TUI Group continues its cruises strategy. After the christening and the maiden voyage of the new Mein Schiff 1 last week, the former Mein Schiff 1 is now continuing its journey in a new appearance – it will operate as the Marella Explorer for our British cruise subsidiary Marella Cruises. The christening of the new fleet member will take place this Thursday in the harbor of Palma. The ship has been completely modernised and refurbished.
Christopher Hackney, MD of Marella Cruises explained the scale of what’s being delivered, “Explorer was our biggest challenge yet, with our Discovery ships we’ve typically had around six weeks in dry-dock, this time we only just had four. We have added even more choice and flexibility for our customers with this ship and that meant more work on bringing new concepts like our Indigo bar, Champneys Spa and Scoops Ice-cream parlour, to life. It was a huge task, but the whole team - contractors, crew, partners, the teams supporting us from head office, and of course the Marella Cruises team – all did a fantastic job.”
The ambitious four-week refurbishment project began on 13th April. Not a moment was wasted with 800 contractors joining the ship over a matter of days to begin covering and protecting what needed to be kept, ripping out the old and replacing and building all the new elements that transformed the ship into Marella Explorer.
The craftsmen, technicians and engineers were joined by 800 crew members. The Marella team believes this helps the crew to integrate better. While in dry dock the crew experienced specially tailored trainings to embed the service proposition for the customers. With the team kitted out in boiler suits, hard-hats and safety boots, the pair led them inside, outside and even underneath the ship to see some of the projects taking shape.
These included the creation of Indigo, the ship’s new flagship bar, club and casino at the top of the ship with wraparound sea views. This space was transformed from three rooms into one and was one of the biggest projects on-board. It now boast one of the longest bars on a cruise ship. The first Champneys Spa at sea is another big project, it offers a full-service thermal suite, treatment suites with their own showers and mini saunas, and a Finnish sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows.
The pace and scale of work being carried out is difficult to really appreciate, so here is the refurbishment story by numbers:
- At 265.5 meters long, 32.2 meters wide and 76,998 gross tonnes Marella Explorer is the biggest ship to be welcomed into the Marella Cruises fleet
- The 1,924 capacity ship boasts 962 cabins, nearly 40 per cent with balconies, and spans 13 decks
- Around 1,600 people, from partners, contractors and the Marella Cruises team, will provide over 200,000 working hours to deliver a dramatic multi-million pound make-over
- 45 square km of carpet will be laid, along with over 70km of data cabling and 650 Wi-Fi access points
- All the ship’s waste is segregated and recycled where possible and we’ll spend around £220,000 on removing rubbish
TUI’s fleet currently comprises 16 cruise ships. TUI Group’s cruise subsidiaries TUI Cruises, Marella Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will take delivery of additional new ships in 2018, 2019 and 2023 in order to further expand their market position.