|Founder(s)||Royal Caribbean International and First Choice|
Island Cruises was the brand name of a cruise line operated by Sunshine Cruises Limited, founded as a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and First Choice Travel PLC. First Choice were later acquired by TUI Travel PLC. In 2008, Royal Caribbean sold its stake in the company to TUI, and the cruise line's only fully owned ship, the Island Escape, was transferred to TUI's Thomson Cruises but retained its Island Cruises branding.
In Europe and the Caribbean, Island Cruises targeted the British family market, offering casual "totally relaxed" cruising. In South America, the company targeted a younger audience. Now, as sailing for Thomson Cruises, the Island Escape sails in Europe exclusively for the British market.
Island Cruises was founded in 2001 by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and First Choice Holidays PLC, and began operations in 2002 with one ship, the Island Escape. Initially, Island Cruises had planned to operate in Europe during the summer season (Northern Hemisphere), and out of California during the winter. Before the first winter season began however, the decision was made to change the winter schedule to 3- and 4-night cruises out of Brazil. During 2002, the Island Escape was featured in the reality television series Cruise Ship, commissioned by ITV.
On 6 October 2008 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. sold their share in Island Cruises to TUI Travel PLC, who had acquired First Choice Holidays PLC. At the same time the Royal Caribbean announced they would be ending the charter of Island Star to Island Cruises in April 2009.
Sailings on the Island Star after April 2009 have been cancelled, and the ship will be re-deployed to Pullmantur Cruises, another subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd as the MV Pacific Dream. Sailings on the Island Escape are unaffected, but are now being sold under TUI's existing Thomson Cruises brand.
The brand is still used today, in which Thomson markets the Island Escape as a part of Thomson Cruises's all inclusive cruises under the Island Cruises name.
- Island Escape - (Now owned by Thomson Cruises)
- Island Star - (Now L'Horizon for CDF Croisières de France)
- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. press release: Celebrity Cruises' Horizon Moves to Island Cruises Fleet, retrieved 29 November 2007
- "Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to Sell Its Interest in Island Cruises to First Choice Holidays Ltd.". Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
- Ward, Douglas: Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006, pages 358–359, 363. Berlitz Publishing 2006. ISBN 981-246-739-4
- Simplon Postcards: Island Escape, retrieved 29. 11. 2007
- Maritime Matters Shipping News 21 July 2002: New Plan For Island Escape, retrieved 29. 11. 2007 Archived August 7, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "Royal Caribbean to sell its interest in Island Cruises – to redeploy Island Star to Pullmantur Cruises". Cruise Business Review. Cruise Media Oy Ltd. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
- Asklander, Micke. "M/S Horizon (1990)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
- "Ship Details > Island Escape". Thomson Cruises. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
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