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Harding+ and Virgin Voyages break off retail partnership

The relationship had run for six years resulting in over 100 new brands and the introduction of Mac and Bulgari, said Harding+
Virgin Voyages and Harding+ are parting ways, and Starboard Cruise Services will be taking over the Virgin business.

Harding+ will no longer work on the line's vessels as a withdrawal process gets underway in April. 

Their partnership began in May 2017 and according to Harding+, resulted in 100 new brands being added, Bulgari among them. Mac Cosmetics was another well-established brand that came onboard, noted Virgin, as the two sought out new fashion, beauty, jewelry, swimwear and skincare options.

During the six-year period that Harding+ and Virgin worked together, ethically sourced labels were also made available to passengers, including Coral Eyewear sunglasses made from recycled ocean plastics and Yellow Leaf Hammocks hand-woven by craftswomen from the Mlabri Tribe in the hills of northern Thailand.

The line said the result was a 'comprehensive' on board retail space with products 'displayed alongside each other in unconventional ways.'

Starboard Cruise Services taking over

'For more than six years, we’ve enjoyed an incredible partnership with Harding and their team, but we’ve mutually decided that it’s time for both brands to explore what’s next,' remarked Sally Barford, associated VP of hotel partnerships, Virgin Voyages.

Moving forward in 2023, the line will partner with Starboard Cruise Services.

Tough choices

‘We have had great fun leading the cruise retail proposition and working as two innovative companies with shared values for six years. But sometimes we need to part as friends and make some tough choices together around what’s right for business and commercial models,’ said Harding+ CEO James Prescott.

‘We wish everyone at Virgin Voyages the very best, and will be working hard to redeploy the Harding+ team members who have been part of the Virgin ship teams elsewhere into our community.’

Harding+ currently operates more than 300 shops on over 100 cruise vessels, with 13 cruise ships set to join its roster.