Island Cruises is to close its Brighton head office and is reviewing the future of its Manchester call centre following its acquisition by TUI Travel.


The cruiseline is now fully owned by TUI Travel following Royal Caribbean Cruises´decision to sell its 50% share in the joint venture for just over 30 million pounds. Its ship Island Star has been retained by Royal Caribbean for its Spanish cruise brand, while Island Escape is now owned by TUI Travel.


It has 27 staff in Brighton and 35 in Manchester. The Brighton office is being relocated to TUI Travel´s offices in Luton and managing director Patrick Ryan is to leave the business by the end of the year.


Island Cruises sales director Leslie Peden said: “We are waiting to hear what the future will be of the new organisation. Everybody is looking at it positively and staff took the news very well.”


But he admitted it was inevitable there would be duplication of job functions and employees in Brighton will undergo a staff consultation process. “We would retain as many staff as possible,” he added.


The future of the call centre is not yet known, although Thomson does not have its own dedicated cruise call centre.


The Island Cruises brand is also under review. It is possible the brand could be used to sell cruises through third-party agents. Thomson Cruises is mainly sold through the company´s own Thomson and First Choice agents.


 It now sits within Thomson Cruises as part of a new casual cruising proposition under the remit of director of cruising for TUI Travel´s mainstream division David Selby. Thomson has also created a contemporary cruising proposition.


Thomson Cruises´ship Emerald leaves the fleet later this month and will effectively be replaced by Island Escape, maintaining a fleet of five vessels for next year. Meanwhile, Island Star has been taken off sale for next year.


More news from the ABTA Travel Convention 2008.