Royal Caribbean have announced the sale of Splendour of the Seas to UK cruise operator Thomson Cruises ahead of the cruise ship’s first cruise season in the Middle East offering roundtrip cruises out of Dubai.
Splendour of the Seas will be transferred to Thomson Cruises in summer 2016, so her upcoming 2015/16 cruise season, her first in the Middle East, will not be affected, Helen Beck, Sales Director, EMEA, Royal Caribbean International confirmed to Cruise Arabia, adding that the cruise line will continue to operate in the Middle East.
“We’re in the lovely position of having Splendour sailing her last winter under Royal Caribbean colours with us in the Arabian Gulf and our plan is to replace her with another vessel for the 2016 / 17 winter season,” said Beck.
The sale of Splendour of the Seas comes after months of speculation that Royal Caribbean were planning to sell Majesty of the Seas, their oldest cruise ship. Splendour of the Seas will be a major addition to the Thomson Brand and will be the largest cruise ship ever operated by the cruise company.
“We’re very excited to be welcoming the ship to our fleet next summer,” said Helen Caron, Managing Director of Thomson Cruises. “This is the first step in our fleet modernisation and transformation strategy and will bring an enhanced offering to our customers with more balcony cabins than ever before, a wider choice of suites, an increased number of dining options and extra entertainment and activity facilities. We are confident that our customers will enjoy sailing on the new addition to our fleet.”
Splendour of the Seas will cruise roundtrip from Dubai on a 7-night itinerary in the Arabian Gulf from December 14th, 2015 until April 4th, 2016 when she will cruise from Dubai to Venice, where the handover to Thomson Cruises is likely to take place.
Splendour of the Seas’ 14 roundtrip Dubai cruises will be Royal Caribbean’s re-entry to the Middle East market after they pulled out in 2013. Cruise Arabia & Africa had worried that her sale would mark Royal Caribbean’s end to Middle East cruises, but Helen Beck has assured us she will be replaced with another ship.