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Terminal V — Virgin pizzazz and a prime PortMiami address

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Tom McAlpin surveys the 'bones' for what he promised will be a beautiful terminal, exclusive to Virgin Voyages
'Fun, exciting, efficient and modern' is how Tom McAlpin describes Terminal V, the exclusive future home for Virgin Voyages at PortMiami.

It will have a 'really cool' palm grove theme, Virgin pizzazz and the best location with beautiful views of Miami and from Miami — a 'billboard' for Virgin Voyages, President and CEO McAlpin said.

Eyeful of the Lady Ships

He recently toured the five-acre site at the western edge of Dodge Island, making it the cruise berth nearest — and the only one parallel to — the mainland. So downtown Miami will have an eyeful of the Lady Ships, and vice versa.

Scarlet Lady will sail four- and five-night itineraries joined, during the winter season, by Valiant Lady on six- and eight-night cruises.

Nearly 200,000 square feet

Terminal V entails a new bulkhead and apron, a new 199,751-square-foot terminal complex and provision, staging, loading and intermodal areas with a substantial completion date of Oct. 15, 2021. Suffolk Construction Co. is the contractor.

McAlpin said the foundations and footings are in, with the vertical work starting, and the sheet piles are being driven for the seawall.

'We're excited,' he said. 'It's one of the most unique and beautiful parts of PortMiami' and the first terminal seen from MacArthur Causeway.

'It has great, beautiful views of Miami, and Miami will have great, beautiful views of Scarlet and Valiant when they're in port but when they're not, great views of our terminal, which is great advertisement for us — a big "billboard" that says Virgin Voyages.'

Palm grove concept

Virgin's Dee Cooper, SVP design and customer experience, led the process that selected Miami's Arquitectonica for the design. The firm came up with a palm grove concept, recalling the genesis of Miami Beach before tourism. 

'It's cool. It's fun. It's simple but the concept fits Miami really well,' McAlpin said. And when travelers flee the snow for their tropical getaway and glimpse that first palm tree, 'You know you're on vacation,' he added.

The design resembles a canopy and the columns that support the structure look like palm tree trunks. Palms will be planted all around.

The building is white 'with the right amount of red pop, some fun lettering and some fun livery,' according to McAlpin. 'We'll make sure people know it's a Virgin Voyages terminal.' Spectacular lighting after dark is another feature.

Tech efficiency

Though Virgin plans a beautiful terminal, it's also got to be efficient because what sailors (passengers) want to get on the ship.

Technology will simplify and speed the check-in process. At home, using smartphone apps, sailors can complete registration in 10 minutes, including providing a credit card and snapping a security photo.

Greeted by 'angels'

At the terminal, instead of queuing for check-in desks, sailors will be met by 'angels' with tablets. (And VIPs — including those booking RockStar Suites, will have a VIP entrance, of course.)

The angels' tablets will identify travelers via The Band, Virgin's wearable. Besides serving as identification, The Band opens cabin doors, is used for making purchases and for the personalized muster drill. The angels will ensure everything's in order, conduct a wellness screening and take a temperature check.

Then sailors pass through security. Facial recognition technology will be used at embarkation and disembarkation, in conjunction with US Customs and Border Protection.

Crew facilities

Terminal V will also house crew offices, a lounge with private breakout areas for meetings and private catchups and calls. According to Cooper, 'This will build on our amazing office space, bringing the Virgin Voyages crew the support and infrastructure they need to do their job whether ship or shore crew.'

AtmosAir

Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady have the AtmosAir solution, a bipolar ionization process that kills germs and viruses. Talks are under way about potentially using the system in the terminal.

And Terminal V's design is targeting LEED Gold Certification for environmental efficiency.

McAlpin summed up: 'It's about a beautiful terminal. It's about a great process to get you on board. And it's a beautiful, iconic element to showcase our brand when the ship's not there. It's right there, front and center, reminding everyone that Virgin Voyages is in the cruise industry.'

 

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