The 1,506-passenger cruise ship Costa Europa is going to a new home – and getting a new name – from April next year, when the vessel will be chartered to Thomson Cruises.
It will be re-named the Thomson Dream, and as the largest ship in the Thomson fleet, will sail seven-night Mediterranean cruises from Palma de Mallorca to Barcelona, Rome, Florence, and Tunis.
The ship, originally built in 1986 as Homeric, was later stretched and became the Holland America Westerdam before being transferred to Italian line Costa in 2002. It will be sailing its final season for Costa this winter on 18-day itineraries from Savona to Dubai and back, via the Red Sea.
Thomson will be chartering the ship for 10 years, and the deal gives the UK-based company to buy the vessel outright after five years.
Thomson’s director of cruising, David Selby said: “Palma is ideal as a home port. Passengers have a short flight from 22 different UK airports and once there, it is ideally situated to reach a whole host of fantastically varied destinations during a seven night cruise. This latest addition to the fleet reinforces the importance of the cruise market to Thomson and our commitment to its growth.”
A standalone ‘Thomson Dream brochure covering itineraries for Summer 2010 will go on sale on July 16, with prices from £729 per person based on two adults sharing, including return flights and accommodation on a full-board basis. Plans for the Winter 2010/2011 season will be revealed soon.
Any passengers booked on Europa sailings after the scheduled transfer to Thomson will be offered an 11-day cruise with a similar itinerary on Costa Mediterranea, departing from Savona.
Costa may be losing one ship, but they have three more under construction, as well as Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica, which were christened together in Genoa last month.