The Association of Cruise Experts is in talks with Thomson following Thomas Cook’s decision to join ACE.

Business development director Andy Harmer said Thomas Cook’s decision to come on board, helping to increase membership by 200% since last year’s cruise convention, showed they saw the benefits of joining.

He said: “We are talking to Thomson. I hope the product speaks for itself.”

Meanwhile, ACE is widening its membership to include companies that are heavily involved in cruising as well as college students.

Organisations lined up to join the ACE Travel Partner Scheme, launching June 1, include Innovation Norway, which acts as the Norwegian Tourist Board, Dover Port, Seatrade, the Mail on Sunday and Daily Telegraph.

Harmer said: “Partners will be invited to events and we will put their news on our website. It’s a way for them to get a higher profile in the trade.”

ACE Vision is designed to get the cruise message across to students in schools and colleges, and encourage them to get trained and accreditation before they leave. Harmer said: “We want to engage them early as they are the future.”