In an announcement made today, December 11th, TUI has announced that three of the four ships currently sailing for it’s UK based, Thomson Cruises arm, will benefit from the addition of some ninety-three balcony cabins between them.
The one exception is Thomson Dream, which already has six upper deck balcony suites in the forward part of the ship.
The other three ships, sisters Thomson Spirit and Thomson Celebration, and the stand alone Thomson Majesty, are expected to be fully retro fitted with balconies by November 2014.
Sailing from Barbados next winter, Thomson Celebration will gain some twenty-six balcony rooms. Surprisingly, virtual twin sister, Thomson Spirit, gains just nineteen.
This pair of 33,000 ton sisters began life with Holland America Line in 1983 and 1984, as the Nieuw Amsterdam (Spirit) and the Noordam (Celebration). They each have a current capacity of around 1,245 passengers, carried in 627 passengers.
Third vessel, Thomson Majesty, will gain some twenty-eight balconies. Built as the Royal Majesty in 1992, this ship was lengthened after her purchase by NCL in 1998, and renamed as Norwegian Majesty. She was for many years a staple of the Boston to Bermuda run.
In 2008, she was sold to Louis Cruises as part of a proposed, two ship deal that should have seen her fleet mate, Norwegian Dream, also going to Louis. That ship was rejected on technical grounds. Renamed the Louis Majesty, she was soon joined by another ex Holland America Line stalwart, now sailing as the Thomson Dream.
Louis Majesty was then charted to Thomson as a replacement for the Thomson Destiny. Earlier this year, she suffered an unfortunate accident during a crew boat drill while docked in Las Palmas, which resulted in the deaths of five crewmen, and injuries to three others.
As things stand, the 41,000 ton ship carries around 1,460 passengers. The addition of balcony cabins is long overdue on all three of these ships.
In fact, it is really surprising that such work has not been undertaken before. This kind of balcony addition has been carried out successfully on similar styled vessels such as Horizon and Zenith, one time potential candidates to join the Thomson fleet themselves.
It will give each of these three ships a handful of top drawer balcony options but, in truth, the total of ninety-three overall is few enough across the board for each ship. No shipyard has yet been announced for the work. It makes for less than a hundred balcony cabins on offer across the entire Thomson quartet.
More details here as they become available. As always, stay tuned.