MS Marella Dream

MS Marella Dream is a cruise ship owned by TUI UK Ltd. and operated under charter by Marella Cruises.[2] She was built in 1986 at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, West Germany as MS Homeric for Home Lines. In 1988 she was sold to Holland America Line and renamed MS Westerdam. In 1990 she was lengthened by 36.9 m (121 ft 1 in) at Meyer Werft. In 2002 she was transferred to the fleet of Costa Cruises and renamed MS Costa Europa.[1][8] In April 2010 she left the fleet of Costa Cruises on a ten-year charter to Thomson Cruises, under the name MS Thomson Dream. She is the last new build for Home Lines to remain in active service.[3]

  • 1986–1988: Homeric
  • 1988–2002: Westerdam
  • 2002–2010: Costa Europa
  • 2010–2017: Thomson Dream
  • 2017–present: Marella Dream
Port of registry:
Builder: Meyer Werft, Papenburg, West Germany
Cost: $150 million[4]
Yard number: 610[1]
Launched: 28 September 1985[1]
Acquired: 6 May 1986[1]
In service: 1986[1]
Status: In service
General characteristics (as built)[1]
Type: cruise ship
Length: 204 m (669 ft 3 in)
Beam: 29.73 m (97 ft 6 in)
Installed power:
  • 2 × 10-cyl, B&W-MAN diesels
  • combined 23800 kW
Propulsion: Two propellers[4]
Speed: 22.5 knots (41.7 km/h; 25.9 mph) service speed[6]
Capacity: 1,132 passengers
General characteristics (as Thomson Dream)[2]
Type: cruise ship
Length: 243.2 m (798 ft)[5]
Beam: 29 m (95 ft 2 in) (waterline)/32 m (105 ft 0 in) (max)[1][5]
Draught: 7.214 m (23 ft 8.0 in)[5]
Decks: 12 (9 passenger accessible)[7]
Installed power:
  • 4 × MaK 8M 453B diesel engines (2308 kW each)
  • 1 × MaK 6M 453B diesel engines (1800 kW)
  • 1 × Deutz BA12 M816 emergency generator (550 kW)
  • 2 × B&W-MAN 10 L 55 GB propulsion engines (11,898 kW each)
  • 2 × controllable pitch propellers
  • 3 × Wärtsilä CT175 G maneuvering thrusters (2 forward, 1 aft)
  • 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) service speed
  • 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) maximum speed[7]
Capacity: 1,506 passengers
Crew: 600[7]

Following the announcement on the 9th October 2017, that Thomson Cruises would be renamed Marella Cruises, TUI Group also announced that Thomson Dream would adopt the name Marella Dream at the end of October 2017.

Concept and construction

The Homeric was planned during the first half of the 1980s as a replacement for the aging SS Oceanic in the Home Lines' fleet.[9] Meyer Werft in Papenburg, West Germany was chosen as the shipyard to build her.[1][8] The ship was named in honour of the company's earlier SS Homeric, a popular ship that had been destroyed by a fire in 1973.[9][10] The new Homeric was launched on 28 September 1985. She performed her sea trials between 26 December and 30 December 1985, but she was not delivered to Home Lines until 6 May 1986.[1]

Following the sale of the ship to Holland America Line (and the sale of HAL itself to the Carnival Corporation), the ex-Homeric, now named Westerdam, returned to Meyer Werft on 30 October 1989 for a $84 million refit. The ship was lengthened by36.9 m (121 ft 1 in) and many of her interiors were rebuilt. The refit was completed on 12 March 1990.[1][4][8]

In 2002, prior to entering service as Costa Europa for Costa Cruises, the ship received a £5 million refit, with some of the public rooms redecorated and six balcony suites added.[4][8][10]

Service history

1986–1988: Homeric

During her service with Home Lines the Homeric was used for cruises from New York to Bermuda during the northern hemisphere summer season and cruises in the Caribbean during the rest of the year.[8] The success of the Homeric in service with Home Lines has been questioned, with one author describing her as the "giant swan song" of the company.[10] Whether the fault of the ship or something else, Home Lines was purchased by the Holland America Line in 1988.[8]

1988–2002: Westerdam

In November 1988 the Homeric joined the fleet of Holland America Line and was renamed Westerdam (different sites state different dates for her transfer to the HAL fleet). In service with her new owners, the Westerdam cruised to Alaska during the summer season, returning to the Caribbean for the winter. Soon after Home Lines had been purchased by Holland America, HAL itself was purchased by the Carnival Corporation. HAL's new owners decided to invest heavily in the fairly new Westerdam, and between October 1989 and March 1990 she was extensively rebuilt and enlarged at Meyer Werft.[1][8] When the Westerdam entered service for HAL, she was registered in The Bahamas, but in 1996 she was re-registered to the Netherlands.[1]

In 2002, following the delivery of several newbuilds for Holland America Line, the Westerdam was transferred to the fleet of Costa Cruises.

2002 – April 2010: Costa Europa

Following the transfer to Costa Cruises in April 2002, the Westerdam was renamed Costa Europa and re-registered in Italy. On 27 April 2002 she started on her first cruise for her new owners from Genoa, subsequently being used for cruises around Europe.[1][8]

In February 2009, Costa Europa had engine trouble on an Indian Ocean cruise and passengers mutinied after scheduled stops were cancelled.[11]

2010 dock collision

On February 26, 2010, Costa Europa collided with a dock at Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt, after attempting to dock in bad weather. The collision killed three crew members and injured at least four other people, three of them passengers. The incident tore a 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) wide hole in the hull, and the ship was listed to port to lift the damaged area clear of the water.[12][13] The report into the incident, to be handled by the Italian maritime authorities based in Genoa, had still not been handed to the IMO in January 2012.[14]

April 2010 onwards

Costa Europa left the fleet of Costa Cruises in April 2010, being bareboat chartered to the United Kingdom-based Thomson Cruises for ten years. The charter agreement also includes an option for Thomson Cruises to buy the ship after five years.[3] The ship was renamed Thomson Dream for her service with Thomson.[15] Thomson Dream received a refurbishment at the end of 2012 and introduced into the Platinum collection of cruises.[16]


Exterior design

The Homeric was built with a terraced forward and rear superstructure, with lifeboats placed fairly high. She had a relatively large funnel, with a large arch behind it to deflect some soot away from the rear decks. In original Home Lines livery she had a white hull and superstructure, with a blue decorative riband separating them. Her funnel and radar mast, the structures immediately below them and the cranes on her forward deck were painted yellow. The ship's name was painted in tall letters on the side of the superstructure below the radar mast.[1][8]

On entering service with Holland America Line, the Westerdam received HAL's dark blue hull colours, with her funnel and radar mast painted white. The 1989–1990 lengthening altered her exterior appearance somewhat. The windows of the added section are larger than those forward and aft.[4]

As Costa Europa, the ship was painted all-white, with a yellow funnel and a small flag of the EU painted on the side of the superstructure.

As Thomson Dream the ship retains an all-white livery, but with a blue funnel bearing the TUI/Thomson group logo.

Interior design

Unusually for a cruise ship of her time, the Homeric was built with a somewhat ocean liner-like layout, with her dining room in particular reflecting liner-like design, being located on a lower deck.[8] She was also built with a sizeable promenade deck and a one-deck-high theatre. She was built with two swimming pools, one to the rear of the ship and another amidship which was covered with a magrodome.[4][8]

During the 1989–1990 refit, two lounges in the forward section of the ship were combined to create a large two-level theatre, with the original theatre retained as a cinema.[8] In HAL service, she was decorated with artworks drawing on the history of the Dutch Empire.[10] On entering service with Costa Cruises, the ship was refurbished, with some of the interior decorations changed to brighter and more European style.[4] The original theatre was built in with six balcony suites, and a new ballroom with a hardwood dance floor replaced an earlier lounge.[4][8] Despite the refit, most of the ship's decorations have been retained from the HAL days, resulting in the Costa Europa having somewhat different interior decorations from her "Italian-style" fleetmates.[4][10]

Decks and facilities

  1. Tank Top – Laundry, engine room.
  2. C – Crew cabins, engine room, stores.
  3. B – Crew cabins, hospital, tender embarkation area, engine room, garbage area, stores.
  4. Orion deck – Orion restaurant (main dining room), inside and outside cabins, main galley, crew messrooms.
  5. Pegasus deck – Inside and outside cabins.
  6. Perseus deck – Inside and outside cabins.
  7. Auriga deckSuites, inside and outside cabins.
  8. Hercules deckTheatre (lower level), Medusa ballroom, Ocean bar, Argo lounge, lecture room, card room, library, shops, games arcade, beauty salon, casino, discothèque, Kidzone.
  9. Andromeda deck – Theatre (upper level), buffet restaurant, outside cabins, sun deck, swimming pool. The two muster stations (A and B) are located on this deck.
  10. Cassiopea deckBridge, fitness center, outside cabins, officers' cabins, sun deck.
  11. Sirens deck – A la carte and buffet restaurants, sun deck, magrodome covered swimming pool, suites.
  12. Centaurus deckTennis courts, crew sunbathing deck, funnel, pool deck upper level open top sun deck[7][10][17]

Media appearances

MS Westerdam was featured in the 1997 comedy film "Out to Sea" with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

The ship appeared on BBC One Watchdog during an investigation into customer complaints: the report found broken airconditioning units and sewage and plumbing problems during the first few voyages with Thomson. The company were also criticised for broadcasting "misleading" advertisements, claiming the ship was "luxury, brand new and 5*" when in fact it was over 24 years old.[18]


  1. Asklander, Micke. "M/S Homeric (1986)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-03-25.
  2. "Fleets – Costa Europa". Cruise Community. Seatrade Communications Limited. Archived from the original on 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
  3. Niemelä, Teijo (6 July 2009). "Costa charters Costa Europa for Thomson Cruises". Cruise Business Review. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  4. Ward, Douglas (2006). Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. Singapore: Berlitz. pp. 260–261. ISBN 981-246-739-4.
  5. "Thomson Dream (G142990)". DNV GL Vessel Register. Germanischer Lloyd. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  6. Miller, William H. Jr. (1995). The Pictorial Encycpedia of Ocean Liners, 1860–1994. Mineola: Dover Publications. p. 59. ISBN 0-486-28137-X.
  7. "Our Fleet – Costa Europa". Costa Cruises. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
  8. Boyle, Ian. "Homeric". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
  9. Boyle, Ian. "Home Lines". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
  10. Degrandi, Paolo. "Ship profile — MS Costa Europa". Interactive Travel Guides, Inc. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
  11. Oliver Smith, "Costa Europa cruise ends in 'mutiny'", Daily Telegraph 5 March 2009, accessed 14 March 2010.
  12. "Egypt cruise ship crash kills three sailors". BBC. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  13. Sloan, Gene. "Three people killed as Costa cruise ship slams into pier in Egypt". USA Today. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  14. "Costa cruise Egypt accident report is 'strictly confidential'". BBC News. 2 February 2012.
  15. Niemelä, Teijo (6 July 2009). "Thomson to name its latest addition as Thomson Dream". Cruise Business Review. Retrieved 8 July 2009.
  16. "Multi-million pound investment sees Thomson Cruises go platinum". Travel Weekly. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  17. Meyer Werft, MS Westerdam GA Plans,1989
  18. Farin BBC web assistant prod. "Watchdog: A Thomson Dream come true?". BBC. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
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