Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced that it had entered into an agreement to sell Splendour of the Seas to TUI Cruises. The deal will be accomplished in the second quarter of 2016 and the vessel will then be leased to the fleet of Thomson Cruises.

The purchase of Splendour of the Seas was facilitated by the newly merged TUI Cruises parent company, a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and TUI Group. Splendour will replace Island Escape, currently sailing under Island Cruises’ banner operated by Thomson. 

The Managing Director of Thomson Cruises, Helen Caron said they were very excited to be welcoming the new ship next summer. This was the first step in their fleet transformation and modernization strategy.

According to the president of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley, Splendour of the Seas would complete all scheduled deployment, and no sailings would be altered due to the sale. 

Splendour of the Seas was built by Chantier's de L'Atlantique (today STX France), St. Nazaire, France and joined the fleet of RCI in 1996. At 69,130 GT the ship carries 1,830 passengers and 760 crew.

Splendour will be the largest in Thomson’s fleet, with 915 staterooms (40% with balconies). The ship features a rock-climbing wall, indoor swimming pool, mini-golf course, and multiple dining venues.

The final sailing of Splendour of the Seas will begin on April 4, 2016. All crew and officers will remain with the line and will be transferred to other ships worldwide. The program for the newest ship of Thomson Cruises goes on sale this year, at the end of April.