Word from the Middle East has Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson seeking $1.7 billion to start a cruise line. This is not the first time the billionaire entrepreneur has looked at the idea of a Virgin cruises operation. Rumors that Branson might start a cruise line have circulated off and on for the past dozen years.
This time around, according to The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, Branson is looking to tap deep-pocketed Arabian Gulf investors for assistance.
What sort of cruise line does Branson envision? He told the newspaper he plans “a very different kind of cruise company.”
Branson says he would build two ships to cruise in the Mediterranean and Caribbean; his goal would be to get travelers on board who wouldn’t currently consider a cruise.
A Virgin spokesman tells The National that the cruises would target younger cruisers, including with leisure activities and entertainment. He also says the cruise line would be based in Miami, and look to start operations in 2019.
According to Sky News, Branson has hired New York–based investment firm Allen & Co. for help in developing the cruise project.