The German cruise line TUI Cruises, a joint venture between TUI Group and Royal Caribbean Cruises, and a regular homeporting cruise line in the Middle East, is planning to order a new cruise ship to meet ongoing demand.
The new cruise ship will expand TUI Cruises’ fleet to seven vessels from 2023, a TUI spokesman said on Monday, confirming an earlier newspaper report. The new cruise ship will be an evolution of sister ship Mein Schiff 5, which is currently deployed in the Dubai cruise market during the winter season.
She will have a passenger capacity of 2,900 and is reported to cost US $614-million to build, with delivery from the Finnish shipbuilder Meyer Turku Oy expected in 2023 . Mein Schiff 9 will be the line’s new flagship and will likely force TUI Cruises to replace the smaller ships in its fleet.
However, according to German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), a TUI spokesperson said that due to unexpectedly high demand for cruises in the coming year or two, those plans may be put on hold.
“We may hold off retiring Mein Schiff 2 indefinitely because of rising demand for cruise holidays,” the spokesperson said.
TUI Cruises is a premium German cruise brand, often considered to be the German answer to Princess or Celebrity Cruises, with modern sleek interior designs and edgy décor finishes that combine a modern cruise experience with classic ocean-going elegance and luxury.
TUI Cruises has been cruising roundtrip from Dubai during the annual winter cruise season for several years and has steadily grown its capacity in the Middle East cruise market in-line with the growth of Dubai as a regional cruise hub.
Mein Schiff 5 is currently cruising from Dubai on a set 7-night roundtrip itinerary until March, 2018 that visits Khassab, Muscat and Abu Dhabi, with overnight stays in port at the Dubai Cruise Terminal either end of the cruise.
Her replacement in the 2014 cruise season will be Mein Schiff 4, with the cruise ship sailing an alternating butterfly cruise itinerary in the eastern and western ends of the Arabian Gulf. Mein Schiff 4 will be based in the Middle East from November, 2018 to March, 2019.