TUI Cruises are following AIDA into the South African cruise market, with plans to sail its inaugural South African cruise season out of Cape Town at the same time as its rival German brand.
The premium German cruise line will cruise roundtrip from Cape Town between November, 2020 and March, 2021 aboard Mein Schiff Herz (formerly Mein Schiff 2).
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The name means ‘My ship’s heart’ and deviates slightly from TUI’s naming convention that has all ships in the fleet called Mein Schiff followed by a number.
Each 14-day itinerary will call in Port Elizabeth, Durban, Richard’s Bay, Luderitz, Walvis Bay and East London, largely following the same route as AIDamira during the same season.
Like AIDA Cruises’ South African cruise program for 2020/21, Mein Schiff Herz will offer overnight stays in key ports such as Cape Town, extensive land programs, safari excursions, and several seadays.
Mein Schiff Herz carries 1,800 passengers and at 77,713-gross tons is considerably larger than the 48,200-gross ton AIDAmira, giving German cruise tourists to South Africa (and South African cruisers themselves) and wider range of domestic cruise options.
Ahead of her South African debut, the ship will be thoroughly refurbished, with the X-Lounge and Anckelmannsplatz restaurant receiving a new look and feel.
All her junior suites will also be overhauled and the Italian restaurant, La Spezia, featuring fine dining, with a culinary concept created by award-winning celebrity chef Theodor Falser, will be introduced.
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Mein Schiff Herz was meant to leave the TUI fleet this year and join UK cruise line Marella Cruises, but those plans were put on hold and the cruise line decided to keep her in the fleet instead.
“Mein Schiff 2 is one of the cornerstones of our success and for her to remain in the fleet is a matter close to our hearts and that is also reflected in the new name,” Michael Baden, director of marketing TUI Cruises, said at the time.
The decision to send her to the South African cruise market reflects the country’s growing cruise potential, and also the greater dynamism of the TUI fleet as it adds more ships.
The new Mein Schiff 1 joined the fleet last year and replaced the former Mein Schiff 1 which underwent a major refurb and was re-launched as Marella Explorer.
The new Mein Schiff 2 was launched this year, and the Mein Schiff 2 it replaced became Mein Schiff Herz.
Fares for Mein Schiff Herz 2-week Cape Town cruises start at 3000 euros per person, but that includes roundtrip flights from Germany to South Afirca. It isn’t yet clear whether the cruises can be bought separately within SA itself, or what the prices might be.
Categories: SA Cruise News
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