TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises are finalizing the expansion plans for their joint venture, TUI Cruises. By 2017, the Mein Schiff fleet, currently consisting of three ships, will grow to six ships and have 14,000 beds. This will further strengthen TUI Cruises’ already strong and dynamic position in the German cruise market.
The management boards of TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises, as well as the board of directors of Royal Caribbean Cruises, have decided to order two new ships. The Mein Schiff 4 is already under construction, and with the newly ordered Mein Schiff 5 and Mein Schiff 6, TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises are investing in tourism growth markets. The parent companies of TUI Cruises, which operates out of Hamburg, are banking on sustained high demand in the cruise industry and have therefore made an early decision to pursue further growth.
Friedrich Joussen, CEO of TUI AG, said, “Interest in cruises is increasing in Germany and Europe. With the Mein Schiff fleet, TUI Cruises has set its own premium standard in the market and opened up new target groups for cruises. The ships are excellently utilized, and the company is growing. TUI Cruises and its ships are thus a crucial pillar of TUI Group’s differentiation and growth strategy. Cruises are on trend and are being discovered by new target groups.” Joussen had already rated the prospects for the cruise industry as very attractive during the presentation of the half-year figures and had promised further expansion of the Mein Schiff fleet. This expansion is now being implemented with the new orders.
In June 2014, the Mein Schiff 3, the first new ship built by TUI Cruises, was put into service. Even before its christening on June 12, the Mein Schiff 3 was already almost fully booked.
The two newly ordered ships are scheduled to be delivered in 2016 and 2017. The new cruise ships will be sister ships of the two previous new builds, Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schiff 4: 295 meters long, with 15 decks and 1,250 cabins. 90 percent of the comfort ships’ cabins are outside cabins, and 82 percent have a balcony. The new cruise ships, with a gross tonnage of 97,000, can accommodate a total of 2,500 passengers in cabins for two people.
Both new builds will be constructed at the STX shipyard in Turku, Finland, which is in the process of being acquired by MEYER WERFT (Papenburg). Approval of the acquisition by antitrust authorities is still pending. Richard J. Vogel, CEO of TUI Cruises, said, “We are very pleased that negotiations between STX and MEYER WERFT have come to a positive conclusion. This step secures valuable know-how for TUI Cruises from the shipyard. This also lays the foundation for successfully expanding the unique cruise products of the Mein Schiff fleet at a high level.” Richard J. Vogel has been responsible for building up TUI Cruises as CEO since the beginning. He will hand over the CEO position of the Hamburg-based cruise company to his successor, Wybcke Meier, on October 1, 2014.