To avoid getting squeezed out by competition in the UK market, Thomson Cruises has announced what it calls the “launch of its Platinum Cruises range.” To modernize its aging fleet, Thomson will be making a multi-million pound investment to give the 1986-built Thomson Dream and the 1984-built Thomson Celebration makeovers, and both will be joining the Thomson Platinum collection, according to a company press release.

In 2012, Thomson will sail five ships, two of its own, and three chartered from Louis Cruises, and carry an estimated 278,724 passengers, making it the second largest single brand in the UK market.

According to Thomson, Platinum Cruises will have “a lot in common with Thomson’s Platinum hotels. All our Platinum ships will be rated 4T and they’ll have a contemporary look and feel onboard with rich colors, modern furnishings and designer touches. What’s more, like the hotel range, all our Platinum ships have to score ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ with at least 90 percent of our customers to make the grade.”

In addition, “all this will be combined with the first-class service, food and entertainment Thomson Cruises deliver as standard.”

All the cabins onboard Thomson Dream and Thomson Celebration will be refurbished, with contemporary designs and suites that come with extras like iPod docking stations. The bars and lounges will also be revamped. The à la carte restaurants will be themed offering new menus. Plus, the spas will get a bit of an update – with Thomson Dream having a new suite of treatment rooms built next to the salon.

The Thomson Dream’s first sailing as a Platinum ship will be trans-Atlantic Sunset on Dec. 9, 2012, beginning in Lisbon and finishing in Barbados. The Dream will then sail in the Caribbean for the winter season. The Celebration goes Platinum on May 6 from her Marmaris, offering Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea itineraries.

According to Fraser Ellacott, managing director of Thomson Cruises, “this is the next step in modernizing the cruises in line with Thomson’s strategy of unique holiday experiences, offering getaways that customers cannot buy elsewhere.