Friday, 5 December 2014

Virgin Group confirms entry into cruise business

Virgin Group confirms entry into cruise business

By Tom Stieghorst
Tom McAlpinVirgin Group announced that it has formed Virgin Cruises, making official its rumored entry into the global cruise industry.

The collection of companies run by British entrepreneur Richard Branson is perhaps most well known for Virgin Atlantic Airways. It has also started a hotel brand, with its first U.S. property to open in Chicago.

In its announcement, Virgin said it has hired Tom McAlpin to be CEO. Most recently, McAlpin had been president and CEO of The World, Residences at Sea. He was also part of the founding management team at Disney Cruise Line, and served as its president.

Virgin Cruises will be head quartered in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, the company said. Virgin said it plans to build two “world class” cruise ships.

Details about the timing of Virgin’s start of operations are being withheld for competitive reasons, the company said.
Bain Capital has been named lead investment partner.

“We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love,” Branson said in a statement. "They’ll be sailing on the latest ships offering great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service.”