Thomson |Cruises has announced that it’s new acquisition, to be renamed Thomson Discovery, will be based in the Mediterranean in June, 2016, following a refurbishment and corporate rebranding.
The ship, currently sailing as Royal Caribbean’s 1996-built Splendour Of The Seas, is twice as large as any other ship in the current Thomson fleet, and comes in at around 70,000 tons. And- in a first for the UK side of the company- Thomson will own a ship with around 40 per cent of cabins that have private balconies.
As previously predicted on this blog, the ship will be based in Palma De Mallorca for a first season, sailing on four alternating seven day itineraries. Ports of call will feature all of the front rank ‘Meddy-Go-Round’ favourite destinations such as Rome, Florence, Villefranche, Barcelona and Cadiz.
With a capacity of 1,830 passengers accommodated in some 915 cabins, the addition of Thomson Discovery to the Thomson portfolio allows the line considerable options to shuffle what will now be a five ship fleet pack. The ship will replace the ageing island Escape- ironically, another ex Royal Caribbean ship which has been routinely laid up for the last few winter seasons.
While the company has yet to announce plans for any winter deployment of this prime new product, I would bet on her going out to the Caribbean to sail out of Barbados. This would allow Thomson to offer a significantly upgraded product to compete with the big P&O vessels that sail winter round from the Caribbean port.
Naturally, time and tide will tell. As ever, stay tuned.