The former chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line, Colin Veitch, has taken legal action against Richard Brandon and his conglomerate, claiming the Virgin boss stole ideas and business plans to enter the luxury cruise industry.
Mr Veitch is seeking more than $300m in damages and has requested legal action to be taken to prevent Virgin from progressing with their Miami-based cruise line. The lawsuit alleges that Virgin had discussed entering the cruise industry in partnership with Mr Veitch, but reneged on an agreement made in May 2011 about estimated profits.
A spokesperson for Virgin refutes these claims, suggesting the company has long been considering the best technique to enter the cruise holiday industry: “Richard Branson and the Virgin Group first looked at the cruise market in the late 1970s, and our current team has been exploring the opportunity for more than a decade. Over the years, we have been in discussions with a number of parties including the plaintiff, and those discussions ceased in 2012. We strongly believe the claim has no merits.”
Virgin Cruises are expected to enter their first two ships into service by 2020, after Branson confirmed the ships’ commissioning is close to completion. The cruise line will be financed in part by private equity firm Bain Capital. The project will be overseen by Tom McAlpine, part of the management team that founded Disney Cruise Line in the mid-90s.
Based out of Miami, the planned cruise line looks likely to target the ever-popular Caribbean cruise industry. It has been estimated the two planned cruise ships from Virgin will cost just over £1bn.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: D@LY3D, Jarle Naustvik