(10:25 a.m. BST) -- Thomson Cruises has revealed that its much-loved and longest serving ship Thomson Spirit will remain with the line for an additional year, until November 2018, to offer a series of summer 2018 sailings.
The 1,254-passenger ship -- which was due to leave the fleet to rejoin Celestyal Cruises in November 2017 -- will offer five different seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries out of Palma (April 2018) and Malaga (April - October 2018).
Thomson is not offering winter 2017-2018 sailings onboard Thomson Spirit, revealing that it has only been granted a charter extension for the summer 2018 season.
The ship will mark its final voyage as part of the Thomson fleet on October 21, 2018, with a Continental Coasts sailing in the Western Mediterranean.
Thomson Cruises' managing director, Richard Sofer, said: "When we announced that Thomson Spirit would be sailing with us for the last time this year we were overwhelmed by the response. Our customers really love Thomson Spirit – it’s the longest serving member of our fleet and has a really homely feel, being one of our smallest ships.
"Extending her time in our fleet will give customers more chance to explore some of the Mediterranean’s most stunning ports in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy - while experiencing the friendliest service at sea."
The ship joined Thomson Cruises' fleet in May 2003 -- chartered from Celestyal Cruises -- and is a firm favourite among Cruise Critic members, having won Best for Entertainment, Best for Shore Excursions and Best Value in the mid-sized ship category in Cruise Critic's 2017 UK Cruisers’ Choice Awards.
Thomson Spirit summer 2018 itineraries go on sale July 27, with the line offering a complimentary all-inclusive upgrade for a limited period.
--By Kerry Spencer, Editor, U.K.