On a cool, overcast day at PortMiami, a row of bright red shovels waited diligently, their blades stuck in white limestone gravel, for the ceremony to start. Virgin Voyages was hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for their new terminal at PortMiami which will soon be home to their first ship, Scarlet Lady. Terminal V, as it will be called, is set on prime real estate at the Western-most end of PortMiami’s Dodge Island, giving it an excellent view of downtown Miami.
In attendance were distinguished members of the local Miami government, Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin and a number of important people who keep PortMiami up and running on a daily basis. After passing a temperature check, guests filled up the socially distanced chairs to hear the major players speak about the new terminal and what cruising means to the Miami community.
The message from the speakers was overwhelmingly positive despite the pause in cruise operation. District 12 Chairman Juan “Pepe” Diaz stated how excited his and his fellow officials are to have a brand like Virgin create a permanent home at PortMiami and he lauded the work they’ve all done to make it happen.
Newly elected Mayor of Miami-Dade County Daniella Cava echoed those sentiments and added that it was wonderful to see their vision for robust cruise port facilities become a reality. She also thanked Virgin Voyages for putting their faith in Miami as the center of the cruise world.
Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin spent his time at the podium looking towards the future.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to celebrate 2021 with this really special milestone. I think it goes without saying that the cruise industry has had a very tough year and we’ve had some challenging times but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in business is that this industry is resilient and I’m proud of the work that we are doing as an industry collectively to innovate, to improve and to return to sailing in the safest possible timeline,” he said.
— Porthole Cruise (@PortholeCruise) January 12, 2021
McAlpin then introduced Dee Cooper, Senior Vice President of Design for the cruise line, who played a large role in the design of the terminal.
“We’ve got this amazing, modern, iconic Miami skyline, and as we said, we’re very, very excited that we have the best view,” she said. “When we do a project, Virgin likes the design to be different and we build on this ethos of the modern romance of sailing and we’re inspired very much by the grandeur of great ocean voyages, but we like to execute it in a modern style.”
The new terminal isn’t expected to be open for Scarlet Lady’s maiden voyage in May, but they’ll use a temporary terminal at the port until it’s finished.
Check out the Facebook Live video from the event: