Thomson responds to Caribbean cruise demand with Dream deployment

Thomson responds to Caribbean cruise demand with Dream deploymentBy Lucy Huxley

Thomson Cruises has announced it is to base a second ship in the Caribbean for winter 2014/15.Thomson Dream will homeport in Montego Bay Jamaica, joining Thomson Celebration which sails out of Barbados.

Both ships offer Thomson’s Platinum Cruise service following multi-million refurbishments.

Customer operations director Fraser Ellacott said: “It’s not by chance that we have chosen these two ships for these programmes.

“It’s a lot of capacity to commit to the Caribbean, but that’s what our customers are demanding.”

Thomson Dream will offer itineraries from Jamaica featuring ports of call including Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras and Cuba, with the Cuba call including an overnight stay in Havana.

Managing director of Tui UK David Burling said: “Jamaica as a destination is now our second-largest long-haul destination.

“We’ve doubled capacity to Jamaica in the last three years and have started Dreamliner flights to the island, and by next July all our flights to Jamaica will be on the Dreamliner.

Burling said Thomson’s Cruise & Stay offering with the new programme would be strong thanks to the introduction of two new hotel concepts on the island.

“We have just opened a Thomson Couples hotel in Ocho Rios, but the really big news is that on May 1 we will be opening a brand new Sensatory hotel, our luxury brand, in Negril.

“The property is situated on Seven Mile Beach, which was recently voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world.”

Ellacott said that about a third of Thomson Cruise customers took a seven-night cruise, another third took a 14-night cruise and the final third opted for cruise & stay holidays.

“We are unrivalled on the cruise & stay product that we provide. We offer just under 100 hotels to package up with our cruises around the world,” he said.

Ellacott added that further investment had been made in the Thomson Cruise programme with another 79 balconies being added across the fleet.

“A lot of customers were saying how important a balcony is, so all of our ships will now have balcony cabins on offer for this summer.”

The directors were speaking at the exclusive screening of a new promotional film for Thomson Dream out of Jamaica.

A two-minute film, featuring free-running team 3Run, will be released from today across Youtube, Twitter and Facebook and on all Thomson in-flight entertainment and in its retail shops.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Emirates Airline firms up order for 50 additional A380s

Press Release by Airbus

Emirates Airline and Airbus have completed discussions and signed the firm contract for 50 additional A380s originally announced at the Dubai Airshow on 17th November 2013. The contract documents were finalised by Tim Clark, Emirates Airline President, during a visit to Airbus’ Headquarters in Toulouse, France.

Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said on the occasion: “The A380 is our flagship aircraft. It is popular with our customers and delivers results for us in terms of operational performance. That is why we have ordered these additional 50 aircraft, to add to our A380 fleet.”

“This order is a major vote of confidence in the A380. Since delivery of their first aircraft in July 2008, Emirates’ A380 fleet has grown to be the largest in the world with 44 A380s in operation. We congratulate Emirates on this impressive achievement and thank the airline for their continued support of our flagship aircraft. As Tim Clark has often said, “The A380 really is a game-changing aircraft.” commented John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.

Since first entering service in 2007, to date 122 A380s have been delivered, to ten world class carriers. The aircraft flies 8,500 nautical miles or 15,700 kilometres non-stop, carrying more people at lower cost and with less impact on the environment. The spacious, quiet cabin and smooth ride have made the A380 a firm favourite with both airlines and passengers, resulting in higher load factors wherever it flies.

Carnival offers additional compensation to Triumph guests

Carnival offers additional compensation to Triumph guestsBy Phil Davies

Passengers on board stricken ship Carnival Triumph – said to be enduring ‘disgusting’ conditions – are to receive extra compensation.

Carnival Cruise Lines is offering $500 per person to the 3,143 passengers on board the ship which was left powerless in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday after an engine room fire.

The cash offer is in addition to a full refund of the cruise along with transportation expenses and reimbursement of all shipboard purchases.

Passengers on the stranded vessel, which is being towed to Mobile in Alabama today, will also receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount they paid for the cruise.

Chief executive and president Gerry Cahill conceded that conditions on board the ship had been “very challenging” following the loss of power.

He added: “We know it has been a longer journey back than we anticipated at the beginning of the week under very challenging circumstances.

“We are very sorry for what our guests have had to endure. Therefore, in addition to the full refund and future cruise credit already offered, we have decided to provide this additional compensation.

“I look forward to welcoming everyone to Mobile tomorrow and have mobilised our full resources to assist and support them as they travel home.”

The company is laying on transfer flights, coaches and 1,500 hotel rooms for passengers when the ship docks.

Sourced by Travel Weekly

Qatar A350 order conversion tipped to include more -1000s

By:   David Kaminski-Morrow London

The Doha-based carrier is dropping its commitment to the -800, the smallest member of the twinjet family, in favour of larger variants.

Qatar Airways has 20 A350-800s on order which formed part of a broad agreement for 80 A350s placed in June 2007.

But the airline’s chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, says that it is converting these to larger models.

Speaking in Doha after the airline’s first Boeing 787 arrived, Al Baker initially pointed to a switch to -900s. But a source close to the situation indicates that some of the -800s will be converted to A350-1000s – although the precise split has yet to be clarified.

Qatar Airways’ original order included 20 -1000s but Al Baker subsequently expressed dissatisfaction over the aircraft after Airbus redesigned the twinjet and postponed its entry into service to 2017.

Airbus has since worked to convince the Gulf carrier that it has improved the -1000. The airframer has not confirmed any changes to Qatar Airways’ A350 order.

Qatar Airways had been the launch customer for the A350-800, and Airbus has yet to identify a successor. The carrier’s decision casts greater uncertainty over the type’s future, in the wake of stagnant sales and the migration of several A350-800 customers to the two larger models.

Sourced by Flightglobal

Philippine Airlines orders 10 more A330s

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has placed a firm order with Airbus for an additional 10 A330-300 widebody aircraft. The latest purchase agreement follows a major order from the airline in August for 44 single aisle A321s and 10 A330s under the carrier’s fleet modernisation programme.

For its latest order the airline has selected the 240 tonne high gross weight version of the A330, offering extra range capability. This will enable the airline to operate the aircraft non-stop from Manila to any destination in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to the Middle East and as far as Honolulu in the US.

“This additional order will complete our current medium-to-long range requirements under our fleet modernisation programme,” said PAL Chairman Lucio Tan and PAL President Ramon S. Ang. “With the latest enhanced versions of the A330 we will be providing our passengers the highest levels of in-flight comfort, while benefitting from the low operating costs offered by these super-efficient aircraft.”

“We are extremely pleased that the A330 has been selected by Philippine Airlines to play a key role in its future fleet,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers, Airbus. “This order once again highlights the success of the A330 as the most popular aircraft in its class, offering the lowest operating costs, proven reliability and a great in-flight experience.”

The A330 is one of the most widely-used widebody aircraft in service today. Airbus has recorded over 1,200 orders for the various versions of the aircraft, with more than 900 delivered to 120 customers and operators worldwide. In addition to passenger and freighter aircraft, the A330 is also available in VIP and military transport / tanker variants.