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Thomson Cruises
 
 
These pages are devoted to postcards and photographs of the Thomson Cruises fleet. An alphabetical list of ships on this page is shown below. There is also a table of complete career histories in postcards of selected ships. Below this, is a Thomson fleet list in date order.
 
Thomson followed their rivals Airtours into the cruise market, but all ships have been chartered, from Louis, Premier, Epirotiki and others. For 2000 they released some ships, leaving only The Topaz and Emerald in their own colours. In place of the released ships, large block bookings have been made on larger, more modern cruise ships of the major lines. In 2002, The Topaz received a new colour scheme. If anyone has postcards available of Thomson ships in the new scheme, please email: simplon@simplon.co.uk
 
In the 1970s, Thomson chartered the Ulysses Lines vessels Ithaca and Calypso for marketing cruises in the UK. They did not renew the charter after the first four years, having deemed that massive rises in fuel costs made the cruises uneconomic. These two ships are shown at the beginning of the cards below.
 
 
Ships on this Page:-
Calypso
Emerald
Island Breeze
Ithaca
Sapphire
Thomson Celebration
Thomson Destiny
Thomson Spirit
The Topaz
 
Associated Pages:-
Dolphin Cruise Line
Epirotiki Line
Grace Line
Louis Cruise Line
Premier Cruise Line
Regency Cruise Line
Western Cruises Lines
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards Home Page
www.thomson.co.uk - official Thomson Cruises website
www.thomsonships.co.uk - unofficial website on Thomson ships - reviews, photos etc



Table of Ship Histories
Name  Other Names  Built
 Calypso  Southern Cross, Azure Seas, OceanBreeze
 1955
 Emerald  Santa Rosa, Regent Rainbow
 1958
 IslandBreeze  Transvaal Castle, SA Vaal, Festivale  1962
 Ithaca  Zion, Dolphin IV
 1956
 Sapphire  Italia, Ocean Princess
 1967
 The Topaz  Empress of Britain, Carnivale
 1956
 Thomson Destiny  Song of America, Sunbird
 1982
 Thomson Spirit  Nieuw Amsterdam, Patriot
 1984






Thomson Fleet List



Ithaca
 
Thomson first chartered ships in the mid 1970s, the Ithaca and Calypso of Ulysses Line. At the end of the Thomson charter, Ithaca spent two more years on charter in the Mediterranean, before being transferred to the Caribbean under the name of Dolphin IV. In 1984 the operating company was renamed Dolphin Cruise Line.
 
A complete history of this ship is shown on this link.
 
 
Official Ulysses Line card of Ithaca



Official Ulysses Line card of Ithaca







Calypso
The Calypso was originally the Shaw Savill Southern Cross. When sold by them, she spent two years laid up in the River Fal, before being bought by Ulysses Line. Thomson chartered her in the mid 1970s for four years. Subsequently she has served with Western Cruises Lines, Dolphin Cruise Line and Premier.
 
A complete history of this ship is shown on this link.
 
An official Ulysses Line card of Calypso is shown below.







Sapphire
 
Thomson's first 1990s charter, the Sapphire was part of the Louis Cruise Lines fleet. In 2000 she is chartered to Croisieres Paquet, replacing the Mermoz which has joined the Louis Fleet.
 
Italia was ordered by Sunsarda SpA in 1963, from the Felszegi yard in Muggia, near Trieste. Both the builders and ordering company were owned by the Giacomell group. Italia was one of the earliest purpose-built cruise ships, and was of an advanced design with rear engines and lifeboats mounted on lower decks, giving a very spacious open top deck. Her interiors were designed by Gustavo Finali and Romano Boico, who designed many other fine Italian liners such as the Augustus, Guglielmo Marconi, Homeric, Raffaello and Oceanic.
 
Construction proceeded slowly, and Italia was not launched until April 1965. During fitting out, both the owners and builders were declared bankrupt, and ownership passed to the creditor bank BNL. BNL formed a new company Crociere d'Oltremare, based in Cagliari, Sardinia, to charter or sell the ship. Italia was delivered in 1967, with a logo of red and yellow triangles on her white funnel. A bareboat charter with Fratelli Cosulich (Genova) had been arranged, and Italia ran three Mediterranean cruises for them. Crociere d'Oltremare then chartered her to Princess Cruises, who used her to inaugurate their Mexican cruises out of Los Angeles. Italia was marketed as Princess Italia during her time with, although her name was not officially changed. At this stage she retained her original funnel logo, not receiving the famous Princess logo until the following year. In 1969, Princess Italia moved to Alaskan cruises out of San Francisco. The charter to Princess Cruises was cancelled in 1973, and Italia was returned to Crociere d'Oltremare. After a partial modernisation, Italia was then chartered to Costa in February 1974, although she was not purchased by them until 1977. She cruised around the world with Costa, plus served on further charters, until sold in September 1983 to Ocean Cruise Lines.
 
Under the name Ocean Princess, she spent summers in the Mediterranean, and winters on Latin America/Caribbean itineraries. In 1990, Ocean Cruise Lines was bought by Accor SA and Chargeurs SA, who also owned Paquet Cruises. Her career with them came to an abrupt end in March 1993, when she hit a sunken wreck in the Amazon, and she settled on the bottom, flooding the engine room and lower decks. All passengers and crew were removed without injury. Ocean Princess was declared a Constructive Total Loss. She was sold by the insurers to a Greek company and she was renamed Sea Prince. She was due to re-enter service with Sunshine Cruise Line, but suffered a fire in May 1995 and was offered for sale again. She was bought by Cyprus-based Louis Cruise Lines and briefly renamed Princesa Oceanica. Following a further major refit, she was chartered to Thomson Cruises as the Sapphire. She remained in the Louis fleet after the Thomson charter.
 
A complete history of this ship is shown on this link.
 
 
Official postcard in the initial Thomson livery.



Official postcard in the initial Thomson livery.



Official postcard second Thomson livery.



Official postcard second Thomson livery.



Thomson also have this generic card available on their ships, showing a very small Sapphire in the Eastern Mediterranean.







IslandBreeze
 
Thomson's second charter was the IslandBreeze of Premier Cruise Line, originally the Union-Castle Line Transvaal Castle. This charter has not continued into 2000.
 
A complete postcard history of this ship is on this link.
 
 
Official Thomson postcard of IslandBreeze.



Official Thomson postcard of IslandBreeze.







The Topaz
 
Thomson's third charter was the The Topaz, originally the Empress of Britain. She remained with Thomson for a final season in 2002. She then had a charter with the Japanese Peace Boat organisation.
 
Complete History of The Topaz
 
 
Official Thomson postcards of The Topaz.



Scan of postcard supplied by Dimas Almada.



Simplon Postcards sc2129, released July 1998, of The Topaz at Funchal, Madeira.
Photo: Rui Manuel Gouveia Sa.



Chantry Classics CC/S289, released October 2001, of The Topaz at Ajaccio, Corsica.
Photo: Clive Harvey.



The Topaz received a new livery for 2002, as shown in this official postcard.
An enlarged view of the ship is shown below.






Ribeiro postcard of The Topaz in final colours.



Ramsey postcard 148 of The Topaz in final colours.







Emerald
 
Thomson's fourth charter was the Emerald, originally the Grace Line's Santa Rosa, but substantially rebuilt to become the Regent Rainbow of Regency Cruise Line in 1992, retained her steam turbine engines. She remains with Thomson for 2000.
 
A complete postcard history of this ship is on this link.
 
 
Official Thomson postcard of Emerald.



Official Thomson postcard of Emerald.



Official Thomson postcard of Emerald.



Simplon Postcards sc2149, released in May 2000, of Emerald.
Photo: © Tony Davies, at Guadaloupe.



Official Thomson postcard of Emerald.



Photograph of Emerald in simplified colour scheme.
Photo: © Ton Grootenboer - Scan:



Photograph of Emerald in simplified colour scheme.
Photo: © Ton Grootenboer - Scan:







Thomson Spirit (2003- )
 
Thomson Spirit was built as the Holland America cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam in 1984 by Chantiers de l'Atlantique in St Nazaire for Holland America Line, part of Carnival Cruises since 1989. Her sistership Noordam was introduced the same year. She was sold in 2000 to American Classic Voyages as the Patriot to start a new cruise line using the historic name of United States Lines. United States Lines folded in 2001 following the September 11th terrorist attacks. Patriot was chartered by Thomson Cruises from 2003 as the Thomson Spirit.
 
Complete history of Thomson Spirit
 
I do not have an official postcard of Thomson Spirit.
If you can help, please email: simplon@simplon.co.uk
 
 
This is an advance publicity picture of Thomson Spirit.



Photo: © Clive Curry, Canary Islands, April 2005.



Photo supplied by Joyce
Click to open larger image in new window







Thomson Celebration (2005- )
 
Thomson Celebration is the ex-Noordam of Holland America, taken over by Thomson for the 2005 season. She is the sister of Thomson Spirit.


Official postcard of Thomson Celebration.
Scan: Lesley Brough.



Photo: © Ian Boyle, Southampton, 30th April 2005.



Photo: © Ian Boyle, Southampton, 30th April 2005.



Photo: © Ian Boyle, Southampton, 30th April 2005.



Photo: © Ian Boyle, Southampton, 30th April 2005.



Thomson Celebration and Boudicca at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Photo: © Stephen Gibson, 15th April 2006
Click to open larger image in new window



Thomson Celebration at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Photo: © Stephen Gibson, 15th April 2006
Click to open larger image in new window







Thomson Destiny (2005- )
 
Thomson Destiny is the ex-Sunbird of My Travel, taken over by Thomson for the 2005 season. Thomson Destiny was built in 1982 as the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Song of America. Unlike the previous two purchases from RCI, the 'Sky Lounge' around the funnel was not removed when sold in 1999. Thomson Destiny is, managed and later owned, by Louis Cruise Lines.
 
Complete history of Thomson Destiny


Thomson Destiny postcard
Scan: Juan Freitas



Thomson Destiny postcard
Scan: Juan Freitas
Click to open larger image in new window



Photograph of Thomson Destiny at Villefranche, 11/06/2005.
Photo: © Lars Helge Isdahl - Scan:



Photograph of Thomson Destiny.
Image supplied by Mary Bland.



Thomson Destiny at Gran Canaria
Photo: © Ian Donald, 12th January 2007
Click to open larger image in new window






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