Hanover/Luton, 2 June 2016

TUI Group accelerates modernisation of Thomson Cruises in the UK

  • Acquisition of Legend of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International
  • Ship is to be renamed TUI Discovery 2 and will join six-strong fleet in May 2017
  • Strategy to modernise business will deliver growth and broaden customer base

The TUI Group continues to expand its own Hotel and Cruise portfolio. The world's leading tourism business will modernise its Thomson Cruises business in the UK through the acquisition of “Legend of the Seas” from Royal Caribbean International (RCI).  Thomson Cruises is part of the British subsidiary TUI UK & Ireland which is acquiring the 63,000 tonne vessel directly from RCI. Thomson Cruises will operate the vessel, to be renamed “TUI Discovery 2”, from May 2017. Through the acquisition, the Thomson Cruises fleet will to six ships.  Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.  

The acquisition delivers on the TUI Group strategy. TUI owns tour operators, airlines, hotels and cruises businesses. The cruise business is being a focus for driving growth for the global TUI Group as well as for TUI UK & Ireland.

David Burling, member of the Executive Board at TUI Group and responsible for the Northern Region commented: “We continue to grow and invest in our own hotel and cruise portfolio. The introduction of ‘TUI Discovery 2’ in May 2017 will accelerate our transformation programme for Thomson Cruises.  We are moving quickly to renew our fleet. With this ship, Thomson Cruises will be able to capitalise on strong growing demand. It is also our goal to enhance earnings opportunities in the future.“

In order to grow ahead of the market, the acquisition of “Legend of the Seas” will allow TUI Group to broaden its offering, together with the launch of the first “TUI Discovery” for Thomson Cruises next week and arrival of “Mein Schiff 5” for TUI Cruises in July 2016.  With the delivery of “Mein Schiff 7” and “Mein Schiff 8” for TUI Cruises, “Mein Schiff 1” and “Mein Schiff 2” will be acquired for the Thomson Cruises fleet in 2018 and 2019 respectively, signalling four ships in four years for UK cruise customers.

The 1,832 capacity ship (double occupancy) has 915 cabins, nearly 40 per cent of which have balconies. Customers will enjoy a wider choice of facilities and all-inclusive dining and entertainment options.

Nick Longman, Managing Director of TUI UK and Ireland said, “We’re looking forward to welcoming ‘TUI Discovery 2’ to our growing fleet in 2017 as we bring to life our modernisation strategy to benefit UK cruise customers.  This ship will offer something for everyone, helping to attract a broad and new customer base.  At the same time, we will ensure our cruise holidays maintain their friendly intimate feel, delivered by the friendliest crew at sea, not forgetting the focus we place on sailing to unique destinations that Thomson Cruises are well known for.”

The TUI Group currently has a fleet of 13 cruise ships via its subsidiaries TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises  and Thomson Cruises.

Interview with Helen Caron, Managing Director Thomson Cruises