Germany's FTI Cruises shut down, future of MS Berlin uncertain

   July 28, 2020 ,   Cruise Industry

FTI Group (Bavarian travel company) shut down its cruise branch "FTI Cruises". The company's only cruise ship (MS Berlin) now faces an uncertain future - to either sold or scrapped.

In addition to FTI Cruises, FTI Group's measures also affect the flight portal, the tour operator "FTI Touristic" and LAL Sprachreisen (LAL Language Travel / "Love A Language", worldwide tours themed on learning ​​English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Japanese). Overall, FTI wants to reduce staff costs by ~20%.

According to the company, the brand FTI Cruises will be discontinued at the end of FY2020 (fiscal year) and MS Berlin will cease cruising on November 1. The 40-year-old vessel was last refurbished in 2017.

MS Berlin cruise ship

In the 1980s and 90s, MS Berlin was the setting for the dramas by ZDF (Mainz-based TV broadcaster) for 13 years. On the charming liner were shot 21 episodes of Das Traumschiff ("The Dream Ship").

Since May 2012, the vessel has been back on the German market as "FTI Berlin" and later "MS Berlin".

The ship was initially launched and operated under the name “Berlin” (1980–1982; 1984–2005). It also served as Princess Mahsuri (1982–1984), Orange Melody (2005), Spirit of Adventure (until 2012), and FTI Berlin (2012–2014). During 2005-2013, the Berlin cruise ship was owned by Saga Cruises and was part of the line’s 2nd brand, “Spirit of Adventure Cruises”, along with the Quest of Adventure (currently sailing as Saga Pearl 2).

Like all cruise shipping companies, FTI initially ceased operations in mid-March due to the pandemic.

What happens to MS Berlin will be decided in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, giving the vessel's age (average lifespan for cruise ships is 30-35 years) it most probably will join CruiseMapper's saddest hub that groups the Scrapped Cruise Ships.