"After being just four years in the business and after successfully putting two ships on the market, we are proud to proceed with building our first new ship ..." TUI Cruises CEO Richard Vogel said at the ceremony. "Today we are writing a new chapter for TUI Cruises."
Mein Schiff 3 was ordered in September 2011, and is to start cruising in May 2014. Construction on the latest new-build is slated to begin in summer 2013, and the ship is scheduled for delivery in spring 2015.
The line's two new ships will share the same design. Both will be 99,300 tons and 968 feet in length (295 meters) with a beam of 118 feet (36 meters). Under current plans the ships will have 1,250 staterooms, carry 2,500 passengers and a crew of 1,000 on 15 decks. Of the 1,250 cabins, 82 percent will have balconies, and the line is adding a new suite category to the ships (pictured at left).
TUI Cruises, a joint venture between Royal Caribbean International and TUI Travel -- which owns U.K.-based Thomson Cruises and German subsidiary TUI AG -- was formed in 2007, when RCI subsidiary Celebrity Cruises handed over Celebrity Galaxy. The line, tailored specifically for the German cruising market, named the ship Mein Schiff and expanded to two ships in 2011 with Mein Schiff 2, formerly Celebrity Mercury.
Cruises on Mein Schiff 3 can be booked from March 2013.
-- Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor