It’s been a productive week for German cruise operator TUI Cruises, which operates the well-known Mein Schiff fleet of ships.
Just one week after the company hit start for Mein Schiff 7, the steel was cut for the first of two 160,000 gross ton LNG-powered cruise ships.
The newbuilds will be completed by 2024 and 2026, by which time they will be the two biggest cruise ships in TUI’s fleet. TUI Cruises is a joint venture between TUI Group and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The company was founded in April 2008 and is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany.
Next-Generation Environmentally Friendly Cruise Ship
TUI Cruises has entered a new stage in the company’s history by cutting the first steel for the first of two LNG-powered cruise ships at the Centro Servizi Navali in San Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy.
Both 160,000 gross tons cruise ships will be built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, based on a prototype project developed by the shipyard.
The new concept will elevate the cruise line to compete with the world’s most modern and environmentally friendly cruise fleets.
While the vessels will run on liquefied natural gas at first, in the future, the ships will be able to run their engines on bio- or E-LNG, a biofuel made by processing organic waste flows.
This would open the door for cruise ships to use their waste flows onboard to produce biofuel to power the ship.
Luigi Matarazzo, General Manager of Fincantieri’s Merchant Ships Division: “With the project of this new class of ships for TUI Cruises, Fincantieri is contributing to the ecological transformation of the cruise industry. We are studying the possibility of using biofuels, which will give further impetus to the decarbonization of the sector.”
The first of two newbuilds will enter service in 2024, followed by the second ship in 2026. With the addition of Mein Schiff 7, which also entered the construction phase this week, the two new vessels will bring the fleet size to nine cruise ships.
Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises: “We are looking forward to further developing the Mein Schiff concept together with Fincantieri. We are convinced that by offering even more variety, we will inspire even more new cruise guests to vacation with us on board in the future. At the same time, the passenger-space ratio will remain as generous as ever, as will the proportion of balcony cabins.”
Both Mein Schiff 8 and Mein Schiff 9 are reported to have space for approximately 4,000 guests and 1,100 crew members.
TUI Sets Ambitious Goals
While most of the cruise industry has set the goals for emission-free sailing for 2050, TUI is setting the goal 20 years earlier.
By 2030, the cruise company intends to be fully climate neutral. As the cruise line that already features some of the most environmentally friendly cruise ships, the company intends to build further on that reputation.
“The investment in LNG-powered ships is an important milestone on the way to emission-free and climate-neutral cruising. LNG serves as a bridging technology here. In perspective, we will use BIO LNG, which is produced either from biogenic sources or synthetically from renewable energy,” explains Wybcke Meier.
By introducing shore power for its ships, as well as a gasification system that turns all carbon-based waste – including food, sewage, paper, wood, plastics, and oils – into a flammable gas, bio-oil, and charcoal, the company hopes to surpass the goals set out by the cruise industry.
TUI also started construction this week on the 111,100 gross tons Mein Schiff 7, which will be entering service in 2024. This ship will be able to operate on green methanol. Mein Schiff 7 is a sistership to Mein Schiff 1 and 2.