Thomson and First Choice, both household names in the UK holiday market, are set to lose their individual identity with the extension of the TUI brand across Europe.
The Thomson name has been around since the 1965 merger of a number of travel operators, including Skytours and Britannia Airways, which formed Thomson Tour Operations.
The current fleet consists of former Holland America ships: Thomson Celebration (previously Noordam) and Thomson Spirit (previously Nieuw Amsterdam) date from 1983-4 and have a gross tonnage of almost 34,000.
There is also Thomson Dream (1986/54,763gt), built as Homeric, the last new ship for Home Lines; Thomson Majesty (1992/41,662gt), laid down as Birka Queen, but delivered as Royal Majesty and soon to be replaced by Island Escape (1982/40,171gt).
The company owns Thomson Celebration and Island Escape and has both Thomson Spirit and Thomson Majesty on charter from Louis Cruises, while Thomson Dream is on halfway through a ten-year charter from Costa Cruises.
Island Escape will be replaced by Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas, to be renamed Thomson Discovery (1996/69,472gt), next year and Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2 (both 1996-7/77,000gt) will transfer from the parent TUI brand in Germany to the Thomson fleet.