Thomson welcomes TUI Discovery 2 to fleet

Thomson Cruises’ latest ship, TUI Discovery 2, officially joins the fleet this weekend with a low-key christening ceremony in Malaga.

The vessel – formerly Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas and a near-identical sister to last year’s debutante, TUI Discovery (ex-Splendour of the Seas) – has 915 cabins of which 40 per cent have balconies. Cruise fares are all-inclusive as standard.

Passengers can make use of an app to manage their onboard accounts and to book spa treatments, shore excursions, and meals in the speciality restaurants. From gourmet cuisine to laid-back street food, families and couples can get the most from […]

Fred’s fabulous four line up in Bergen

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines celebrated a historic gathering of its fleet this week with the Four Bs in Bergen. Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch sailed into Norway’s second city for a day of celebration and festivities.

It was the first time the quartet – from a company proud of its Norwegian heritage – had been together anywhere in the world.

The ships arrived in convoy in the early morning sunshine and formed up into diamond formation for their evening departure.

Passengers were welcomed by a marching band and locals in Norwegian national costume. During the day they were entertained by an […]

What makes Queen Mary 2 the centre of attention everywhere?

Once in a generation, perhaps a little more often, a means of transport gains iconic status, attracting public affection and admiring crowds wherever it goes.

In the steam age, there was the Flying Scotsman, and speed record-holder Mallard. In the jet age, it was Concorde in the air, and Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth 2 at sea.

Both are now gone. A few surviving examples of Concorde remain on display in museums around the world, and QE2 languishes in Dubai unsure as to whether its future will be as a floating hotel or on the scrapheap.

Today’s transport icon is its successor, Queen […]

On board QM2 for Cunard’s Salute to Liverpool

“Welcome to the world’s only true ocean liner” – came the announcement over Queen Mary 2’s public address. Not, surprisingly, from Captain Christopher Wells but from Entertainment Director Joanna Haley.

I boarded the ship in Southampton yesterday (Sunday) for a 10-day voyage whose highlight comes next Bank Holiday weekend when all three Cunard Queens will be together in the Mersey to pay tribute to the city that was originally the company’s home.

On the way there, QM2 will be visiting Cobh – the last port of call for Titanic – Dublin, and Greenock on the Clyde – where many of Cunard’s […]

Splendour to become Thomson Discovery


Get ready to discover Thomson’s newest cruise ship – the former Splendour of the Seas is to be re-named Thomson Discovery  and will be based in Palma, Mallorca, next summer.

The 1,830-passenger ship is a huge step up for Thomson and will be their first to offer a significant number of balcony cabins – almost 40 per cent of the 915 total.

Originally launched in 1996, the ship was given a $55 million makeover less than four years ago, when the entire interior of the ship was refurbished, new propellers and thrusters were fitted, and 126 balconies added.

Its family-friendly facilities include a rock […]

How to stretch a cruise ship by 24m

Work has started on MSC Cruises’ €200 million (£160 million) project to stretch four of the line’s ships. The first, MSC Armonia, was cut in two in a dry dock in Palermo, Sicily, today; over the next few weeks a pre-fabricated 24 metre mid-section will be welded in place, adding extra cabins, public rooms, and crew space.
The Renaissance Project will then repeat the procedure on sister ships MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera, and MSC Lirica, all built between 2003 and 2005. They are each 251 metres long, measuring 60,000 gross tons, and carrying 2,199 passengers.
After the lengthening, they will […]

Round-Britain cruise on CMV’s Astor

An enforced itinerary change has brought an unexpected bonus – in the shape of a one-off round-Britain cruise – for Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Astor.
The ship, which CMV take to Australia during the winter, usually spends the summer on charter to German operator Transocean Toursand is not available on European cruises to British guests.
Next year’s return voyage from Fremantle has been cut from 46 nights to 38 as the ship will no longer be calling at ports in West Africa because of the current outbreak of Ebola fever.
The 600-passenger vessel will now arrive at Tilbury Docks, on the Thames, […]

Cunard cancel two Queen Victoria cruises to carry out Azipod repairs

Two cruises on Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria have been cancelled so that a bearing can be replaced on one of the vessel’s Azipod propulsion units.
The cruise ship’s scheduled maintenance dry-dock has been brought forward from December 2015 to January so the work can be carried out before its next world voyage, embarking on January 20.
The affected cruises are a 12-night trip to the Canaries from January 3 to 15, and a five-nighter to Amsterdam and Cherbourg on January 15-20.
Passengers who had hoped to travel on the cancelled dates will be given a £100 on-board credit if they book any […]

CMV charters cruise ship Azores to replace retiring Love Boat Discovery

Cruise & Maritime Voyages have found a replacement ship to take over from Discovery next year.
The company, which also operates Marco Polo and Astor, is to charter Azores from Portuguese operator Portuscale. The ship’s first cruise in its new colours will leave Bristol’s Avonmouth docks on January 26 – a 30-night voyage to the Caribbean.
During the course of 2015 the ship will also be sailing from London’s Tilbury docks and Hull. The details of itineraries to destinations including the Northern Lights, Mediterranean and a Scottish-themed Edinburgh Festival cruise, will be announced next week.
Azores, which first entered service in 1948, […]

After travelling hopefully across the Atlantic, QM2 delivers us to New York

Robert Louis Stevenson got it right. “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive,” he wrote in El Dorado. He also said “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
I should have been thinking of those two statements when the alarm woke me at 4.15 am on Friday morning.
It had been set so there was time to drag myself from bed in time for a landmark moment in Queen Mary 2’s Transatlantic crossing.
The Verrazano Narrows Bridge spans the entrance to the harbour, crossing from Brooklyn […]