Our German cousins asked us to cruise with them to Norway. We let them do all the planning and they chose Mein Schiff 2 sailing out of Kiel. We arrived 4 days early and stayed at the Nordic Astor hotel in Kiel. It's a nice clean hotel with a great buffet breakfast on the top floor with a wonderful view of Kiel.
Two days prior to our cruise, my wife who speaks fluent German called TUI Cruises to inquire about the Norway harbor pilots strike, and she called again the morning of our cruise. TUI told her not to be concerned because they would helicopter harbor pilots to our ship and we would definitely be visiting Norway.
There is only German spoken or written on the ship and so all announcements are made in German. The first night the captain tells us that when we wake up in the morning, if we see land we will be in Norway..we do see land probably 5 miles away and about 8am the captain says NO Norway, we are going to Scotland.
I recommend none Germans to stay away from TUI Cruises. They only want Germans, they confiscated our passports and told us we could have them back once we were back to Kiel. We were questioned twice about why we were on a German cruise ship.
The ship itself is wonderful and you can still see some of the old Celebrity Mercury touches. Since English is the language of the crew, we had no problems speaking with crew members, in fact they started seeking us out, some said how nice to talk English with friendly folks. Many commented on how stern and unfriendly the Germans could be. The food was outstanding, probably some of the best we've had. One interesting tidbit, I couldn't read the German menu, but since English is the language of the crew, their menu order forms were printed in English, so they would give me a copy and then I knew what to order. There was no charge for drinks, beer, or wine. In fact beer and wine taps were available for passengers use.
I am sorry that TUI Cruises doesn't want none Germans on their ship, I'm even more sorry that RCL who has a 50% interest in TUI condones this.
Our ports on this cruise were Orkney Island, ship was at dock and Orkney Island is simply beautiful. Invergordon at which the ship was docked was starting point for a tour to Loch Ness, no we didn't see Nessy