Marella Cruises offer new Asia programme with direct flights to Langkawi, Malaysia

Marella Cruises has announced the launch of direct flights to Langkawi, Malaysia from Birmingham as part of offering UK holidaymakers a new Asian holiday programme.

TUI Airways is operating flights to the homeport of Langkawi for Enchanting Far East and Eastern Sunsets itineraries, as part of Marella Cruises’ new Asia programme. The cruise-only flight will be operating fortnightly until the end of March 2019.

Managing Director of Marella Cruises, Chris Hackney said: ‘We’re really excited to be launching inaugural flights from the UK to Langkawi in Malaysia. We’re always looking at ways we can offer our customers even more flexibility and choice when it comes to choosing a cruise and the TUI Airways flights mark the next step in our continued effort to give our customers the best holiday experience. As part of our new Asia programme, our itineraries from Langkawi offer customers amazing destinations to some of the most sought out corners of the world, all alongside nothing but the best service onboard our ships with the friendliest staff at sea.’

Tom Screen, Acting Aviation Director at Birmingham Airport, commented: ‘To have the UK’s first ever direct flights to Langkawi operate from Birmingham Airport is just fantastic. Creating varied packages is key to providing our customers with ease of travel. A package like this allows our customers to experience a range of exotic climates and cultures across multiple destinations, all in one trip.

‘To celebrate the momentous occasion, employees from both the Airport and TUI gathered at the departure gates, along with passengers due to board the flight. The atmosphere was great – every seat was filled.

‘The cruise-only flight will be operating fortnightly until the end of March 2019. We hope all passengers enjoy this fantastic cruise experience on its very own exclusive airline.’

Marella Cruises announces summer 2019 programme featuring first adults-only ship and all- inclusive fleet

Marella Cruises, a UK cruise line and part of TUI, has launched its summer 2019 programme, including a new ship exclusively for adults, a new homeport, new itineraries and all ships offering All Inclusive as standard, effective from May 2019.

The new adults-only ship – Marella Explorer 2 – will join the fleet in 2019, offering customers more choice and flexibility. Starting May 2019, Marella Explorer 2 will sail from a new homeport Naples, Italy to some of the most beautiful European cities including Venice, Rome and Dubrovnik.

The cruise line will also be offering a choice of new destinations for cruisers with 11 new itineraries and seven new ports of call for next summer. Marella Explorer 2 will add four new itineraries offering cruisers a chance to explore cultural cities such as Italy’s Livorno, Florence and Pisa to Piraeus for Athens and Split in Croatia.

In addition to four new sailings in the Naples programme, Marella Cruises will also introduce new itineraries such as Cities and Ice, Idyllic Italia and Secrets of the Mediterranean. Highlights would include Skagen in Denmark, Castellon in Spain, Norway’s Alta and Santa Margherita in Italy, allowing cruisers to explore the beautiful town of Portofino. The summer 2019 programme will be on sale from April 5, 2018.

Commenting on the programme, Managing Director of Marella Cruises Chris Hackney said: ‘We are really pleased to announce Marella Explorer 2 as an adults-only ship from next summer, sailing from our brand new home port of Naples, offering customers yet more choice and flexibility. Our summer 2019 programme offers guests an array of exciting destinations and itineraries and All Inclusive as standard on all of our ships. We continue to look at ways to offer something different to our current customers who have come to enjoy our ships and friendly service onboard and those who may be thinking about booking a cruise for the first time.

‘We have a fantastic diverse range of destinations on offer, with a real focus on the best hidden secrets of the Mediterranean and Scandinavia. We expect our Cruise & Stay offering to continue to prove popular especially for the new to cruise market. We’re delighted that our customers have enjoyed sailing on our Discovery ships and look forward to hearing about their experiences on the latest addition to our fleet Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2.’

Featuring a range of dining and bar options similar to its sister ship Marella Explorer set to launch in May this year, Marella Explorer 2 will offer highlights such as Kora La, Snack Shack and Surf and Turf. The new ship will also feature recognised bars including Aperitif, and Squid and Anchor. Similar to Marella Explorer, the new ship will offer an entertainment programme onboard through entertainment provider ‘ted’.

Marella Explorer 2 will also feature Champneys Spa which will launch first on Marella Explorer this year. New cabin types on Marella Explorer 2 include the 102 sq. meters Royal Suite featuring a separate bedroom, dressing room, dining area and whirlpool bath. The new ship also features deluxe balcony cabins.

Marella Cruises will offer All Inclusive cruises for everyone from May next year, including transfers and tips. Marella Dream and Marella Celebration will join the rest of the fleet in becoming All Inclusive as standard, TUI said.

Thomson Cruises undergoes name change and expands Asia itineraries

Thomson Cruises, a UK-based cruise line and a part of the TUI Group of companies, is to change its name from later this month, as it also adds more new cruises to its Asia itineraries for winter 2018/19.

The business is currently undergoing its rebrand to Marella Cruises, and the new routes were included as part of that announcement. The fly-cruise holidays will be available from 22 UK regional airports and will include 18 new destination ports across Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East.

Southeast Asian itineraries will include ports in Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia, while Indian sailings will call at ports in Mumbai, Mangalore, Murmugao, Cochin and the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. Middle East sailings will be stopping off at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat.

Certain sailings, totalling 14, will be designated as adult only. Launch dates and prices for all of these sailings have yet to be announced.

As well as a new name, the company is also introducing a new ship to its fleet. Marella Explorer is to replace Thomson Spirit, which will be going out of service by October 2018. Four other ships that currently have Thomson branding are to receive new corporate names this month.

Speaking to Telegraph Travel, Richard Sofer, managing director of Marella Cruises, said, ‘We are committed to offering our customers choice and flexibility and these destinations [in Asia], along with new ships, famously friendly staff and value for money make this is the perfect time to look ahead.’

Marella is Celtic for shining sea.