Thomson Purchase QE2 From Cunard

QE2 Left to rust in Dubai

The team can exclusively reveal that the Queen Elizabeth 2 (the famous former flagship of Cunard) is set to be bought by Thomson Cruises.

The QE2 (as she is known) is currently floating in Dubai and her lease expires in November this year.

She left the Cunard fleet in 2008 and was previously bought by a company that intended to turn her into a hotel. She has since been left to rust in Dubai and there had been rumours she would be scrapped after pictures emerged of the disrepair she was falling into.

However, Thomson Cruises have announced that they will be purchasing her once her lease is up.

Helen Caron, Managing Director of Thomson Cruises said: “We are excited to have another new ship join our fantastic fleet. Passengers have already told us how excited they are for our newest ship [the Thomson Discovery] and they now have another new launch to look forward to.

“We will be making adaptations to increase the family friendly aspect of the QE2 and look forward to introducing families, couples and cruisers from all walks of life to a true ocean liner.”

It has not yet been revealed what these adaptations may be, but the ship can currently accommodate 1,892 passengers and 1,040 crew. There are five restaurants, two cafes, three swimming pools, a cinema and a casino.

It has also been rumoured that the ship will be called the Thomson Triumph but this has not yet been confirmed by the cruise line.

Traditionally the QE2 has made transatlantic sailings, however it seems likely that she could be sailing on Mediterranean itineraries once under Thomson’s control.

Guest Post: January’s good, bad and ugly on social media

By Travolution

By Travolution

By Dean Harvey, Digital Development Director at Designate.

We’re well into the New Year now and a fresh release of TV advertising from the travel industry is all over our screens, enticing us to think about sunnier days ahead and forget the gloomy weather outside.

The dynamics between established media and social media are largely unknown as it is relatively new and not yet mature (when compared to traditional media such as press, TV or radio).

Double screening* techniques are being explored by brands – such as using Twitter hashtags as part of their TV advertising.

The theory being that while watching TV you also are multi-tasking and using your smartphone or tablet. In doing so you can start or continue a conversation directly with your audience – while being prompted by your TV adverts.

A quick look at those social media ‘conversations’ can be insightful about the impact of and reaction to a campaign.

Starting with the Ugly, it’s too tempting not to include the latest opus from Thomson in this section.

It is called ‘Simon The Ogre’ after all, who by his nature is ugly. The campaign is the brainchild of Gavin McGrath, creative director at the Thomson’s agency BMB and directed by Fredrik Bond.

Described as more of a mini movie than a TV advert it depicts an ogre, representing a de-humanised Dad of a family, who gradually becomes more human again as a result of being on a Thomson holiday.

Simon is ugly, but so too is some feedback online where it seems to have divided and polarised opinion.

Here’s just some of the conversation if you are following the Thomson hashtag #MeAgain.


And at the other end of the spectrum there is lots of positive sentiment too, making this release seem as if it’s achieved a ‘Marmite’ effect where people “love it or hate it”.


So for this edition of Good, Bad and Ugly it also gets my vote for being ‘Good’ too. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

Also, experimenting with new dynamics but sitting in the ‘Bad’ pile is British Airways.

Using double screening, their new TV ad is featured on their YouTube channel with additional functionality – at the right time in the advert the user is invited to click into the video taking them instantly through to the right part of the website, such as the ‘holiday finder’ or the inspired ‘picture your holiday’.

Nice. Using Jake Bugg as a soundtrack can’t have been cheap – but that seems to have been the only thing that has inspired its viewers.


There’s a missed opportunity here to use a Twitter hashtag on the TV advert to guide viewers towards the additional functionality of their website.

To redeem themselves, however, BA chose instead to use an outdoor advertising campaign that directed people to Twitter.

The #lookup campaign is a storming success, using interactive poster sites with children pointing every time one of their planes flies overhead.

Take a look for yourselves and join the million-plus people that have done so.

This is a great example of exploiting the dynamics between old and new media, coming together to work hard for the brand. Very clever, very good.

*Double Screening – The art of watching TV while simultaneously surfing on a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

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Royal Caribbean and Iglu top charts in Greenlight cruise search analysis

By Travolution

By Travolution

Specialist cruise travel agent and operator Royal Caribbean are leading the way in terms of profile on Google according to the latest sector analysis from Greenlight.

The search agency analysed the 2.2 million cruise-related queries on the leading search engine, finding that brand queries were by far the most popular, accounting for 59%.

‘Royal Caribbean’, the world’s second largest operator behind the owner of UK market leader P&O Cruises’ parent Carnival Corporation, accounted for 6% of searches.

The line was also the most visible advertiser for paid search on Google.

Iglu topped the ranking for natural results and also Greenlight’s integrated search league table for natural and paid search combined having gained 67% share of voice in the former.

The 12 month view of search in the cruise showed November dip following a five month period when search volumes remained fairly static at around 2.5 million queries.

A significant spike in March saw the sector leap to 3.3 million from a low of 1.5 million in February following a period of declining volumes.

While brand searches accounted for 59% of the overall total, destination related searches were 12%, generic 14% and cruise ships 15%.

In the natural search table Iglu beat and Thomas Cook into second and third place respectively, with Wikipedia and P&O Cruises making up the top 5.

Key word ‘Royal Caribbean’ was queried 135,00 times, 10% of all brand-related queries, and the UK version of review site Cruise Critic claimed 61% share of voice by ranking for 1,469 keywords.

Viva Voyage, Planet Cruise (which was bought by Iglu this year), and Iglu made up the top five most visible paid advertisers.

Royal Caribbean ships also fared well in the analysis, Independence of the Seas, which has sailed out of Southampton during the summer for the last six years.

This keyword was queried 18,100 times accounting for 5% of all cruise liner-related searches.

Analysis of destination-related searches found the ‘Caribbean cruises’, the world’s second largest destination for cruise behind Europe, accounted for 9% of searches.

‘Mediterranean cruises’ and ‘cruises from Southampton’ accounted for 5% and 3% of destination-related queries.

Of the 420 generic cruise keywords analysed ‘cruises’ accounted for 19% ‘last minute cruises 6% and ‘river cruises’ 5%.

Greenlight also assesses brand’s profile on social media. For cruise Youtube and Wikipedia claimed to the two top spots with Klout scores of 99 and 97 respectively.

They were followed by Thomas Cook, Thomson, Celebrity Cruises and P&O Cruises.

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