A former Starbucks president is looking for travel agents to help crowdfund a new wellness-themed cruise line he aims to launch next year.
Blue World Voyages has raised $675,000 so far from more than 37 crowdfunding investors, and the chief executive John Richards, a former Starbucks North America boss, hopes that will hit the $4.5 million mark.
Crowdfunded contributions of no less than $500 will reportedly make up as much as 10% of funding and be used as a downpayment on a ship the line hopes to operate from May 2019.
A deal to buy a 900-passenger vessel is still to be finalised, but Blue World hopes to begin a six-month $26 million retrofit in October.
The line will reduce the ship’s capacity to 350 passengers once they have sourced and bought a vessel.
Over the next five years, Blue World plans to launch two more 350-passenger vessels.
An additional $450,000 was raised from a round of seed-funding in January and the line claims $5 million has been promised from “an industry source”.
One unidentified UK-based travel agent has invested at least $500 and will become a member of Blue World’s Founders’ Club meaning they will be a preferred retail partner and consulted about fam trips and itineraries.
Richards, who was chief marketing officer at now-defunct Royal Viking Line, said: “Several agents have joined the Founders Club and have a vested interest.”
A week-long cruise in a standard suite will cost from $3,500, excluding port charges and flights.
Blue World plans to sail in the Mediterranean, Cuba, Costa Rica, Chile and Peru, and claims it will be the first line “fully dedicated to passengers’ active lifestyles”.
One UK cruise agent was unsure about the project’s “unique” claims.
The Cruise Village director Phil Nuttall said he was “struggling” to see how Blue World’s wellness offering differed from that of established lines such as Silversea.
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