Thomson Cruises invited top Irish travel agents to the launch party onboard TUI Discovery in Palma de Mallorca on Thursday 9th June, followed by an overnight sailing to Barcelona. The ship is the largest and most modern ship in the Thomson fleet and will be all-inclusive as standard from summer 2017.
Naming the ship TUI Discovery is part of a re-brand that will see the whole of Thomson change to TUI over the next 18 months. Thomson Cruises recently announced the expansion of its fleet with the acquisition of ‘Legend of the Seas’ from Royal Caribbean International. Thomson Cruises will operate the vessel, to be renamed ‘TUI Discovery 2’, from May 2017.
The 11-deck TUI Discovery, which has capacity for 1,830 passengers in 915 cabins and has a crew of 761, is sailing four Western Mediterranean itineraries out of Palma this summer, then transfer to the Caribbean for the winter season.
Welcoming guests to the launch party, Helen Caron, Managing Director, Thomson Cruises, summed up her excitement at heading up the transformation of the ship with: “What woman wouldn’t want to go out with a big fat cheque to buy all the furnishings that you can seen on this ship!”
Later, on deck 9, there was an action-packed production of performers from the destinations visited by the Thomson fleet, including a gigantic Spanish bull puppet, Caribbean carnival dancers in full costume, Middle Eastern whirling dervishes and belly dancers.
Grammy Award-winning artist Jess Glynne then wowed unsuspecting special guests with a medley of number one hits from her globally bestselling album, ‘I Cry When I Laugh’. Fireworks lit up the city to close the show as Jess finished her set with her smash hit ‘Hold My Hand’, before the ship set sail for Barcelona.
The spectacular show was the brainchild of Black Skull Creative’s Dan Shipton and Ross Nicholson, who together have produced high-profile events such as the London 2012 Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
The ship was originally launched by Royal Caribbean International as Splendour of the Seas in 1995, underwent $53 million modifications in 2011 and made her final sailing for Royal Caribbean on 4th April 2016. She then joined Thomson Cruises and was renamed TUI Discovery, with an extensive refit completed in Cadiz.
An adults-only sunbathing area and a new open-air cinema screen have been added, along with Break Out & Escape, a real-life escape room game where teams find clues and solve puzzles before the time runs out. Another first for Thomson Cruises are the self-service screens where guests can make reservations for restaurants, spa treatments and shore excursions.
See Facebook.com/IrishTravelTradeNews for ITTN’s social photo coverage of the launch.