TUI Cruises Expands to Six Ships by 2017
TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) are substantiating their expansions plans for their joint venture TUI Cruises. The Mein Schiff fleet shall grow from now three to six ships and then 14,000 beds by 2017. TUI Cruises is strengthening its already sound and dynamic position in the German cruise market.
Both the Boards of TUI AG (TUI1.DE) and Royal Caribbean Cruises have decided to order the two newbuilds. The Mein Schiff 4 is currently being built and with the now decided new orders of Mein Schiff 5 and Mein Schiff 6 TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises are investing in touristic growth markets. The parent companies of Hamburg-based TUI Cruises expect a sustained high demand in the cruise sector and therefore, in good time, came to the decision to expand further.
Friedrich Joussen, CEO of TUI AG: "In Germany and in Europe the interest in cruises is increasing. The Mein Schiff fleet of TUI Cruises has set a new premium standard in the market and it won new target groups for cruise holidays. The ships are excellently booked to capacity and the company is growing. TUI Cruises and its vessels are a pivotal pillar for our differentiation and growth strategy. Cruises meet the trend and are being discovered by new customer segments." At the presentation of the TUI AG half-year results Joussen had already called the prospects for the cruise segment as highly attractive and alluded to an expansion of the Mein Schiff fleet. This expansion is now being turned into action with the two vessels on order.
Only recently, in June 2014, the Mein Schiff 3 as the first newbuild of the fleet was commissioned by TUI Cruises. Already prior to the launching ceremony on 12 June, the vessel had been nearly fully booked.
The now decided two more ships are on order and expected for delivery as soon as 2016 and 2017. The new cruise liners will be sister ships of the previous newbuilds Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schiff 4: 295 metres long spanning 15 decks with 1,250 cabins. The majority of the “well-being” ship’s cabins, 90 per cent, will be outside cabins with 82 per cent having balconies. The 97,000 Gross Registered Tons (GRT) new build will carry approximately 2,500 guests based on double occupancy.
Both new ships will be built at STX shipyard in Turku, Finland, the majority of which will be in hands of MEYER WERFT GmbH. This acquisition is subject to approval by the cartel authority and financing. Richard J. Vogel, CEO TUI Cruises: ''We are pleased that a positive outcome of the negotiations between STX and MEYER WERFT has been achieved. This step ensures that TUI Cruises keeps the valuable know-how of the shipyard. It is the foundation to successfully enlarge the unique cruise products of the Mein Schiff fleet.” As Managing Director Richard J. Vogel was responsible for building up TUI Cruises from the very start. By 1 October he will be succeeded as CEO of the Hamburg-based cruise company.
By Wybcke Meier