Thomson Cruises is looking to modernise its fleet both with potential new ships and upgrades to existing ships.
Managing director Fraser Ellacott disclosed that there would be news about “exciting plans” for the UK’s third largest cruise company in three to four months time.
“For the longer term, clearly we have a need to modernise,” he told Travel Weekly.
When asked if this would involve work to the existing fleet and new tonnage, he replied that both were under consideration.
The development flowed from a strategic review of the company he undertook when taking the helm nine months ago.
Ellacott is also looking to the Middle East and North Africa as possible new destinations from summer 2013, identifying Libya, Lebanon, Algeria and the Dead Sea as offering history and culture that would appeal to British passengers in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Thomson Cruises operates four ships – Thomson Dream, Thomson Spirit, Thomson Destiny and Thomson Celebration – together with Island Cruises’ Island Escape and was the first to operate in the Red Sea in 2005.
Ellacott said it was too early to gauge the impact of the Costa Concordia tragedy on business, saying the industry would learn any lessons to emerge from what he described as a “significant event”.
In the meantime, he is anxious to highlight the key USP’s of the Tui UK & Ireland cruise brand, such as fly-cruises from 22 regional airports, tips and service charges included in the up-front price, destination-rich itineraries and more flexible cruise and stay options.
He described feedback from customer service questionnaires in 2011 as the best ever and continuing to improve, with around half of passengers on repeat cruises with the company.
“Once people have tried cruising with us, very few don’t go back,” he said.
A return to ex-UK sailings this summer with Thomson Spirit offering departures from Newcastle and Harwich was proving popular with customers in the north of England, added Ellacott.
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