TUI Cruises is Germany’s largest premium cruise line, competing directly with Phoenix Reisen and Hapag-Lloyd.
TUI Cruises started out in 2009 with just one ship, Mein Schiff, but expanded rapidly after Royal Caribbean bought a 50% share of the line from German travel giant TUI AG.
There are currently six ships in the TUI fleet, with a seventh (Neue Mein Schiff 2) due in 2019.
The cruise line is in the process of phasing out its older tonnage, with Mein Schiff 1 transferred to TUI subsidiary Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises) in 2018. The 1997-built Mein Schiff 2 is also likely to be transferred out of the fleet in 2019 when the new flagship arrives.
TUI Cruises offers a premium cruise experience with a lot of added-charge options included in the cruise fare (house wines and beer are served during dinner for example).
It is marketed almost exclusively to the German cruise market and as such all on-board products, food, amenities and entertainment are heavily German-influenced.
TUI Cruises is a big-ship cruise line, so its ships come with all the bells and whistles one would expect of the modern cruise industry.
Mein Schiff 2, for example, the line’s ‘smallest’ ship at 77,000-gross tons and passenger capacity of 2,100, has 13 lounges and bars, more than 400 balcony cabins, a 1,700-square-metre spa area boasting recliners for relaxation; private spa suites; and a 2,200-square-meter pool deck with private cabanas.
TUI Cruises destinations and itineraries
TUI Cruises sails all around the world thanks to its fairly large fleet. Summers are spent in the Caribbean, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Canary Islands and Western Europe.
During the winter ships are deployed to warmer climates in Asia, Central America and the Middle East.
TUI Cruises has been gradually increasing its tonnage in the Arabian Gulf, and will be deploying Mein Schiff 6 for the upcoming 2021/22 Middle East cruise season, sailing 7-night roundtrip cruises from Dubai.
TUI has also recently expanded into South Africa, with Mein Schiff Herz due to homeport out of Cape Town in 2022.
TUI Cruises in the Middle East
TUI Cruises emphasises its destination-intensive cruise itineraries, and its Arabian Gulf cruises are no different, with a different port almost every night of the cruise.
In Dubai, the cruise line stays overnight in port, giving passengers more time for shore excursions and independent exploring.
And, true to that German stereotype regarding efficiency, the boarding and disembarking process is universally praised, while shore excursions are said to run like clockwork.
Dining aboard TUI Cruises
Dining aboard TUI Cruises is open seating, and reservations aren’t required but are encouraged, for premium restaurants, of which there are many.
Aboard the smallest ship in the fleet, for example, there are nine dining rooms. The Atlantik is the 1,000-seat main restaurant with flexible seating.
There is also Bistro La Vela (Italian), Surf And Turf (Seafood, Steak House), GOSCH Sylt (Seafood), Blaue Welt Sushi Bar, Cliff 24 Grill (Burger Bar), Richards (Dinner only gourmet), and the main buffet restaurant Anckelmannsplatz.
Types of passengers on a TUI Cruise
TUI’s passengers are overwhelmingly German, or from German-speaking parts of Europe. It’s extremely rare to find more than two or three groups of North American or British passengers on any of its cruise itineraries, although on the Arabian Gulf cruises there are a fair few Arab and Indian passengers.
TUI is a good option for cruisers who want to experience something a little different, and in the Dubai cruise market, its great for expats and locals alike who want to visit Germany without leaving the Gulf.
TUI Cruises is a child-friendly cruise line, with kids’ facilities and a full children’s’ program during the holidays, so be warned that on the shorter European and Caribbean sailings during German school holidays, up to a quarter of the passengers could be made up of kids and teens.
Cruise ships in the TUI fleet:
Mein Schiff 1
Mein Schiff 2
Mein Schiff 3
Mein Schiff 5
Mein Schiff 6
Mein Schiff Herz
Categories: Cruise Line Focus