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Sir Richard Branson announced that he has most of the funding he needs to order two ships for his new Virgin Cruise venture scheduled to launch in 2019. A number of analysts have recently said this would be a healthy development for the entire industry.
While there has been speculation among the cruise lines that Branson would undercut pricing in the Caribbean and Mediterranean and draw business away from established lines, Branson himself has said that he plans to target the twentysomething non-cruiser — someone who would not presently consider a cruise.
Robin Farley, a UBS analyst, compares the situation to when Disney entered the market, and the move proved to be very positive in raising awareness of cruising in general. Farley believes Virgin Cruise could attract first-timers who would eventually try other lines.