15 March 2013

Thomson Destiny at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 13 January 2007

Since the winter doesn't seem to be planning an getting warmer here in the north, I think it's a good time to look at some older photos from warmer places. In January 2007 I made a week's cruise with Thomson Cruises' Thomson Destiny around the Canary Isles. Looking at the photos taken there, there is a surprisingly modest number of ship photos... but still, a few that are worth featuring here. Starting with the star of the show, the Thomson Destiny.

Thomson Destiny

IMO 7927984
Name history: Song of America, Sunbird, Thomson Destiny, Louis Olympia
Built 1982, Wärtsilä Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 37 773 GT
Length 214,51 m
Width 28,41 m
Draugth 6,80 m
1 664 passengers
1 664 berths
4 Sulzer-Wärtsilä diesels, combined 1 7060 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21 knots

The Thomson Destiny was built in 1982 by Wärtsilä's shipyard in Helsinki as the Song of America for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. She was RCCL's first new ship in a decade, entering service in Decemeber 1982 on week-long cruises from Miami to the Caribbean. Unusually for a cruise ship but common on ferries at the time, the Song of America was built in an arrangement where cabins were located in the fore of the ship and public rooms aft. As the ship was also designed with public rooms having higher ceiling heights than cabin areas (1½ times the height of cabin decks), this resulted in a somewhat unusual layout with some decks only existing in the front of the ship.

Following the arrival of larger tonnage in the Royal Caribbean International (as the compan ywas now known) fleet, the Song of America was sold in 1999 the UK cruise operator Airtours who at the time operated cruises under the name Sun Cruises. The ship was renamed Sunbird and begun cruising in the Mediterranean. Unlike previous old RCI tonnage sold to Airtours, the sky lounge around the funnel was not removed when the ship was sold, probably due to structural reasons. In 2002 Airtours was rebranded as MyTravel, and subsequently the Sunbird was repainted with MyTravel funnel markings in place of Sun Cruises ones.

MyTravel entered financial difficulties soon afterwards and decided to sell their cruise fleet to Louis Cruises in 2004. The Sunbird was chartered back to Sun Cruises until March 2005 when she left the Sun Cruises fleet. Almost immediately afterwards Sun Cruises' worst competitor in the lower-end UK cruise market, Thomson Cruises, took the ship under charter from Louis as the Thomson Destiny. The ship was used for Mediaterranean and Canary Isles cruising by Thomson.

In May 2012 Thomson and Louis Cruises swapped ships: the Thomson Destiny joined Louis Cruises' own fleet as the Louis Olympia, while the similarly sized but superior Louis Majesty took her place in the Thomson fleet as the Thomson Majesty. During the 2013 summer season the Louis Olympia will be used on short three- and four-day cruises around the Aegean Sea.

The photograph below shows the Thomson Destiny as Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 12 January 2007. Click on the image to see in larger size.

The structure above the bridge was added when the ship left the RCI fleet. It did somewhat disimprove her looks, but since I got to travel in one of the suites I cannot complain.
Next time: Volcan de Tejeda (unless I take the chance to head out for some winter ship photography, in which case you'll get that).

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