Is a match brewing between British Thomson Tour Operations and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)?

Thomson has lagged behind competitor Airtours in developing its own cruise business and last year's ship charter was also interrupted by mechanical problems.

Why should Thomson struggle to build its own cruise business when NCL is there with a ready-made organization, technical operations and ships, and presumbly would welcome a financial partner.

NCL meanwhile would benefit from a strong marketing partner in Europe as well as an infusion of fresh capital if Thomson were to consider acquiring part ownership. Moreover, such a partnership would allow NCL to accelerate its newbuilding plans.

Now that NCL has been turned around, barring any "unknowns," the company should make an attractive opportunity to someone looking to enter the cruise industry.

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