Marella Cruises Partnerships with Champneys (Photo: Marella Cruises)

(12:20 p.m. GMT) -- Marella Cruises' new ship Marella Explorer will feature a spa operated by upmarket health spa Champneys when it launches next May.

It will be Champneys' first spa at sea and will feature a full treatment menu, as well as a salon, wellness centre and relaxation room.

The 1,924-passenger ship is currently part of TUI Cruises' fleet, operating as Mein Schiff 3. Champneys will be redesigning the spa to make it more Champneys like, rather than completely overhauling it.

Marella Explorer launches in May 2018 and will be based in Palma de Majorca throughout the summer and Bridgetown, Barbados, for the winter.

Distribution and Cruise Director at TUI UK & Ireland, parent company of Marella Cruises, Helen Caron, said: "We are delighted to announce this partnership with Champneys onboard our fantastic new addition Marella Explorer. We are proud to be known for the friendliest service at sea and Champneys' world-class service really mirrors this."

The ship will become the largest in the fleet when it launches in Palma next year. It will offer seven-night Western Mediterranean sailings throughout the summer before crossing to Barbados, where it will be joined by Marella Celebration.

This year, Marella Cruises based Marella Discovery out of Barbados; next year will be the first time it has based two ships out of the island.

Antonia Bouka, General Manager, Tourist Boards and Hotel Partnerships at TUI UK & Ireland, described the agreement as pivotal for both Marella Cruises and Barbados Tourist Board: "For the first time in our company's history, two ships will be based in Barbados for winter 2018. What is particularly spectacular is that one of the two ships, Marella Explorer, is the latest and largest addition to our fleet, which we are looking forward to launching next year. The new ship represents a new direction for us, with more facilities and features than any of our other ships, and we are confident in her success."

Marella, formerly Thomson Cruises, announced the deployment last month, when it revealed its name change.

--By Adam Coulter, Managing Editor, UK