Thomson Cruises -- the cruise division of Britain's largest travel agency -- is shaking things up by choosing two new and unusual homeports for its summer 2010 cruises. Instead of sticking to the more common homeports for ex-Europe departures (Athens and Barcelona), Thomson has announced that Thomson Celebration will sail new itineraries out of Marmaris, Turkey, and Thomson Spirit will sail out of Corfu.
Thomson Celebration will explore Eastern Mediterranean ports, such as Izmir, Santorini, Alexandria and Ashdod from its convenient new homeport in Marmaris. Company spokeswoman Hannah Burden tell us that "Turkey is very well supported by the Thomson U.K. flying programme -- we will be [able] to offer our customers flights from twelve different U.K. airports into Dalaman on our own airline!"
In addition, the location was chosen for its warm climate, its accessibility to budget-friendly (yet attractive) resorts for pre- and post-cruise stays and the variety of itinerary options available from Marmaris -- including the Aegean Islands, Middle East and historic European cities).
Meanwhile, Thomson Spirit's "Adriatic Explorer" itineraries from Corfu will call in Venice, Dubrovnik, Montenegro, Athens and Rhodes. Corfu also is quite accessible, via Thomson's air programme, from 14 regional U.K. airports. The Greek island boasts a rich architectural tradition and a strong cultural presence. (There are no fewer than 19 philharmonic bands.)
Other summer 2010 itineraries include those on Thomson Destiny, sailing the Mediterranean out of Palma. The Calypso will retire in 2009. Thomson's cruise holidays are aimed primarily at British tourists.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor, with reporting by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor
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New Cruise Homeports for Thomson
April 16, 2009