Have you heard about TUI Cruises? If you live outside of Germany you probably have not and that’s understandable. The company is designed to serve the German cruise market and doesn’t advertise herself to the rest of the world.
The company first came to our attention at the end of 2015 when they organised the first Rainbow Cruise, a themed cruise for the (German) LGBT community. Last year TUI Cruises again caught our attention when they christened their fifth ship, Mein Schiff 5.
Always interested in exploring new cruisetotravel options we were delighted to be invited by TUI Cruises to visit Mein Schiff 4 and discover what sets the cruiseline apart from the rest.
TUI Cruises was established in 2008 as a joint venture between the TUI Group and Royal Caribbean Ltd. The company completely refurbished two ships from Celebrity Cruises and began offering all-inclusive upscale cruises for the German-speaking market under the name Mein Schiff in 2009.
“Mens sana in corpore sano”
Onboard the Mein Schiff fleet Well-being, or as the Germans call it “Wohlfühlen“, is key. Designed as a floating holiday resort, the ships are geared towards guests whose focus is on relaxation, space, freedom, quality, top-class cuisine and personal service.
There is – of course – no better way to get acquainted with the Mein Schiff Well-being concept than with a glass of champagne or – since we are on board a German cruise ship – “Sekt” in the Himmel & Meer Lounge.
To help achieve a healthy mind in a healthy body Mein Schiff offers guests complimentary use of the Spa & Meer well-being zone, a generous indoor Spa and Fitness area. Here guests can work out or relax in the Finnish saunas while enjoying panoramic views over the ocean.
Furthermore Mein Schiff 4 offers guests two swimming pools, a jogging track and an outdoor sports arena complete with large LED-screen. With a length of 25 meters (82ft) – that’s half an Olympic pool – the outdoor pool is the largest swimming pool we have ever seen onboard a cruise ship.
To complete the active cruise experience Mein Schiff offers a wide array of sportive land excursions ranging from biking , stand-up paddling, climbing and diving to individual adventure trips.
Walking around Mein Schiff 4 we found the public areas very attractive. All designed with a Nordic design flair, they feature bright pastel colours and wood furnishings creating a feeling of space and relaxation.
You cannot have a healthy body without a healthy mind, so to make sure guests are relaxed intellectually TUI Cruises offers them something different than the standard entertainment options. Part from the regular theatre Mein Schiff 4 features the “Klanghaus“, an intimate philharmonic hall with near perfect acoustics, making the venue ideal for classical concerts, jazz sessions or even surround sound cinema.
TUI Cruises was the first German cruise line to offer Premium All-Inclusive packages onboard its well-being ships. This means almost all drinks and meals are included in the travel package and guests do not need to worry about further onboard expenses. With 13 bars and lounges onboard the vessel this comes in very handy!
Centrally located – and general meeting point – is the TUI Bar on Deck 4. The most spectacular bar however can be found on Deck 5 at the back of the ship. The Diamant Bar, with its mirror bar counter and piano shaped champagne display, is the perfect place to meet for pre-dinner drinks and overlooks the spacious glass area of the Great Freedom (Grosse Freiheit) and the Coffee Lounge (Café Lounge).
As part of the feeling healthy concept Mein Schiff also offers meals in accordance to their “Ganz Schön Gesund“-principle. Roughly translated into “pretty healthy” it means that all meals in the restaurants are prepared using high-quality oils, fresh herbs and natural flavours to make sure that guests can easily digest the food.
Onboard Mein Schiff 4 there are 11 different restaurants and bistros. Atlantik, the main dining room is divided over two floors. On Deck 3 Atlantik Mediterranean serves – as the name suggests – Mediterranean dishes such as homemade pasta, meat and fish dishes. Atlantik Klassik on Deck 4 serves everything starting with a breakfast buffet in the morning, lunch and 5-course meals in the evening.
The Anckelmannsplatz buffet restaurant features “Backstube” – a station with a variety of freshly baked breads, rolls and cakes, a wok-station and a dedicated kids buffet.
Mein Schiff 4 also features three specialty restaurants that charge a small fee. These include Richards – Fine Food which offers 6-course à la carte meals with wine pairings, the Surf & Turf Steakhouse Restaurant and Asian restaurant Hanami.
The accommodations onboard Mein Schiff 4 have been specially designed to offer guests a relaxing stay. The ship offers a total of 1,253 cabins – 80 percent (957 cabins) of which are balcony staterooms. We visited an Inside, Oceanview and Balcony stateroom. All the cabins feature a bright and fresh modern design with hints of blue and offer all the modern amenities one would expect plus bathrobes and a Nespresso machine.
We were pleasantly suprised by the size of the Interior Stateroom. Measuring 18m² this is one of the largest interior cabins we have seen onboard cruise ships and it is a good example of what Mein Schiff means with providing space to achieve a feeling of well-being. One other thing we did notice was the ashtray on the balcony table. Appearantly smoking is still very much permitted onboard German cruise ships – at least on the balcony, something which probably illustrates the freedom aspect of feeling-well.
Our thoughts on Meinn Schiff
Our visit to Mein Schiff 4 has been a wonderful discovery of a cruise line that unfortunately is unknown to most of the cruise fans. The ship offers a bright, modern resort-style ambiance making it a welcome alternative from other cruise lines. An alternative we definitely appreciate and like.
The well-being or feeling-good concept that Mein Schiff offers is something we find very attractive in modern life. Even though Mein Schiff so far has only reached out to the German speaking market, we feel that with some minor onboard adjustments – English signage and menus – it would certainly appeal to an international cruise audience. The only question is do they want to. We definitely believe they should!
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