Particularly at the shipyards on the Clyde in Scotland, Britain once built around half of the world's ships. But with the coming of the welfare state, it got harder and harder to get the Scots unionists to work. So all that is built on the Clyde now are a few warships for the Royal Navy.
So when a British businessman decided to build three big new cruise liners, whom did he give the order to? To a company in Italy: The very experienced Fincantieri. No good blaming the order on low-wage Asian countries. Italy's standard of living is similar to Britain's.
Italian workers don't have a very good reputation for diligence but they are apparently way ahead of the perpetually aggrieved Scots
Virgin Cruises will launch its first luxury liner in 2020 from Miami, U.S, British tycoon Richard Branson has announced.
In typically flamboyant style, Branson arrived amid fireworks at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, descending from a helicopter dressed in a captain's uniform and shorts.
Branson promised 'a world-class cruise line that will redefine the cruising experience for good'.
Branson arrived amid fireworks at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, descending from a helicopter dressed in a captain's uniform and shorts
'Virgin Cruises plans to make some waves with an original and intimate experience,' he said at a news conference.
A joint venture with Bain Capital, the cruise line will be the latest addition to 64-year-old Branson's Virgin Group, which includes an airline, railroad, bank and cable operator among its more than 400 holdings.
Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri will construct three mid-size vessels to be delivered in 2020, 2021 and 2022, with 1,430 cabins to accommodate more than 2,800 guests.
'We made the decision to sail against the current trend of building these big megaships,' Virgin Cruises president and CEO Tom McAlpin said. 'We are going to be constructing smaller, more boutique vessels.
'We have deliberately chosen a size of ship that allows us to offer an excellent variety of experiences but in a more intimate environment,' he said.
McAlpin said the ships will weigh about 110,000 tonnes each, and have the capacity to carry some 2,800 passengers and a crew of 1,150.
'These are highly technological machines,' said Fincantieri chairman Vincenzo Petrone. 'The level of the entertainment... envisioned is extremely complex with technological challenges. But we are sure we can together develop a very special type of platform.'