Thomson Cruises to add Royal Caribbean ship to fleet

Thomson Cruises’ fleet is to be boosted next year with the addition of a Royal Caribbean International ship.

The US cruise line is to sell 1,830-passenger Splendour of the Seas to Tui Cruises for an undisclosed sum.

The 69,130-ton vessel, which first entered service in 1996, will then be leased to Thomson Cruises.

The deal will see Splendour of the Seas operate its last sailing for Royal Caribbean on April 4, 2016, before being transferred to Tui.

Royal Caribbean Cruises chairman and CEO Richard Fain said: “Splendour of the Seas debuted in 1996 and has served Royal Caribbean International extremely well.

“The ship’s sale is in line with our strategic objective of divesting ourselves of older hardware.”

The ship will complete its scheduled cruises before being transferred and no sailings will be altered or disrupted due to the sale, according to the company.

Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley said: “Splendour of the Seas has been a treasured member of the Royal Caribbean International family since she entered service.

“She has offered countless guests memorable vacation experiences and we look forward to continuing to provide the same Gold Anchor Service our brand is known for right up to the last sailing.”

All officers and crew will remain with the company and will be transferred to other vessels.

The ship will be the largest in the Thomson Cruises’ fleet, featuring a rock-climbing wall, nine hole mini golf course, indoor swimming pool, eight bars and lounges and multiple dining options.

Itineraries are due to go on sale at the end of next month.

Thomson Cruises managing director Helen Caron said: “We’re very excited to be welcoming the ship to our fleet next summer.

“This is the first step in our fleet modernisation and transformation strategy and will bring an enhanced offering to our customers with more balcony cabins than ever before, a wider choice of suites, an increased number of dining options and extra entertainment and activity facilities. We are confident that our customers will enjoy sailing on the new addition to our fleet.”

Tui Group strategic platforms chief executive Sebastian Ebel said: “Tui Group is pleased to have been able to secure the purchase of this ship.

“Following the recent announcement of our purchase of luxury cruise ship Europa 2 for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, this continues to demonstrate our long term strategy of investing in our cruise operations as one of our key product areas.”


Thomson Cruises reveals new home ports and two ship revamps

By Phil Davies

Thomson Cruises reveals new home ports and two ship revamps

Dubrovnik is to be the new home port for Thomson Cruises in 2015 as part of an expanded programme including 28 new destinations, including Albania.

Thomson Celebration will be based in the Croatian port running four new itineraries from May 7, 2015.

Thomson Spirit and Thomson Majesty (pictured) will join the Platinum fleet next summer, with an interior makeover and 28 balcony cabins on Majesty and 19 on Spirit.

Thomson Spirit will also be based in the new home port of Marmaris in Turkey.

Thomson Celebration will go child free on its four itineraries from Dubrovnik with new ports of call including Sibenik, Korcula, Rovinj, Split, and Hvar in Croatia; Trieste, Bari, and Brindisi in Italy; and Corinth and Itea in Greece.

New regional airports are being added to serve the Dubrovnik sailings, giving 50,000 seats across the summer from Glasgow, Newcastle and Bristol, as well as Birmingham, Manchester and Gatwick.

New destinations for Thomson Dream incude Elba, San Remo (for Monaco), and La Spezia (for Portofino) in Italy, Sete (for Carcassonne) in France and Tarragona, Spain.

Thomson Majesty will be visiting six new ports, including Ravenna and Lipari in Italy, Durres in Albania, Rijeka in Croatia, Chania in Crete and Kalamata.

The cruises go on sale on April 24.

Thomson Cruises managing director Helen Caron said: “Summer 2015 will be a record year for Thomson Cruises as we introduce a total of 28 new ports of calls, 13 new itineraries and an exciting new home port of Dubrovnik for Thomson Celebration.

“Listening to our customers is at the heart of all our planning, which is why we’re offering more choice and variety of destinations in our some of our favoured locations, and providing our guests the flexibility on their holiday to cruise and stay, with even more hotels introduced to our collection.

“We hope the investment to modernise our ships and give Thomson Spirit and Thomson Majesty the Platinum seal of approval, along with the introduction of balcony cabins, will enhance the overall experience for everyone we welcome on board.”

Thomson brochures to use augmented reality

Thomson brochures to use augmented reality

Cruise operator introduces new technology to its traditional brochure

New brochures introduced by Thomson Cruises for its 2014 and 2015 programme of cruises will utilise new augmented reality technology to allow potential passengers to get a better idea of what their holiday will be like.

According to the company, the augmented reality will be accessible on any handheld device and can be used in conjunction with the traditional paper brochure sent out to interested parties on an annual basis.

The development represents a first for the line, and will allow users to view additional content by holding their smartphone or tablet over a specific page in the brochure.

Fraser Ellacott, Thomson Cruises customer operations director, commented: “Showcasing the true experience of life on a cruise ship will … go a long way in helping customers considering a cruise make their decision.”

He added that first-time cruisers will also have a better idea of what to expect thanks to the new technology.