Island Cruises will become part of Thomson Cruises – under the TUI UK and Ireland umbrella – once TUI completes its buyout.

Government regulators in Ireland have yet to OK TUI’s plan to purchase Royal Caribbean Cruises’ 50 percent stake in Island. If the sale goes through, Thomson will swallow Island Cruises – creating a fleet of six Thomson ships with the addition of the Island Escape, according to an internal announcement by TUI UK and Ireland Managing Director Dermot Blastland.

“Thomson Cruises and Island Cruises have always shared the same philosophy of offering a friendly and relaxed cruise experience built on outstanding service and this will remain the ethos of the new Thomson fleet moving forward. The Island Escape will, therefore, continue to deliver the same exceptional value for money cruise product within Thomson Cruises,” Blastland said.

The other Island ship, the Island Star, will continue its planned winter itinerary in the Caribbean under the Island Cruises banner until April 6, 2009. On that date, it will be redelivered to Celebrity Cruises, from whom Island chartered the vessel.

Island Cruises Managing Director Patrick Ryan will leave the company after Christmas this year, Blastland said.

“(Patrick Ryan) has decided to pursue his career outside of Island Cruises,” Blastland said. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Patrick for all of his efforts over the past 15 years and wish him well for the future.”