Celebrity Eclipse - the new £500 million cruiseship from Celebrity Cruises - will set sail from Southampton this evening (April 20) on a rescue mission to collect stranded UK holidaymakers from Bilbao, Spain. The voyage replaces the planned two-day launch celebration cruise for VIPs originally scheduled to depart on Thursday (April 22).
Celebrity Cruises can now confirm that it is working specifically with TUI UK - the parent company of tour operators Thomson Holiday and First Choice - and The Co-operative Travel Group (CTTG) on this sailing. By working with these three major tour operating brands we are able to maximise the help we can give.
Thomson, First Choice and CTTG have the infrastructure in place to transport as many customers as possible, from across Spain, to Bilbao.
Unfortunately, we cannot help everybody. Celebrity Eclipse can only make one repatriation sailing and our Bilbao pick up will be restricted to customers of Thomson Holidays, First Choice and CTTG who have been allocated a space aboard the ship.
We are advising customers of other tour operators to NOT turn up at the port in the hope of travelling with Celebrity Eclipse. Whilst we want to get as many people home as we can, we have to adhere to strict safety and security regulations. We are only able to transport customer travelling with First Choice, Thomson Holidays and CTTG.