By 2030 at the latest, we want to offer the first climate-neutral cruises. At the same time, the TUI Cruises fleet – which includes Mein Schiff and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises – is reducing COemissions by 27.5 percent in absolute terms by 2030. Currently, no other cruise line worldwide commits to an absolute reduction target. The TUI Group companies are also the first in their industry to have their reduction target verified and confirmed by the independent Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) – a cooperation between the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). 

To ensure maximum climate efficiency, we have always invested in the most modern, low-emission ships. The ships in the Mein Schiff fleet that entered service between 2014 and 2017 consume 30 percent less fuel than comparable ships. For the two most recent additions to the fleet in 2018 and 2019, the savings are as high as 40 percent. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' ships built in 2013 and later are also characterised by high energy efficiency. In particular, we rely on an intelligent energy management system, efficient air conditioning systems, a new type of lighting control and the use of waste heat from engines. TUI Cruises is consistently pushing the limits of what is technically feasible and has already been able to reduce its carbon efficiency by 14 percent between 2015 and 2019.

On course for climate neutrality


This of course also applies to the three cruise ships that will join the Mein Schiff fleet by 2026. Special focus is being placed on sustainable fuels. For example, two ships can be operated with lower-emission liquefied natural gas (LNG). In the future, TUI Cruises will rely on fuels obtained either from biogenic residual and waste materials (Bio-LNG) or synthetically from renewable energy (E-LNG/E-Fuels). In the fall of 2022, Hapag-Loyd Cruises, the luxury and expedition cruise operator, successfully used biofuel from sustainable resources for the first time. This consisted mainly of leftover cooking oils. The expedition ship bunkered this as an admixture to marine gas oil; the proportion was about 30 percent. The certified biofuel is virtually free of sulfur oxides and offers COreductions of up to 90 percent compared to fossil fuels. Further blending of biofuels is planned across the fleet.

With the Mein Schiff 7, currently being built in Finland and scheduled to enter service in 2024, TUI Cruises will reach another milestone. The ship will run on lower-emission marine diesel, have a shore-side power connection and is equipped with catalytic converters that reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by around 75 percent. In addition, it will be able to run on methanol in the future. 

Six of the eleven TUI cruise ships (Mein Schiff and Hapag Lloyd fleet) are already equipped with a shore power connection that allows the ships to use green shore power. The shore power connection thus enables almost emission-free ship operation while the ships are in port. In the coming years, we will equip the entire fleet with shore power connections.


In shipping in particular, environmental protection is more than just COreduction. That's why we design the schedules of our fleet according to the "slow steaming" principle, so that the ships are on the move in a fuel-efficient way. This includes both low speeds and the shortest possible distances between ports. In addition, we are reducing pollutant emissions on six of the seven ships in the Mein Schiff fleet using a combined exhaust gas cleaning system - voluntarily, worldwide and around the clock. This enables us to reduce sulfur emissions by up to 99 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by around 75 percent and particulate emissions by up to 60 percent.

Since July 2020, the entire fleet of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has been voluntarily using marine gas oil with a maximum sulfur content of 0.1 percent worldwide. It goes without saying that we rely on innovative and comprehensive water and waste management on our ships. Modern wastewater treatment plants on board purify all wastewater generated - only treated wastewater is discharged overboard. We are continuously increasing the recycling rate and have been massively reducing plastic and food waste for years.


A sustainable cruise strengthens cruise destinations enormously. For example, each guest on a seven-day cruise spends an average of 660 euros in port cities. German guests in particular love excursions, so the average expenditure at TUI Cruises is even higher - museums and cultural institutions, restaurant operators, souvenir stores, local excursion providers, bus operators, cab drivers and local authorities benefit via port fees.

"The key to success for cruise destinations is management."

Mato Franković, Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik since June 2017

The effects are significantly higher when tourists also take advantage of overnight offers. Port cities where passengers start their journey and arrive earlier or extend their stay for a few days after the end of the cruise record additional revenue of 170 euros per cruise passenger per night. A study commissioned by Hamburg Cruise Net and the City of Hamburg on the regional value-added contribution of the cruise industry has determined a contribution to the gross value added of Hamburg's economy of around 420 million euros for 2018 - i.e. before the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic.


When it comes to working conditions on board, it is important to know: Maritime is the only industry with globally binding social standards. The Maritime Labour Convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) - drawn up with the participation of trade unions such as ver.di - guarantees a safe workplace on board, appropriate employment and living conditions, and medical care. This ensures social standards and fair competition amongst shipping companies.


Cruise lines are making upfront investments, but they need compelling political support. Two key issues are:

  • Shore-side power: Large parts of our fleets are already equipped for shore-side power. With this technique, local emissions could drop to almost zero. However, only around 20 ports worldwide offer shore power for large cruise ships. The expansion of the infrastructure urgently needs to be accelerated. It is also crucial that the ports present green power concepts.  
  • Alternative fuels: Three new ships will join TUI Cruises by 2026. They could be powered by bio-LNG, renewable electricity-based energies or green methanol. It is now important to bring the sustainable alternatives quickly to market maturity. Politicians are called upon to provide appropriate incentives and adapt regulations for the use of these green fuels in the maritime industry.