The move is seemingly a win-win situation. Italy-based Costa is losing an older ship (Costa Europa was built in 1986, sailing for Home Lines and Holland America Line before Costa) -- but will continue to expand to offer a younger fleet overall. Last month, the line introduced Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica in a dual christening; Costa Deliziosa, a sister ship to Costa Luminosa, is due out in 2010 and two sister ships to Costa Pacifica are scheduled to debut in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Meanwhile, Thomson Dream will be the largest ship in Thomson's fleet, offering a new Mediterranean cruise holiday option from a convenient-for-Brits home port (Palma is just a short flight from some 22 airports in the U.K.).
According to a statement from Carnival Corp., Thomson will be operating the ship under a 10-year charter. Under the agreement, Thomson has an option to purchase the ship any time after five years.
Bookings for Thomson Dream will open on 16 July, 2009.
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor