TUI Poised to Be Biggest Premium European Cruise Line

TUI Cruises' Mein Schiff 6
Mein Schiff 6

The runaway growth from TUI Cruises targeting German cruise passengers will have an unintended effect for the cruise line: it will become the biggest operator in Europe offering a premium level product experience in the near future.

Come 2019, the brand will have a fleet of six modern large Mein Schiff ships, plus the existing Mein Schiff 2, for a total of seven vessels and over 17,500 berths, with a projected capacity of over 650,000 guests.

This will move them past P&O UK, which has been the largest premium European brand for some time, which has a projected 2019 capacity of around 550,000 cruise passengers with seven ships and 17,311 berths.

Other premium lines in Europe include Cunard Line, Fred. Olsen and Saga Cruises.

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TUI Cruises Orders New Ships from Fincantieri

Mein Schiff 3

TUI Cruises has ordered two new cruise ships from Fincantieri.

The new class of vessel will be powered by LNG and will be built at the Monfalcone shipyard. The ships will be delivered in 2024 and in 2026, respectively.

It marks the third ship order in the last two weeks and pushes the order book to 110 new ships.

Fincantieri said the ships would be around 161,000 tons, making them the largest in TUI’s fleet, which is getting new 110,000-ton ships in 2019 and 2023 as well.

“With the new class of ships, we are responding to the wishes of our guests and creating offerings that will also inspire new cruise passengers. As with the other ships in the fleet, the passenger/space ratio remains generous,” stated Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises. “The decision to run the two additional low-emission new builds is a logical continuation of our environmental strategy.

“With the new class of ship, we are responding to the wishes of our guests and creating offerings that will also inspire new cruise passengers to spend a holiday on board with us. As with the other ships in the fleet, the passenger/space ratio remains generous,” she continued.

TUI Group recently said its cruise brands were benefiting from a “shortage of supply” in a recent investor presentation.

While commenting the announcement, Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: “These will be the largest ships ever built in Italy: we proved once more we can provide the market with the best mix of reliability and innovation, pillars of Made in Italy and distinguishing features of Fincantieri in the global shipbuilding landscape.  The project we developed and offered to the client allowed us to achieve this outstanding commercial record, which is not just about adding a new brand to our client portfolio, but also a confirmation of the absolutely cutting-edge technological content of our products.  All of these factors consolidate our leadership in the field and further extend the workload horizon of our shipyards, which has no comparables in any other industrial sector.”

Untapped German demand is still very high, survey finds

AidaPrima in Hamburg. Photo credit James Jones

Many Germans want to go on a cruise holiday even though relatively few have actually been on an ocean trip so far, according to a new survey by GfK.

Plenty of pent-up demand in Germany for Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines, researchers say
Photo: RCL/Michel Verdure
Cruises are not only one of the fastest-growing holiday segments in Germany but also have the greatest potential, a recent study by market researchers GfK found. Only 7% of German tourists have taken a vacation on a ship over the past five years. Yet as many as one in four finds this way of travelling personally very attractive.

This gap between high attractiveness and an actual lack of travel experience is bigger than with any other kind of holiday, according to GfK. This means that more than two-thirds of those who find cruises very attractive were not yet on a cruise ship.

Almost 2.4 million ocean cruises were undertaken by Germans in 2016. It was the first sea voyage for a good third of the passengers while 63% had booked a cruise again. Both these factors support continued growth for this holiday segment, as the level of attractiveness for cruises more than doubles once tourists have actually been on a cruise holiday.

“Cruise operators are managing to win a high proportion of first-time customers,” commented Dörte Nordbeck, Head of Travel & Logistics Germany at GfK. “It is very likely that many of them would like to repeat this special experience.”

Cruises are particularly attractive to those who have already been on an ocean cruise (60%) or a river cruise (41%).

In general, the attractiveness of cruises increases with age. Although every third woman between the ages of 25 and 34 is enthusiastic about a holiday at sea, only 16% of young men are. Only with increasing age do the holiday preferences in favour of a cruise between women and men become more and more similar.

In contrast, river cruises are only an ‘in-trend’ for 24% of Germans and just 18% describe this form of holiday as “very attractive”. Yet even this figure is three times higher than the 6% of Germans who have holidayed on a boat in the past five years.

River cruises are considerably less attractive for younger people, with only 10% of men and 18% of women aged 25-34 describing it as “very attractive”. Respondents aged 65 and over, however, favor river cruises just as much as ocean trips.