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.

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Thomson Cruises adds Guatemala to winter programme

Thomson Cruise ship (the shadow is of MSC Poesia); photo by Dave Jones

by Phil Davies

Guatemala is being introduced together with more Cuba calls in an expanded Caribbean programme by Thomson Cruises for winter 2017-18.

Three ships will be based in the region including Thomson Celebration moving to a new homeport of La Romana in the Dominican Republic.

All-inclusive ships Tui Discovery and new addition Tui Discovery 2 will join Thomson Celebration and will sail out of Bridgetown, Barbados and Montego Bay, Jamaica respectively.

Thomson Celebration’s move to the Dominican Republic opens more opportunities to combine cruises with beach stays, with the new Sensatori Resort Punta Cana among properties added to the portfolio.

The port of Santo Tomas de Castilla in Guatemala is introduced on new Tui Discovery 2 itinerary, as well as Nassau in The Bahamas as part of re-positioning sailing.

The number of Cuban sailings on the new ship will be increased, giving passengers more chance to explore Havana during overnight stops.

Other destinations include St Lucia, Grenada and Antigua, St Maarten and Martinique.

Tui Discovery will sail on two new itineraries from Barbados, which include calls St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The cruises will be served by new regional Thomson Airways flights from Cardiff, Doncaster Sheffield, East Midlands, Glasgow, Newcastle and Stansted in addition to Birmingham, Manchester and Gatwick.

Thomson Dream will move to its new homeports of Santa Cruz, Tenerife and Las Palmas, Gran Canaria in November 2017.

Thomson Majesty and Thomson Spirit will both embark on their last sailings in November 2017 from Malaga and Limassol respectively before they leave the fleet.

The winter 2017 programme goes be on sale from Thursday (November 17).

Free all-inclusive upgrades are available on selected cruises on board Thomson Celebration, Thomson Dream, Thomson Majesty and Thomson Spirit which set sail between November 2017 and April 2018. Tui Discovery and Tui Discovery 2 offer all-inclusive packages as standard.

Thomson Cruises managing director Richard Sofer said: “We’re really excited about the introduction of the Dominican Republic as Thomson Celebration’s base for next winter.

“This is the first time we’ll have had three ships in the Caribbean and that means we can continue to offer more choice and flexibility to our customers, who we know are looking more and more for holidays further afield.”

Lifeboat Drill Accident: One Killed, Four Injured in Fall Aboard Harmony of the Seas

The Harmony of the Seas (Oasis 3) class ship leaves the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, France, May 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Harmony of the Seas (Oasis 3) class ship leaves the STX Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, France, May 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

One crew member was killed and four others were injured Tuesday in an accident during lifeboat drill aboard the world’s largest cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean confirmed that a Harmony of the Seas crew member had died of injuries sustained during a lifeboat drill conducted in Marseille, France. For other Harmony of the Seascrew members are receiving medical treatment, the cruise company said.

BBC reports that the five crew members were inside the lifeboat when it became detached from the fifth deck during a safety drill and fell 10 meters into the water below. Two of the injured suffered life-threatening injuries, BBC reported.

Harmony of the Seas is the world’s biggest cruise ship at more than 227,000 gross tons. The ship has capacity to carry 5,479 guests and is home to about 2,100 crew.

The cruise ship was delivered in May following 32 months of construction at the STX France shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France.

“We’re keeping our colleagues & their families in our thoughts & prayers,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement posted to Twitter.

The incident is the latest accident to occur during lifeboat safety drills on board cruise ships. In July, one crew member was killed and three others were injured aboard the Norwegian Breakaway were injured during a rescue boat drill in Bermuda. In 2013, five crew members died and three were injured during a drill aboard the cruise ship Thomson Majesty in the Canary Islands.

Accidents such as these have prompted the Cruise Lines International Association, the largest trade organization serving the international cruise industry, to adopt a policy requiring that “the loading of lifeboats for training purposes is to be performed only while the boat is waterborne and the boat should be lowered and raised with only the lifeboat crew onboard.”

The policy calls for at least one lifeboat on each ship to be filled with crew members equal in number to its certified number of occupants at least every six months for ships with more than 300 crew members.