“Almost like a miracle“

Cruises is an important growing market for TUI Group. In our two-part report we describe the process in the Meyer shipyard (Turku) of converting a steel frame into a “floating hotel“.

The new ocean liners “Mein Schiff 1“ and “Mein Schiff 2“ of TUI Cruises demonstrate the fascination of the construction of cruise liners – and the progress in this supreme discipline of maritime design.

Part 1

With its 16 decks, the new “Mein Schiff 1“ reaches for the sky. The new flagship of TUI Cruises is 316 metres long – 20 metres longer than its previous sister ships which, in addition to even more space offering a sense of well-being for around 2,900 guests, means 485 additional cabins compared to the “Mein Schiff 1“ predecessor. On 11th May, the latest vessel with about 1,100 crew members will be officially launched as part of Hamburg's Port Anniversary. After that, she will already depart on her first trips to sea. It has taken just three years from the initial ideas to the final realisation. At the Meyer shipyard in the Finnish city of Turku, meanwhile, the new “Mein Schiff 2“ is still currently to be found in the dry dock. Like a bee-hive, hundreds of workers walk in and out and are in the process of converting a steel frame into a floating hotel. At the beginning of 2019, “Mein Schiff 2“ will also enter into service. Both ships represent the new generation of ships of the Hamburg cruise company, TUI Cruises. And both demonstrate the progress made in the construction of modern cruise liners – in terms of technology and comfort, as well as with respect to environmental technologies. The floating sister-ships impressively demonstrate why cruise ships are the supreme discipline in shipbuilding which only a handful of shipyards in the world have been able to master.

“A cruise ship consists of up to twelve million individual parts,“ explains Tapani Mylly, Communication Manager of the Meyer shipyard in Turku. “It is therefore much, much more complex than other ships“. By comparison: even the largest tanker, according to Mylly, requires far less than half the number of parts. The future “Mein Schiff 2“ is also clearly recognizable as a proud cruise ship in its outer form and rests on huge concrete and steel pillars. On a tour, Mylly leads the way on iron stairs through the ship that is under construction. On the upper deck, a massive tent similar to those to be found at Munich's Oktoberfest, receive the visitor. The tent is one of the protective measures which ensure that the work can be continued even during the severe Finnish winter with temperatures as low as below minus 20 degrees. The first cabins are already being hauled out of a container into the ship's belly with the help of a crane and lift. The cabins are prefabricated, together with their furniture they are inserted from outside and put in their designated places like pieces in a huge jigsaw puzzle. In most places, “Mein Schiff 2“ is still uncovered. Cable ducts hang from the ceilings, pipes or ventilation ducts are also waiting for further installation. Every couple of metres workers are tacking, screwing, flexing or welding. A steady sound of compressed air accompanies the work. “In the current phase, around 1,000 people work on the ship at the same time“, explains Tapani Mylly. A total of 800 suppliers are involved in the construction of the ship. Planning all this work and bringing the processes together at the right time – that is the really important part about building a cruise ship. “For us, it all starts with individual steel plates“, says Mylly. “For me, it almost seems like a miracle, how it turns into a beautiful ship and is finally launched into the water“.

For part 2 of our report “Almost like a miracle” click here.