TUI Poised to Be Biggest Premium European Cruise Line

TUI Cruises' Mein Schiff 6
Mein Schiff 6

The runaway growth from TUI Cruises targeting German cruise passengers will have an unintended effect for the cruise line: it will become the biggest operator in Europe offering a premium level product experience in the near future.

Come 2019, the brand will have a fleet of six modern large Mein Schiff ships, plus the existing Mein Schiff 2, for a total of seven vessels and over 17,500 berths, with a projected capacity of over 650,000 guests.

This will move them past P&O UK, which has been the largest premium European brand for some time, which has a projected 2019 capacity of around 550,000 cruise passengers with seven ships and 17,311 berths.

Other premium lines in Europe include Cunard Line, Fred. Olsen and Saga Cruises.

Royal Caribbean and Ctrip to Kill SkySea Brand

SkySea Golden Era

Royal Caribbean Cruises and Ctrip announced that they are ending the SkySea Cruise Line joint venture, which has carried well over 200,000 Chinese passengers since launching service in 2015.

The two companies had formed the joint venture in 2014 and installed a new management team early last year, led by Ken Muskat, CEO.

Despite a number of positive major changes for the brand, including an early deployment announcement last August, the joint venture will come to an end later this year.

The news comes on the heels of a number of changes in the Chinese cruise market that has capacity moving downward in 2018 and 2019, according to the 2018-2019 Cruise Industry News Annual Report. It’s also in stark contrast to once bullish growth plans for SkySea.

TUI AG’s Marella Cruises has agreed to purchase Golden Era, with delivery expected in December 2018, according to Royal Caribbean.

After the sale of Golden Era, it is expected that SkySea will wind down its business operations before the end of 2018. The companies expect that favourable business conditions in China and elsewhere will allow them to absorb most SkySea employees into available positions at Royal Caribbean and China.

Through its Royal Caribbean International brand, Royal Caribbean will continue to serve the Chinese market, with the largest fleet deployment in the region and a strong collaborative relationship with Ctrip, the company said.

Thomson Cruises to be renamed Marella Cruises

Image result for thomson cruises

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.

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