of a lifetime.
Virgin Group Founder, Richard Branson

Branson confirmed Scarlett Lady would continue to operate to the Caribbean, including Cuba, from its Miami hub throughout 2021. Virgin Voyages’ second yet-to-be-named ship will also sail from Miami during the Fall/Winter cruise season of 2021/22.

Additionally, Branson also revealed that bookings on Scarlet Lady will commence on 14 February 2019 for the general public, while guests holding pre-sale deposits will have the first opportunity to book, starting 5 February.

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