Thomson Cruises has announced that it will re-introduce ex-UK cruising with customers able to sail out of Newcastle from summer 2017. The cruise line typically offers air/sea packages utilizing its own aircraft and tying in with hotels and resorts for pre- and post-cruise stays.

The cruise line said that this is its latest step toward providing cruisers with a wider-than-ever range of choice, with 10 new itineraries and a range of durations from four to 14 nights, visiting the Norwegian fjords, Scandinavia and the Baltics, including Copenhagen, Stockholm, St Petersburg and Reykjavik on board Thomson Celebration.

In addition, Thomson has announced that customers onboard its new ship, the Thomson Discovery, will have an enhanced selection of onboard facilities at their disposal, including new dining and entertainment options, and a whole host of family-friendly facilities.

With four breakfast venues, seven lunch venues and seven dinner venues, passengers will be able to choose between casual and formal, gourmet and street, healthy and indulgent, with only two restaurants requiring an additional charge, meaning there is more included in the price of the holiday than ever before, according to Thomson.

The line has also introduced celebrity chef and restaurateur, Ian Pengelley, to the team. Said to be one of the world’s leading Pan-Asian chefs, Pengelley will oversee the menu at Kora La, the onboard Pan-Asian restaurant and sushi bar. H previously held the role of executive head chef at Harrods and has appeared on a variety of prime time cookery TV shows.

The Discovery will also see the introduction of a new entertainment program, from virtual bands to interactive quizzes and music from the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. A team of “big names” will also join the ship to create 11 new West End-style shows, including choreographer and dancer Tara Wilkinson, who has worked on hit shows, like Motown, and Martyn Ford, a musical arranger and conductor who’s worked alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. 

The latest ship in the fleet will also boast a wide range of family-friendly facilities, including The Wall, a climbing wall with sea views; mini golf; The Hideout, a teen room with karaoke booth; and Baby Center, equipped with changing facilities, a food preparation area and somewhere safe to play. A brand new children’s show, ‘Splash Live!’, which sees animated characters come to life to take children on a journey under the sea, will also be added to the entertainment line-up.

Those choices, coupled with a spa, casino and exclusive adult-only sunbathing area called The Veranda, will allow Thomson to offer a contemporary experience for the whole family.   Managing Director of Thomson Cruises, Helen Caron, said: “I’m excited to reveal the re-introduction of ex-UK cruising to our program in 2017. This will open up even more destinations for our customers, giving them the opportunity to create truly memorable experiences.”

“I’m also thrilled to unveil the new family-friendly and adult-only dining and entertainment options onboard Discovery, which is key to delivering passengers’ personalised experience. I’m delighted at the calibre of talent involved with bringing this to life and I’m sure it’s something our customers will really value.”