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Tui Cruises/ Mein Schiff - The hidden gem of cruising. Have you ever come across a ship with spectacular calligraphy on a dark blue hull, and asked yourself the question; What is that? -Well, that is what this review is all about. My wife really wanted to visit the Gulf States. So being a cruisoholic I had to find us a cruise in the region. Normally one can find great deals on cheaper cruise lines, but this time Tui was able to compete, so I didn't want to miss the opportunity to satisfy my own curiosity. As it turned out I got thoroughly rewarded. This cruise line has a feel-good concept where a lot of things are included as supposed to the case of most other cruise lines. This includes most drinks, ice-creams and cakes and the fabulous spa with not less than four saunas. One of the saunas is the largest one at sea. Little things around you gives you the feeling that you are cruising a bit up market from the largest cruise lines, like bath robes, slippers, coffee machines and mineral rocks for your water in your cabin. There is no goofy billing- the advertised price is what you pay, no hidden charges, service fees or baksheesh like on American or Italian cruise lines. You can even bring your children along for free. We normally enjoy the ships with relaxed service and atmosphere the best, and I must say that Mein Schiff goes beyond everything in this aspect. Even if the crew usually is doing very well on other cruise lines, trying cruises was like experiencing a new dimension of cruising that was very pleasant indeed. Embarkation The embarkation process in Port Rashid (Dubai) was the best ever. There just was noone else there to check in just after lunch time. Everything got taken care of easily and without any fuss. They didn't even ask for a credit card. After that we just walked on-board, just the way it should be. The ship Mein Schiff 2 is the old (Celebrity) Mercury, renovated 2011. It gives the impression of a fresh and modern ship, but it lacks many of the state of the art features that you meet on new ships. Tui Cruises vessels are (re-) built with the company's wellness accept in mind, and it really works. The cabins, the kids club and the plentiful bars are like on most cruise ships. The restaurants make the vessel stand out of the crowd, in diversity, quality and atmosphere. The same goes for the sensational spa area where we spent every afternoon. Here I really need to put out a major warning that relates to the possibility of culture shocks. The first time we went into the spa area we entered through the gent and ladies dressing rooms to meet up on the other side. So far nothing weird. We were dressed in our bathing suits as usual. Suddenly it appears to us that we were the only people warning anything at all. All the rest of the guests were totally naked. Of course we had to skip the swim suits, even if it was a weird. It took a little while to get used to, even for us Scandinavians. The kids club Our experience over the years when it comes the cruising with kids is that facilities and programs are less important than the number of children on board at the given time. It is therefore difficult to compare different ships I in this aspect. Our cruise had very few kids, so our kids were attended by their own crew member who entertained them in English. I don't know how it would have worked out if there would have been many more kids on board, but there was always plenty children's staff, and they seemed to care very well for the needs of every child. In addition to the kids club there are video games in the public areas that got the kids totally hooked. Restaurants Antlantik is the main restaurant, it has the same fuss-free and pleasant service as any other establishment on board. If you don't want a five-course-dinner then you can pick the bits and pieces that you prefer, but even so it will take time. It you have limited time it is not the best option, but a great place if you want to make your dinner a whole night event with great food and drinks. Ankelmannsplatz is the buffet-restaurant, and a great one. It has special zones like healthy choice, kids' buffet, oriental wok station and an ice cream bar. Cliff 24-is a 24h grill located where the buffet-restaurant meets the pool side. GOSCH Sylt is a wonderful sea food restaurant that became a favourite. La vela -the bistro is another favourite with pasta dishes, salads and pizzas. Richard's -exquisite cuisine, Surf & turf -steak house and Blaue Welt Bar – sushi are not included in the cruise fare. We were so happy with the rest that we didn't bother to visit them. Ports Cruisers have different priorities with their cruising. You have the foodies, those who insist on the greatest ships, the gamblers and so on. If you're all in for the ports the Gulf may not be the best place to go. The different cruise companies typically do the same routes. Khor Fakkan We went walking around Khor Fakkan, but couldn't find much of interest. There is a bazaar, a beach and a fish market. Muscat The capital of Oman is an interesting place to discouver, but it's spooky, because it's empty. There are very few people around. Abu Dhabi This place has so much to offer, so you have to choose if you're only here for a day. Since we live in a harsh climate we choose to go to the beach. It's clean safe and nice. The shuttle bus takes you down town, and the beach is only a few blocks away. Entertainment This is the weak side of Mein Schiff. Most cruise lines we've cruised with are offering better shows and activities. The musical entertainment tends to aim at retired Germans. If you are not very familiar with German culture then you might as well skip the comedy shows all together. My wife said;I can understand the words that they say, but I don't get the point. It certainly isn't funny. Without the language you will obviously miss out on the edutainment etc. if you are into that sort of things. One person who managed to entertain the passengers very well was the captain. He held an Q & A session that quickly turned into an incredibly advanced technical seminar. The audience was remarkably knowledgeable, and critical when it came to technical and environmental issues. The captain also spent a lot of time with the passengers in the public areas. I actually managed to get lunch together with him all by myself in the buffet-restaurant one day. This may sound incredible, but it's typical for the general impression that the crew really wanted to know how we as passengers were doing, and how we wanted things. The big issue- the German language This is of course what keeps most cruisers from even considering cruise lines specializing in attracting cruisers from a specific region. But let's look at the alternatives; Many cruisers detest the Italian cruise lines because of multiple language announcements. Others are put off the American cruise lines since their PA-systems disturb even more with their commercial adds. On mein schiff we enjoyed the most peaceful cruise ever. So what if you don't understand any German at all?- Even better I would say! Unless you are an incurable control freak you will have the time of your life. The German crew, a small minority of the crew all together, speak English very well. Most of the rest speak English but not German, or they speak English better any way. In no time we became celebrities on board speaking English. We felt so well taken care off, it was fantastic. Needless to say, I've booked my next Tui cruise on Mein Schiff 2 already.

Tui Cruises/ Mein Schiff: the Hidden Gem of Cruising

Mein Schiff Cruise Review by Gothencruiser

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Trip Details
Tui Cruises/ Mein Schiff - The hidden gem of cruising.

Have you ever come across a ship with spectacular calligraphy on a dark blue hull, and asked yourself the question; What is that? -Well, that is what this review is all about.

My wife really wanted to visit the Gulf States. So being a cruisoholic I had to find us a cruise in the region. Normally one can find great deals on cheaper cruise lines, but this time Tui was able to compete, so I didn't want to miss the opportunity to satisfy my own curiosity. As it turned out I got thoroughly rewarded.

This cruise line has a feel-good concept where a lot of things are included as supposed to the case of most other cruise lines. This includes most drinks, ice-creams and cakes and the fabulous spa with not less than four saunas. One of the saunas is the largest one at sea.

Little things around you gives you the feeling that you are cruising a bit up market from the largest cruise lines, like bath robes, slippers, coffee machines and mineral rocks for your water in your cabin. There is no goofy billing- the advertised price is what you pay, no hidden charges, service fees or baksheesh like on American or Italian cruise lines.

You can even bring your children along for free.

We normally enjoy the ships with relaxed service and atmosphere the best, and I must say that Mein Schiff goes beyond everything in this aspect. Even if the crew usually is doing very well on other cruise lines, trying cruises was like experiencing a new dimension of cruising that was very pleasant indeed.

Embarkation

The embarkation process in Port Rashid (Dubai) was the best ever. There just was noone else there to check in just after lunch time. Everything got taken care of easily and without any fuss. They didn't even ask for a credit card. After that we just walked on-board, just the way it should be.

The ship

Mein Schiff 2 is the old (Celebrity) Mercury, renovated 2011. It gives the impression of a fresh and modern ship, but it lacks many of the state of the art features that you meet on new ships.

Tui Cruises vessels are (re-) built with the company's wellness accept in mind, and it really works. The cabins, the kids club and the plentiful bars are like on most cruise ships. The restaurants make the vessel stand out of the crowd, in diversity, quality and atmosphere. The same goes for the sensational spa area where we spent every afternoon.

Here I really need to put out a major warning that relates to the possibility of culture shocks. The first time we went into the spa area we entered through the gent and ladies dressing rooms to meet up on the other side. So far nothing weird. We were dressed in our bathing suits as usual. Suddenly it appears to us that we were the only people warning anything at all. All the rest of the guests were totally naked. Of course we had to skip the swim suits, even if it was a weird. It took a little while to get used to, even for us Scandinavians.

The kids club

Our experience over the years when it comes the cruising with kids is that facilities and programs are less important than the number of children on board at the given time. It is therefore difficult to compare different ships I in this aspect. Our cruise had very few kids, so our kids were attended by their own crew member who entertained them in English. I don't know how it would have worked out if there would have been many more kids on board, but there was always plenty children's staff, and they seemed to care very well for the needs of every child.

In addition to the kids club there are video games in the public areas that got the kids totally hooked.

Restaurants

Antlantik is the main restaurant, it has the same fuss-free and pleasant service as any other establishment on board. If you don't want a five-course-dinner then you can pick the bits and pieces that you prefer, but even so it will take time. It you have limited time it is not the best option, but a great place if you want to make your dinner a whole night event with great food and drinks.

Ankelmannsplatz is the buffet-restaurant, and a great one. It has special zones like healthy choice, kids' buffet, oriental wok station and an ice cream bar.

Cliff 24-is a 24h grill located where the buffet-restaurant meets the pool side.

GOSCH Sylt is a wonderful sea food restaurant that became a favourite.

La vela -the bistro is another favourite with pasta dishes, salads and pizzas.

Richard's -exquisite cuisine, Surf & turf -steak house and Blaue Welt Bar – sushi are not included in the cruise fare. We were so happy with the rest that we didn't bother to visit them.

Ports

Cruisers have different priorities with their cruising. You have the foodies, those who insist on the greatest ships, the gamblers and so on. If you're all in for the ports the Gulf may not be the best place to go. The different cruise companies typically do the same routes.

Khor Fakkan

We went walking around Khor Fakkan, but couldn't find much of interest. There is a bazaar, a beach and a fish market.

Muscat

The capital of Oman is an interesting place to discouver, but it's spooky, because it's empty. There are very few people around.

Abu Dhabi

This place has so much to offer, so you have to choose if you're only here for a day. Since we live in a harsh climate we choose to go to the beach. It's clean safe and nice. The shuttle bus takes you down town, and the beach is only a few blocks away.

Entertainment

This is the weak side of Mein Schiff. Most cruise lines we've cruised with are offering better shows and activities. The musical entertainment tends to aim at retired Germans. If you are not very familiar with German culture then you might as well skip the comedy shows all together. My wife said;I can understand the words that they say, but I don't get the point. It certainly isn't funny. Without the language you will obviously miss out on the edutainment etc. if you are into that sort of things.

One person who managed to entertain the passengers very well was the captain. He held an Q & A session that quickly turned into an incredibly advanced technical seminar. The audience was remarkably knowledgeable, and critical when it came to technical and environmental issues. The captain also spent a lot of time with the passengers in the public areas. I actually managed to get lunch together with him all by myself in the buffet-restaurant one day. This may sound incredible, but it's typical for the general impression that the crew really wanted to know how we as passengers were doing, and how we wanted things.

The big issue- the German language

This is of course what keeps most cruisers from even considering cruise lines specializing in attracting cruisers from a specific region. But let's look at the alternatives; Many cruisers detest the Italian cruise lines because of multiple language announcements. Others are put off the American cruise lines since their PA-systems disturb even more with their commercial adds. On mein schiff we enjoyed the most peaceful cruise ever. So what if you don't understand any German at all?- Even better I would say! Unless you are an incurable control freak you will have the time of your life. The German crew, a small minority of the crew all together, speak English very well. Most of the rest speak English but not German, or they speak English better any way. In no time we became celebrities on board speaking English. We felt so well taken care off, it was fantastic.

Needless to say, I've booked my next Tui cruise on Mein Schiff 2 already.
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Our inside cabin was like most cabins but with a few extras like a coffee machine, slippers, bath robes, mineral rocks for the water pitcher. The size of the passenger instructions in German are amazing. If you are able to relax you can skip them and their 31-letter nouns (no joking !) and just act normally; join the mandatory emergency drill, no smoking or anything else that might cause a fire.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews