Thomson Cruises to be renamed Marella Cruises

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Thomson Cruises is to be rebranded as Marella Cruises, at the same time that Thomson changes to Tui later this month.

Marella, meaning ‘shining sea’ in Celtic, was selected to give the cruise line ‘stand out in the cruise market’ and to give it its own identity from the company’s European cruise brand, Tui Cruises.

Distribution and cruise director Helen Caron said: “We don’t want British guests to be confused with the group’s cruise business in Europe. Marella Cruises will still have the Tui smile logo, but a new Marella Cruises logo in a blue box, similar to the way we would market Sensatori as part of the world of Tui.  The name was chosen to reflect the spirit of exploration and discovery across the seas.”

Confirming Marella cruises would still offer its fully-integrated fly-cruise programme, from 22 regional UK airports, across its fleet of six ships once Marella Explorer enters service in May 2018, Caron added: “Marella Cruises takes us to a cruise brand from a tour operator brand. We expect the new name to open us up to a whole new market of customers who haven’t considered a Thomson cruise before. It’s very exciting and come at the perfect time as we modernise our fleet and add more and more destinations.”

News of the rebrand came as Tui also announced a new homeport in Asia for winter 2018. The newly named Marella Discovery will sail from Lankawi to 18 new ports of call on 14 new adult-only itineraries, with customers also able to join from Bangkok. Ports of call include Ho Chi Minh City, Cambodia and Kuala Lumpur, and also to Mumbai, Mangalore, Cochin and Colombo.

Caron said: “Asia is an incredibly diverse part of the world and I have no doubt that our customers are going to love their adventures across countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, India and Oman to name a few.”

For the first time in the company’s history, Tui is also going to base two ships in Barbados in winter 2018. Marella Explorer will be joined by Marella Celebration.

More: Tui Group remains on course for 10% earnings growth

Thomas Cook Facebook and Twitter ad takes swipe at rival Tui’s rebrand

Tui starts rebrand of Thomson shop network

Carnival Sunshine officially renamed

Carnival Sunshine officially renamed

Carnival Sunshine has finally been officially renamed following its major renovation and unofficial rebranding earlier this year.

Back in May, the vessel – formerly known as the Carnival Destiny – underwent a complete overhaul worth $155 million (£96 million), with the creation of new entertainments including a huge waterpark, new dining venues and improved cabins.

Although it has been sailing on Mediterranean itineraries during the summer, the Sunshine arrived in New Orleans this weekend to be officially renamed in a ceremony that included jazz music and godmother Lin Arison; arts patron, philanthropist and widow of the late Carnival Corporation founder Ted Arison.

Cruise Critic reports that she said: “I think one of the most exciting things that happened today, for me, was going around the ship and seeing the transformation.

“I know that it’s going to continue being lucky, which is the most important thing for a ship.”

At the ceremony itself, there was a marching band, as well as an assortment of singers and dancers, with performers hailing from the National YoungArts Foundation, which was established by the Arisons.

When the ship was christened the first time as the Destiny, it was the world’s largest vessel.

Brand plans in the Caribbean

Brand plans in the Caribbean

By Tom Stieghorst

*InsightAs cruising grows globally, the Caribbean finds itself competing with rich destinations that have plenty of capital. How do Caribbean countries find the resources to keep their edge in the battle for passengers?

One solution appears to be to tap into the power of established local brands, as some cruise lines and tour operators are doing in Jamaica.

Royal Caribbean International has struck a branding partnership with Red Stripe, the well-known beer brewed on the island by Desnoes & Geddes. The beer’s squat brown bottle and painted label are a Jamaican icon, and it is distributed in a number of foreign countries by Diageo, the worldwide liquor marketer.*TomStieghorst

Another example is support by Appleton Rum for tours of the 2,000 acre Good Hope estate, a plantation near Falmouth where Royal’s giant Oasis and Allure of the Seas ships dock.

Tour operator Chukka Caribbean Adventures offers the culturally-focused tours. This year it developed excursions for guests to the estate based on coffee, spices and rum, all which were once produced at the historical attraction.

Visitors can take a step back in time to when plantation culture was in its prime, and then purchase products before returning to their ship.

In addition to Appleton, sponsors include Jablum Coffee and Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning.

The use of international brands leverages the earning power of local Caribbean businesses beyond what they might otherwise yield. Some of that money can be returned to marketing local tourist sites to international travelers, fueling a virtuous cycle.

The possibility for rum and beer sponsorships across the Caribbean seems especially promising, with nearly every island producing its own version of rum, from Cruzan in the Virgin Islands to Mount Gay in Barbados and Betancourt in Haiti.

Beyond Red Stripe, beer exports with international followings include Presidente and Bohemia in the Dominican Republic and Kalik in the Bahamas.

Branded partnerships represent the kind of creative financial thinking that Caribbean destinations will have to employ to compete with rich destinations like Singapore and Hong Kong for cruise passengers.

Home-grown brands are a not-so-hidden Caribbean asset, and the time is ripe to put them to good use.