November 22, 2013
Speaking on the Cruise Critic message boards in a Q&A session on Wednesday (Nov. 19), Fraser Ellacott said: “We have considered not returning to cruising from the U.K. [in 2015]”. However, he added summer 2015 itineraries were still “in the planning stages”, so he could not say for sure.
Thomson Spirit was based in Newcastle from May to July last year, and in Harwich in August and September, after a three-year absence from UK shores.
Member Sailaway487 asked: “I can't help but notice that there doesn't seem to have been any Thomson ships added to any schedules in Northern Europe for 2015 yet. Will there be any ex-UK cruises for 2015?”
Ellacott responded: “What can I tell you about summer 2015… not a lot, it has to be said. Truthfully, we're still in the planning stages at the moment so nothing is set in stone. We haven't confirmed northern Europe and we're always looking at new home ports and destinations -- they're what you all keep asking for -- but we have considered not returning to cruising from the UK.”
He then invited questions from other members who took part in the Q&A session members, asking them: “What do you think?”
However, he admitted: “I realise this is another very ambiguous reply but, as planning is still underway, I don't have any more details.”
Member Kruzseeka replied: I would like to see a couple of sailings for the currently one-off itineraries like Fire & Ice - stunning! Unfortunately we had to do it with someone else this year because of no Harwich sailing - but we're hoping to return to the fold to go again this year with you from Harwich - it was such a wonderful place to visit!!! Also could you consider some Northern Europe itineraries; Amsterdam, Brussels, Le Havre, Channel Islands plus (????). I think that would make a nice change.
Member kalos added: “I'm sure that I am not alone when I say I like cruising from the UK and would love more of them not less.”
And happyv said: I'm another one who really enjoys cruising from UK. If you don't do them there is only the Med. and surely there are enough ships here already.
Ellacott also spoke about:
• Charging for premium seats in the theatre, saying: “I don't think there's any danger of people seeing us as a Ryan Air-style company as we offer much more than a seat and a bed as our standard cruise holiday.”
• Defended a question about onboard drinks prices, saying: “We also refrain from adding a service charge to your bar bills - which is a common practice on other cruise lines.”
• Confirmed that there would be two Tui flights from Glasgow to the Caribbean, as both Thomson Celebration and Thomson Dream will be there for winter 2014/15.
--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor