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Galaxy at Santorini before she became Mein Schiff 1

I’ve done a couple of posts recently about the rise and rise of the German cruise market. Sometime in 2014 it overtook the UK cruise market in total numbers of cruises sold, and it’s expected to rise still further. You can find those older posts here and here.

It’s not clear whether the increase in numbers of German cruise buyers has been propelled by the dramatic increase in capacity available to them, or whether the capacity increase is a response to the rise in demand. However, the increases in capacity go on. One of the leaders in the German market is TUI cruises, who currently have four ships – Mein Schiff 1, Mein Schiff 2, Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schiff 4. They already another two ships on order – Mein Schiffs 5 & 6 – and it’s just been announced that they have signed an agreement with Meyer Turku (that’s the Finnish yard that belong to Meyer Werft) for two more – Mein Schiffs 7 & 8, although they may not be called that when they’re delivered. That’s because they are replacements for Mein Schiffs 1 & 2. These two ships were originally Celebrity Cruises’ Galaxy and Mercury but went to TUI Cruises a few years ago, and are due to transfer to Thomson Cruises (a part of the TUI empire) “in the next few years”. The two newest builds are due to be finished in 2018 and 2019; I wonder if TUI will hang onto the original ships until then?

Going back to the original point, although the number of ships TUI will have won’t increase beyond 8, they will be exchanging two medium-capacity ships (capacity about 1900 passengers) for two larger ships. Mein Schiff 3 and onwards have a capacity of 2,500 passengers, and it’s possible that these last two may be even bigger – the later ships in a series (e.g. the Celebrity Solstice class) are more likely to be bigger than the earlier ones, not smaller. We shall see.

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