Thomson Cruises: Staying Traditional

Thomson Cruises is on a growth course with what its Head of Cruise David Selby calls a traditional cruise product – where the “passengers are served very, very well and where they can form friendships.”

Selby feels that some of the big ships are losing these aspects of the cruise experience. Visiting a big, new ship recently, he said he could not fail to be impressed, but did not feel very special onboard, the crew did not seem to be there to serve him in particular, and, because of its size, the ship felt very impersonal.

The U.K. market will continue to grow, according to Selby, who said the growth is driven by supply. Although anybody can give away cruise, he said, the challenge in a rapidly expanding market is to get a good price. With more ships entering the market, Selby does not think that the U.K. will be as profitable in the near term as it has been.

Having recently completed its first winter season with the 1,212-passenger Thomson Spirit in the Red Sea, sailing from Sharm El Sheik, Selby said it was “pretty much successful given the instability in the region.” He added that Thomson is committed to the program and will be back next winter.

Next summer, Thomson is adding a fifth ship, the Calvpso. which will be an adults-only ship. Is further expansion in the works? “If I had one more ship that would be nice. I know what I would do with it,” Selby said, who would not be more specific.

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