Royal Caribbean Cruises is to sell one of its oldest ships to Thomson Cruises.
The 1,832-passenger Legend of the Seas will transfer to the UK cruise line in spring 2017 and will be renamed Tui Discovery 2.
No financial details were disclosed for the deal.
The 69,130-gross ton ship entered service for Royal Caribbean International in 1995. Legend of the Seas’ final sailing for the US company will be on March 13, 2017.
Thomson Cruises previously acquired Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas which has been re-named as Tui Discovery ahead of entering service this summer following a refurbishment.
All officers and crew working on Legend of there Seas will remain with the company and will be transferred to other vessels worldwide after the ship leaves the Royal Caribbean International fleet.
David Burling, member of the executive board at Tui Group and responsible for its northern region, said: “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.“
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 the UK cruise brand.
Tui UK and Ireland managing director Nick Longman, 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.”
Tui Group currently has a fleet of 13 cruise ships via its subsidiaries Tui Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Thomson Cruises.
“This transaction will result in an immaterial gain which will be recognised upon delivery of the ship,” Royal Caribbean said.
Company chairman and CEO Richard Fain said: “Since its inaugural sailing, Legend of the Seas has created many wonderful memories for hundreds of thousands of guests, and we expect this successful history to continue as she transitions to Thomson Cruises.
“While she will be missed, her transition supports our objective of moderate capacity growth.”
The announcement came just days after Royal Caribbean introduced Harmony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world.
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