1 February 2019

“Each cruise ship is unique“

TUI Cruises is growing: The new Mein Schiff 2 is the sixth newbuild of the fleet. The new Mein Schiff 2 receives its guests with numerous sophisticated and innovative features. Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, und Tapani Mylly from the Meyer Turku Shipyards highlight why the customers will be excited of the ship.

The port of Kiel offers an impressive sight. The new Mein Schiff 2, TUI Cruises’ sixth newbuild. The fleet of the joint venture between TUI Group and Royal Caribbean Cruises now comprises seven ships. Together with her sister ship of identical design, the Mein Schiff 1 already launched in 2018, the new Mein Schiff 2 represents a next-generation cruise ship of the Hamburg-based shipping line.

The ship had berthed in Kiel for the handover ceremony from Meyer Werft Turku to TUI Cruises. Meanwhile, she has embarked on her maiden voyage, including the naming ceremony to take place at Lisbon. In the summer, she will embark on a series of Mediterranean itineraries, and during the European winter she will offer sailings in the Caribbean. “In 2018, 2.4 million passengers booked a cruise in the German market,” says Wybke Meier, CEO TUI Cruises. “The sector has undergone very fast-paced growth. In the mid-1990s, there were fewer than 200,000 cruise passengers.” The number of cruise passengers from the German source market is even expected to rise to around 3.5 million by 2020. TUI Cruises is growing in line with this market growth and currently has a market share of 25 per cent. “We are the youngest and most environmentally friendly fleet,” emphasizes Wybke Meier. “Moreover, thanks to the new ships, cruising is no longer a luxury; passengers can choose from a wide range of affordable offerings to suit every budget.”

10,000 people involved in construction

Every ship, including the new Mein Schiff 2, is unique. She even offers different and upgraded features compared with her sister ship Mein Schiff 1. “The Schau-Bar, for instance, and the Große Freiheit restaurant section, now featuring a diamond-shaped steel and glass construction,” says Tapani Mylly, Communications Manager at Meyer Werft Turku. “Together with TUI, we also always implement the suggestions put forward by the passengers.” Cruise ships consist of up to twelve million individual components. They are therefore far more complex than other vessels; even a large tanker has far less than half that number of components. Cruise ships are therefore the supreme discipline in shipbuilding, which only four shipyards in the world have been able to master. In the course of the nearly three-year design and construction process, around 10,000 people were involved in building the new Mein Schiff 2.

Constant innovation

On a guided group tour through the ship in Kiel, one of the participants asks whether the cabins situated close to the onboard disco are not too noisy. “No,” replies Mylly. “This is due to the special soundproofing materials we have installed. And for the basketball court, situated above a restaurant, we have installed anti-vibration rubber pads and special insulation.” Another example of the constant innovations referred to by the Communications Manager is the giant, spiderweb-like window façade of the Große Freiheit restaurant offering passengers great ocean views at the stern of the ship – even in heavy seas. “The glass panels are a highly complex piece of engineering,” explains Mylly. “They have not been firmly installed but have some flexibility to move a little. This is the only way to ensure they can withstand the impact of the heavy vibrations they are exposed to.”

Demand continues to rise

Like the new Mein Schiff 1, the new Mein Schiff 2 has 16 decks rising high into the sky. At a length of 316 metres, the new flagship is around 50 metres longer than her predecessor operated under the same name. She thus offers more feel-good space and 300 extra cabins for her around 2,900 passengers. The previous Mein Schiff 2 has meanwhile been renamed as Mein Schiff Herz. TUI Cruises will now have a short break in terms of the delivery of further newbuilds. The next newbuilds are scheduled for delivery in 2023, 2024 and 2026. “There will be more than sufficient demand,” says Wybke Meier.