In a move that takes them further from their ‘traditional’ winter cruising grounds than ever, Thomson Cruises will make it’s first ever, winter season sailings from Dubai over the winter of 2016-17.
A series of two alternating, weekly seven night itineraries will be offered aboard the 33,900 ton, 1,250 passenger Thomson Celebration- originally built as the Noordam in 1984 for the Holland America Line.
Each of the two itineraries- ‘Cities of Gold’ and ‘Arabian Nights’- features an overnight, on board stay in Dubai. Between them, these two cruises will offer up ports of call in places such as Bahrain, Muscat, Abu Dhabi.
Direct flights will be offered form no less than six region UK airports- Cardiff, Newcastle, London Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. The line has yet to say whether these will be on their own airline or, more likely, as a tie in with Emirates.
What each trip will definitely offer is the opportunity to combine each seven night fly cruise with a week’s pre-or post cruise hotel stay at Atlantis- the Palms hotel in Dubai.
All things considered, these new cruise and stay offer a good combination of a busy, port intensive cruise, garnished with a healthy dollop of winter sun, and the possibility of a week chilling out in a hotel synonymous with excess and bling.
I expect it to sell well in the UK market. Bookings open for all sailings effective November, 2015.
As ever, stay tuned for updates.