TUI Cruises fleet
Review of TUI Cruises
TUI Cruises GmbH (tuicruises.com) is a 50-50 Joint venture company between TUI AG (Germany) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (US corporation). The Hamburg-based company was founded in 2008 and operational since 2009. On April 22, 2018, the cruise line celebrated its 10th anniversary. In 2018, TUI fleet's capacity was 14,784 berths, serving 0,5+ million passengers annually. By year 2024, TUI will have annual capacity ~800,000 passengers - compared to 2017 (500,000), 2018 (550,000) and 2019 (650,000, berths 17,500),
TUI Group fully owns three England-registered subsidiary companies (TUI UK Ltd, TUI Airways Ltd, TUI Ireland Ltd) plus one Ireland-registered (Adehy Ltd).
On February 7, 2020, TUI AG announced that Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (valued ~EUR 1,2 billion) becomes part of TUI Cruises. The contract with RCCL was signed in Hamburg (Feb 7), the cash transaction from RCCL (~EUR 700 million) was closed on July 6, 2020.
The Hanover Germany-based TUI Group (British-German multinational) is currently ranked the world's largest leisure and travel company. It was founded in 1923 and until 2002 was named "Preussag AG". TUI Group's companies specialize in hospitality and tourism services worldwide, with a portfolio including passenger airlines, cruise shipping (shipowner), package vacations, hotels and resorts, travel agencies, retail shops. TUI Group's current CEO is Sebastian Ebel, who (in October 2022) succeeded Fritz Joussen (2013-2022).
For 2021-Q1, TUI Group reported 2,8 million bookings (all brands/subsidiaries), or 56% of 2019's, with 20% higher average prices and overall loss EUR 698,6 million (EUR 146,7 M loss in 2019). Cruise shipping revenue was EUR 0,6 million (EUR 238,4 M in 2019). TUI Group secured 3x financing packages (with its major shareholders, banks and Germany's Economic Stabilization Fund). The 3rd package (EUR 1,8 billion) was completed in late-January.
For FY2021 (fiscal year), TUI Group reported EUR 27 million (~USD 30,6M) in cruise revenues (~EUR 445,6M less than FY2020), EBIT loss EUR 277,5M (~USD 314M), avrg ship occupancy rates ~40%. By brand, the number of passenger days was 1,227M (TUI), 0,114M (Hapag-Lloyd), 0,153M (Marella). Average daily rates by brand were EUR 132 (TUI), EUR 514 (Hapag-Lloyd), GBP 124 / EUR 145 (Marella).
(new brand) TUI River Cruises UK
In April 2019, the shipowner TUI AG terminated the charters of its 3 riverboats and established the UK-focused brand "TUI River Cruises" (tui.co.uk/river-cruises). The new brand was scheduled to start operations in summer 2020 but due to the Coronavirus crisis, its inauguration was postponed for August 2021 (delayed ~1,5 years). The ships are named TUI Isla, TUI Maya, TUI Skyla.
TUI River Cruises is a separate company part (fully-owned subsidiary) of TUI AG (British-German travel and tourism corporation). TUI Group also owns the companies Marella Cruises UK and Hapag-Lloyd-Cruises.
River travel aficionados can choose from various itineraries and optional shipboard and land packages. Standard (basic) TUI river cruise pricing is inclusive of alcohol (beers and wines by the glass) and soft drinks with all meals, as well as of gratuities (onboard tips), service charges and bicycles (offered complimentary to all passengers in call ports of the current cruisetour itinerary). Premium drinks packages are optional (offered at extra cost). All TUI riverboats have balcony suites. Shore excursions range from sightseeing tours (guided by local experts) to bike tours.
The new river cruise company offers GBP 120 (~EUR 140 / USD 155) per person in OBC (onboard credit) towards all land tour bookings. TUI river ships are named TUI Maya, TUI Skyla and TUI Isla, each with capacity 155 passengers plus 40 crew, LOA length 135 m (445 ft), 4 decks (3 with cabins). Standard cabins are sized 12 m2 (130 ft2) and with fixed double beds.
TUI riverboats' venues include:
- (Deck 2) cabins, Lobby (Reception Desk, Tour Desk, Library), wellness facilities (Spa, Gym, Hair Parlor)
- (Deck 3) cabins, Observatory Lounge, Bar Lounge, Bow Terrace, 2 restaurants (Bistro Buffet, Verdastro Dining Room). Verdastro Restaurant serves buffet-type breakfast and a la carte lunch and dinner (with waiter service). Bistro Restaurant is for buffet-style dining only (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Observatory is the show lounge with live entertainment in the evenings (musical performances, stand-up comedy acts, crew show, themed dance parties).
- (Deck 4) Sundeck with games area (shuffleboard), shaded seating (Sundeck Lounge), sunbathing area with padded loungers, sunbeds, daybeds.
In December 2019, TUI signed an exclusive partnership with Live Business UK (one of Europe's largest entertainment program developers and suppliers) for the TUI River Cruises company. By this deal, Live Business UK prepared the onboard entertainment programming for the boats and is also responsible for recruiting cruise directors, hosts, ship musicians, guest performers, local tour guides and other experts.
During the company's 10 years of service (2008-2018), the six Mein Schiffs handled around 2,2 million passengers, visited over 200 seaports and covered around 2,9 million km (1,8 million ml). TUI's sister-brand is Marella Cruises (UK source market).
For FY2018 (fiscal year), TUI Group's earnings (from the 3 cruise brands - TUI, Marella, and Hapag-Lloyd) increased by 10,7% - to EUR 901,9 million. Company's turnover was EUR 324 million (26,8% increase over 2017). Group's average daily rates increased to EUR 178 euro (TUI, up from EUR 173), EUR 141 (Marella, up from EUR 131) and EUR 615 (Hapag-Lloyd, up from EUR 594).
In 2015-2016, TUI Group had a turnover of EUR 17,8 billion (company's record) and operating result of EUR 1B. Corporation's portfolio consisted of 14 vessels (TUI, Thomson-Marella, and Hapag-Lloyd brands), several large tour operators, around 1600 travel agencies (including online portals), over 300 hotels (around 214,000 beds) and 6 airlines (over 150 aircraft).
The list of TUI-owned airlines includes Corsair International (France), TUI Airways (UK), TUI fly Belgium, TUI fly Deutschland, TUI fly Netherlands, and TUI fly Nordic (departures from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway).
In FY2016 (the fiscal year 2016), TUI Cruises had 60% growth (over FY2015) in earnings, with EBITA of EUR 130 million (EUR 81 million in FY2015). The reported growth came from the corporation's two main markets - Germany and UK.
TUI Cruises started operations by acquiring Celebrity Galaxy (owned by Celebrity Cruises - another RCCL subsidiary). The ship left Celebrity's fleet on March 16, 2009. After buying Celebrity Galaxy, the vessel was refitted at Lloyd Werft shipyard (Bremerhaven, Germany) arriving on March 27 for 38-day, EUR 50 million conversions. Galaxy was re-christened on May 15 in Hamburg and renamed "Mein Schiff" (meaning "My Ship" in Deutsch). TUI planned to build two 100,000 GT, 2500-passenger ships in 2011 and 2012.
- On May 27, 2010, was revealed that Celebrity Mercury joins TUI fleet as Mein Schiff 2 (renamed in 2018 to Mein Schiff Herz). Before the refit, "MS Mein Schiff" was renamed to Mein Schiff 1 (now Marella Explorer). Schiff 2 entered service in February 2011 after an extensive drydock reconstruction.
- On September 27, 2011, TUI and STX Finland announced shipbuilding contract for a 97,000 GT vessel (Schiff 3) with delivery in 2014. The vessel is 968 ft (295 m) long, with 1250 staterooms (most of which balconied) and capacity 2500 passengers and 1000 crew. The contract included an optional second ship, that was ordered on November 5, 2012 (Schiff 4). Schiff 3 entered service on April 22, 2014.
- In March 2015, RCI (Royal Caribbean International) announced selling Splendour of the Seas to TUI Cruises in 2016-Q2. TUI leased the vessel to Thomson UK (now Marella) replacing MS Island Escape (now Ocean Gala).
- In May 2015 TUI Group announced that as part of fleet modernization strategy, Schiff 1 and 2 will be transferred to Thomson/Marella over the next few years to upgrade TUI's UK fleet.
- In 2018, TUI signed a partnership deal with "Merkur Casino Mare" (part of Gauselmann Group) for the onboard gambling on Schiff 1 (since 2018), Schiff 2 (since 2019) and Schiff 3 (since 2021). The ship Casino features 6x electronic roulettes plus 14x other Merkur gaming machines, and a separate gambling lounge with 4x M-Box Buzzer (multi-gaming machines) and a blackjack table for live gaming. For 2020, Gauselmann AG reported revenue EUR 2,56 billion (~USD 3B / ~GBP 2,2B). Since 2012, Gauselmann owns the British company Praesepe Ltd (now Merkur Casino UK) which owns the Cashino brand (street gambling arcade chain).
- In mid-October 2021, TUI announced that Schiff Herz will be transferred in 2023 to Marella Cruises UK. Following a drydock, the boat will be renamed "Marella Voyager", starting operations for Marella on June 3, 2023.
The Hannover travel group TUI AG (listed at London Stock Exchange) keeps an upbeat outlook of cruise shipping activities. The company owns 100% of Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten and 50% of TUI Kreuzfahrten.
In August 2015, TUI announced EBITA growth (Q3) by EUR 11 million, which reflected the full-year profit of Schiff 3 (operated since June 2014) and the launch of Schiff 4 (June 2015). In addition, Hapag-Lloyd's remarkable turnaround and EUR 4 million benefits from refinancing ms Europa 2 meant that TUI had EUR 21 million increase in underlying EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization).
In May 2015, TUI AG Supervisory Board and RCCL-Royal Caribbean confirmed the purchase options for Schiff 7 and Schiff 8 (later renamed "Schiff 1" and "Schiff 2", delivered respectively in 2018 and 2019), as the German market reported further growth. The new liners are slightly larger (2860 lower berths each), built by Meyer Turku Finland. The deal was fully financed within TUI Cruises (joint venture) - without further contribution from TUI AG and RCCL.
Schiff 5 was launched on January 15, 2016, following the 14-month construction period. Around 1500 employees are involved in the building of each TUI vessel.
In mid-July 2018, TUI ordered 2 new ships (161,000 GT-ton, 4000-passenger) - this time from the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. Their scheduled deliveries are in 2024 (Schiff 8) and 2026 (Schiff 9). TUI's "Italian" liners are LNG-powered.
In October 2018, TUI announced the "Wasteless" initiative aimed to eliminate disposable plastic products fleetwide (and also in land-based operations - provision suppliers and office staff) by the year 2020. Plastics will be replaced by alternative products made from renewable resources. The eco-initiative started with the newbuilds, on which in all cabin bathrooms, shower gel and shampoo dispensers are refillable, terry slippers are bathrobe's pockets (not packed in plastic), laundry bags are from bio-based plastic, coffee-to-go cups for crew are from bio-based plastic, drink stirrers are wooden. In November 2019, TUI reported ~30 million single-use plastic items replaced with renewable/sustainable materials-made alternatives.
In 2018, the German travel market reached ~2,2 million cruisers, of whom ~26% were served by TUI.
TUI Schiff Restaurants and Bars
TUI Schiff sonnenbereiche und poolbereiche (sundeck and Lido-deck pool areas)
(Coronavirus crisis) passenger shipping pause 2020-2021
Due to the Coronavirus crisis, TUI River Cruises suspended passenger shipping operations by canceling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures March 15, 2020, through August 15, 2021. TUI Cruises Germany ("Mein Schiff" fleet) suspended operations on March 23 and restarted on August 21 with Schiff 1 (7-day Norwegian Fjords roundtrip from Kiel) and Schiff 2 (7-day Norway from Hamburg). Schiff 6 started on September 13 (through November 7) with 7-day roundtrips from Heraklion (Crete) to Piraeus-Athens and Kerkyra (Corfu Island).
TUI River Cruises were planned to resume on November 26, 2020 (Christmas and New Year itineraries) but were eventually canceled through August 2021 (the brand was inaugurated on August 15, with TUI Maya from Frankfurt).
All affected bookings were automatically canceled and fully refunded in FCC (future cruise credit) notes for the full cost of the cruise. The FCCs can be used for paying a new voyage (with rebooking) or fully refunded (100%) in cash after 12 months.
Next are listed all TUI liners and their first departure dates/homeports/regions in 2021 - Schiff 3 (May 10/Norway from Bremerhaven), Schiff 4 (Apr 23/UK-Baltic from Hamburg), Schiff 5 (May 13/Mediterranean from Heraklion Crete), Schiff 6 (May 9/Mediterranean from Palma de Mallorca), Schiff Herz (Sept 3/Mediterranean from Palma de Mallorca). Schiff 1 and Schiff 2 started Canary Islands cruises in January, with 7-day and 14-day roundtrips from Gran Canaria.
The latest cancellations affected Schiff 5's Asian program (Hong Kong) and Schiff 6's Arabian Gulf program (from Dubai).
Itinerary of TUI Cruises
The next table provides a concise review of the TUI fleet's deployments (as homeports and destinations/regions). For detailed itineraries (call ports, port dates-times, and cruise prices) just follow the ship links.
|Ship Names||Homeports||Itineraries Changes|
|Mein Schiff 1|
The ship offers Transatlantic repositioning (Europe-Caribbean-Europe).
Las Palmas roundtrips offer exclusively Canary Islands cruises (without visiting ports in Morocco, northwestern Africa).
Mediterranean itineraries visit ports in France (including Corsica Island), Italy, Spain, Malta, UK (Gibraltar), Portugal, with big-city overnights.
During winter, the ship offers Karibik (Eastern-Southern Caribbean) cruises to ports in Martinique, Antigua, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada, Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba.
|Mein Schiff 2|
Starting operations in January 2019, the ship offers Transatlantic repositioning (Europe-Caribbean-Europe).
The 14-day Canary Islands roundtrip itineraries (from Gran Canaria) also visit Madeira Island (Funchal overnight).
The Palma de Mallorca roundtrips visit large-city ports in France (also Corsica Island), Italy (also Sicily Island), Malta, and Ibiza Island (Spain).
The 14-day Karibik roundtrip itineraries (departures from Barbados and Dominicana) visit Eastern and Southern Caribbean ports in Martinique, Antigua, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada, Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba.
|Mein Schiff 3|
The ship offers a repositioning through Suez Canal (Europe-Asia-Europe) and between Mediterranean-Baltic.
Singapore roundtrips (in Southeast Asia) visit ports in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia.
From Germany (Bremerhaven) are operated Baltic Sea cruises (Norwegian Fjords, Scandinavia and Russia, UK, Iceland) and roundtrips to Iberia.
Canary Islands itineraries (Gran Canaria roundtrips) also visit ports in North Africa (Morocco).
The ship offers a repositioning through Suez Canal (Europe-Asia-Europe) and between Mediterranean-Baltic.
The 7-day Dubai roundtrips visit Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and UAE (Abu Dhabi), with Dubai pre- and post-cruise overnights. Also offered are 14-day B2Bs (back-to-back cruises).
Germany roundtrips (from Kiel) visit Baltic Sea ports in Norway (Norwegian Fjords, Spitzbergen), Scandinavia, and Russia, Iceland.
In the Mediterranean, the ship cruises from Palma to large-city ports in France, Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands, Morocco (North Africa).
The ship offers Transatlantic repositioning (Europe-Caribbean-Europe), between Mediterranean-Baltic and through Suez Canal (Mediterranean-Dubai-Mediterranean).
During winter, the ship cruises to Eastern and Southern Caribbean ports. The 14-day Karibik roundtrip itineraries visit ports in Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada, Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba.
Northern European itineraries are Germany-roundtrips to UK (Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, England) and Norway (Norwegian Fjords).
The 7-day Dubai roundtrips visit Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, UAE (Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi), with Dubai pre- and post-cruise overnights.
|Mein Schiff 6|
The ship offers Transatlantic repositioning (Europe-Caribbean-Europe) and through Suez Canal (Europe-Asia-Europe).
During winter, the ship cruises to the Western Caribbean. The 14-day Karibik roundtrip itineraries visit ports in Jamaica, Mexico (Cozumel), Belize, Honduras (Roatan Island), Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Dominicana.
Mediterranean itineraries visit big-city ports in Spain, France, Italy, Malta. Adriatic Sea cruises visit Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Italy, Greece (Corfu Island), Sicily. Malta roundtrips also visit the Greek isles Rhodes and Mykonos.
Singapore roundtrips are with longer itineraries (2-week plus) and visit ports in Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
|Mein Schiff 7||TBA|
Schiff 7's itinerary program will be announced on a later date. The boat is currently scheduled for delivery in 2024-Q2.
|Mein Schiff 8||TBA|
Schiff 8's itineraries will be announced on a later date. The boat is currently scheduled for delivery in 2024-H1.
|Mein Schiff 9||TBA|
Schiff 9's itineraries will be announced on a later date. The boat is currently scheduled for delivery in 2026-H1.
Note: This is the old Schiff 2.
Mediterranean itineraries visit ports in France (Corsica Island), Italy (also Sardinia and Sicily), Spain (overnight in Barcelona), Malta, UK (Gibraltar), Greece (also the Greek islands Crete and Santorini).
The roundtrip Canary Islands cruises also visit Madeira Island (Portugal). Roundtrip Tenerife itineraries visit Cape Verde (western Africa) and Azores (Portugal).
TUI Herz cruises in South Africa on 14-day itineraries roundtrip from homeport Cape Town, featuring overnight stays in Port Elizabeth and Walvis Bay (Namibia). Prices are inclusive of roundtrip flights Germany-South Africa.
NEWS: In 2023, TUI Schiff Herz will be transferred to Marella Cruises UK, drydock-refurbished and renamed "Marella Voyager", starting operations for Marella on June 3, 2023.
TUI River Cruises
"TUI River Cruises" is a 2019-founded (operational since 2021) brand and a subsidiary of TUI AG. The new company specializes in passenger river shipping in Europe and is generally UK-focused (as source market).
TUI's riverboat fleet consists of three fully refurbished ships - TUI Maya, TUI Skyla, TUI Isla. The boats usually operate roundtrips from the homeports Passau and Frankfurt (Germany), Amsterdam Holland and Budapest Hungary.
In January 2022, TUI announce the restart dates of the riverboats after the winter 2021 season was suspended due to the increasing COVID Omicron cases in Europe. TUI's Rhine program was first halted before Christmas 2021 when Germany's government imposed travel restrictions on UK tourists.
TUI's river operations are currently planned to resume with TUI Skyla on March 28. The "Magic of the Danube" itinerary (7-night roundtrip from Budapest) visits ports in Slovakia, Austria, and Germany. Prices started at GBP 1120 per person with double occupancy.
TUI's first 14-night voyage begins on April 8 (TUI Isla). The "European Icons" itinerary starts in Amsterdam and visits ports in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary, ending in Budapest. Prices started at GBP 2010 pp.
TUI's Rhine voyages start on April 8 with the "Rhine Germs" itinerary visiting Koblenz and Speyer (Germany Rhineland-Palatinate) along with Basel Switzerland. The 7-roundtrip is from Frankfurt am Main (Germany Hesse), fares started at GBP 1170 pp.
Themed voyages start on April 1 (TUI Maya) with the "Vines and Valleys" Moselle River itinerary.
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