Tui Explorer to join Thomson Cruises fleet next year

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Tui Explorer has been unveiled the name of the latest ship to join the Thomson Cruises fleet next year.

It will become the line’s largest vessel when it enters services from its homeport in Palma, Majorca in 2018.

Currently operating as Mein Schiff 1 for the German market, the vessel will be joined at the UK arm by Mein Schiff 2 in 2019.

Tui Explorer joins Tui Discovery and Tui Discovery 2 in continuing to introduce the Tui brand to UK ahead of the re-brand which sees Thomson disappear later this year.

Tui Explorer will run all-inclusive cruises with ten dining options including a new sushi counter and The Mediterranean, an area with a glass roof inspired by open air terraces and local tavernas which will house two inclusive restaurants – a pizzeria and tapas restaurant – plus the Hot Stone Grill at an additional cost.

New cabin types include 14 family balcony cabins that measure 20 square metres, sleep up to five people and have a balcony of up to 9 square metres, and a balcony cabin with more external space.

Standard inside cabins onboard Tui Explorer are 16 square metres, larger than any other standard cabin in the fleet.

Other features include a spa split into 11 different areas including a Finnish sauna with floor to ceiling windows, a couples room and two luxury treatment suites.

An adults-only sunbathing area called The Veranda will have padded sun loungers, pod chairs and day beds.

A new feature bar, Indigo, offers ocean views from the top of the ship and is home to a casino and nightclub.

Another new venue is The Lounge, complete with colour-changing bar and a brightly coloured piano to provide live music.

On sale later this month, Tui Explorer will sail four itineraries – Cosmopolitan Classics, Highlights of the Mediterranean, Magic of Spain and Mediterranean Secrets.

Ports of call will include Barcelona, the ports for Rome and Florence, Naples and Lisbon.

Thomson Cruises managing director, Richard Sofer, said: “I’m delighted to unveil the name of TUI Explorer, our biggest and most exciting ship yet.

“As part of our continued modernisation and transformation strategy, and our commitment to offering choice and flexibility, we’ve created a whole host of new spaces onboard to meet our customers’ needs.

“We’ve got ten restaurants and ten bars, as well as more onboard activities and spaces for families including an indoor cinema and a fantastic new Kids’ Club with children’s pool and slide.

“I’m also really excited about our new flagship entertainment venue, Indigo – a huge space with incredible ocean views, sat right at the top of the ship.”

The ship, which started life as Celebrity Cruises’ Galaxy in 1996, has a capacity for 1,924 passengers.

Royal Caribbean signs deal with China’s Forbidden City Imperial Palace to showcase Chinese culture on Ovation of the Seas

Royal Caribbean and the Chinese Imperial Palace Museum (the Palace Museum) held a joint press conference today at a signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement in the Forbidden City’s Jianfu Palace. 

As part of the agreement, experts from different research fields selected by the Palace Museum will be invited to give lectures of Chinese history and culture to guests on Ovation of the Seas. 

The Palace Museum also will provide professional consultation of the ship’s interior décor and art program. In addition, signature pieces from the collections of the Imperial Palace Museum will be on display to promote the traditional culture and arts of China. Paintings and art pieces created by artists from the Palace Museum will be available for guests to purchase at auctions held onboard.

Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship that debuts in April, will be the first to homeport in China immediately after its delivery and will begin service from Tianjin beginning June 2016.

The signing ceremony officially launches the “2016 – Let’s Ovation” campaign in China and marks the countdown to Ovation of the Seas’ maiden voyage in China.

“We are proud of the extensive collection of art and relics that represent the imperial treasures of the Ming and Qing Dynasties and it is our goal at The Palace Museum to showcase the traditional Chinese culture to people all over the world,” said Shan Jixian, Director of the Imperial Palace Museum. “This partnership with Royal Caribbean International and our programs on Ovation of the Seas will help to further these objectives. We are excited to promote the rich heritage of the Forbidden City and China to the guests of the world’s largest global cruise line and we hope to continue to expand on these efforts.”

Dr. Zinan Liu, President of North APAC and China, Royal Caribbean International said: “Cruising is becoming increasingly popular with Chinese travelers and Royal Caribbean’s award-winning and state-of-the-art ships with features found only on Royal Caribbean are very appealing to those consumers looking for a high quality vacation experience. Quantum of the Seas has been very well received by our Chinese guests and we are excited to now bring Ovation of the Seas to Tianjin. Sailing two of the world’s newest and most technologically advanced ships in China demonstrate our leadership and commitment to the market and this partnership with the Palace Museum showcasing China’s rich heritage will bring yet another unique element to our vacation offering.”

Ovation of the Seas will be officially launched in April 2016, when she departs Southampton for Tianjin, China on a 53-day Global Odyssey. She will begin her first homeport sailing season in China from Tianjin in June 2016. Ovation of the Seas, together with Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas, will make up the largest fleet of any cruise line sailing in China.

Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas bound for Asia, Australia

Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas bound for Asia, Australia

By Rebecca Tobin

Royal Caribbean International’s Legend of the Seas will cruise to Asia and Australia during the 2015-2016 season, a move that gives the line a year-round presence in Singapore.

The Legend will operate cruises to Southeast Asia from Singapore during summer 2015. It will shift to a new homeport for the line, Brisbane, Australia, in November 2015 for cruises to Australia and the South Pacific.

The Mariner of the Seas, which also will operate seasonally from Singapore, rounds out Royal Caribbean’s year-round offerings in that port.

Royal Caribbean has been steadily increasing its offerings in Asia and Australia. Last month it announced it was commiting its newest ship, the 4,200-passenger Quantum of the Seas, year-round in Shanghai; it joins the Mariner and the Voyager of the Seas in that market.

It also will operate the Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas in Australia in addition to the Legend, which it said was a “record” deployment there.

 

The Legend will depart for Asia after an April Panama Canal cruise from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego, and it will offer three sailings across the Pacific: a 10-day cruise from Ensenada, Mexico, to Honolulu; a 17-day cruise to Sydney via French Polynesia, Fiji and New Caledonia; and a cruise from Sydney to Singapore.