TUI Cruises Orders Another New Schiff

A rendering of the new 99,300 gross ton MEIN SCHIFF 3 and MEIN SCHIFF 4, courtesy of TUI Cruises.

TUI Cruises confirmed that they have exercised the option for a second new cruise ship from STX Finland’s Turku Shipyard.  The order was announced on November 5, 2012 and follows on the heels of a previous contract  for their first newly built ship which was placed on September 27, 2011.  Each of the two new ships will be 99,300 gross registered tons and will be approximately 965 feet in length (294 meters) with a beam of 118 feet (36 meters).  As planned, the ships will have 1,250 staterooms, serve 2,500 passengers and have a crew of 1,000 persons.  Construction of the second ship will start in summer 2013 and it will be delivered from STX Finland Turku Shipyard in the spring of 2015 with the probable name of MEIN SCHIFF 4.    MEIN SCHIFF 3 is scheduled to arrive a year earlier in spring, 2014.

Another view, with hull calligraphy, of MEIN SCHIFF 3, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

The Finnish builders promise to produce a sophisticated, and highly innovative cruise ship with a particular emphasis on environmentally friendly features and the vessel’s energy efficiency.  Jari Anttila, EVP and COO of STX Finland stated, “We are extremely pleased that TUI Cruises confirmed the order of the sister ship for magnificent Mein Schiff 3 cruise ship. We have today reached this milestone of production start of the first ship after a well performed and intensive basic design phase. After this production start, manning on this project will increase significantly during the coming months to reach the maximum level before summer next year.” 

The original MEIN SCHIFF, the former GALAXY, departing Hamburg on May 16, 2009. Photo by Torsten Bage, Creative Commons attribution 3.0.

TUI Cruises began operations in 2009 using modern, second-hand tonnage supplied by Celebrity Cruises.  TUI Cruises is a joint venture of German-based TUI Travel, AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.    The line is marketed as a premium cruise line custom tailored for German-speaking passengers.   Each of the vessels sports a dark blue hull with calligraphy-style writing along the sides, like a high-end wall of graffiti.   The upperworks are all white as is the funnel with the company logo in red.  The line was formed just four years ago, starting with the introduction of the 1996-built MEIN SCHIFF christened on May 15, 2009.  The 1,960-passenger ship began its career as the GALAXY (later CELEBRITY GALAXY) and is now called MEIN SCHIFF 1.  The name MEIN SCHIFF (translated as My Ship) resulted from a naming contest in which 30,000 ideas were sent in.   Before entering service, an extensive 38-day refit added 200 balconies to existing cabins, removed the aft pool and split the lovely observation lounge into three separate public rooms.  In February, 2011, the 77,713 gross ton MEIN SCHIFF 2 (ex MERCURY, CELEBRITY MERCURY) joined the fleet, following the addition of more verandas and a similar refurbishment.  Both near-sisters were built in Germany at the Papenburg-based shipyard of Meyer Werft.  Royal Caribbean has maintained a long-standing relationship with the shipbuilders in Finland where the two new ships will be completed.

Both TUI AG and Royal Caribbean are huge global travel organizations.  The TUI Travel Group also controls Thomson Cruises, primarily sailing with British passengers and retains a minority stake in the German luxury line, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, which was once a fully-owned subsidiary.

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake
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