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Fincantieri Floats Environmentally-Advanced Cruise Ship for TUI Cruises

cruise ship float out
Mein Schiff Relax was towed from the building dock for fitting out before her late 2024 introduction (TUI)

Published Nov 28, 2023 5:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

Fincantieri marked another milestone in its cruise ship construction with the float out of the first ship being built for Germany’s Mein Schiff operated by TUI. After many years of building cruise ships in Finland, Mein Schiff which is a joint venture between TUI and Royal Caribbean Group, placed the order for the two new ships with Fincantieri, the first time either company has built a large cruise ship in Italy.

The new ship which is named Mein Schiff Relax will be approximately 160,000 gross tons when completed and one of the most advanced technologically with additional consideration for its environmental impact. The new ship is dual-fuel designed to run on LNG or marine gas oil (MGO), and only the second cruise ship Fincantieri has built for LNG. With the ship’s introduction in late 2024, TUI will join the growing list of cruise ship operators including Carnival’s AIDA, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa, and P&O Cruises, as well as Disney Cruise Line, Ponant, Havila, and Silversea Cruises, which are already operating LNG fueled cruise ships. Both Royal Caribbean International and Carnival’s Princess Cruises will also be introducing LNG-fueled ships in 2024.

 

The new ship will be the largest in the cruise line's fleet (TUI)

 

Fincantieri highlights that the order for the two cruise ships for TUI’s InTUItion class is based on a prototype project developed by the shipbuilder that consolidates modernity with sustainability. Energy efficiency was at the center of the project, with the vessels being built to also use the next generation of fuels including bio- or e-LNG, when it becomes available.

Other features incorporated into the design include heat recovery from the diesel generators as well as catalytic converters. The ship is also equipped to use shore power when it is in port. TUI highlights that its cruise ships spend as much as 40 percent of their time in port and the new ship will be able to operate emission-free while docked. The ship will also be equipped with an even more efficient innovative waste treatment system capable of transforming organic substances into charcoal through a thermal process.

Construction of the ship began in June 2022 with the first steel cut and she is being assembled at the company’s yard in Monfalcone, Italy. The vessel was given the traditional blessing and christening by a Madrina before the hull was floated and towed from the building dock on Monday, November 27. 

 

Cruise ship being moved from the dry dock to the fitting out berth on November 27 (TUI)

 

In addition to being Mein Schiff’s first LNG-fueled cruise ship, she will also be the largest at 160,000 gross tons. She will accommodate 3,984 passengers and include a range of new amenities for the cruise line which is focused on the German-speaking market. TUI said the name was chosen to highlight the relaxation and well-being atmosphere and features of the ship which will include a large culinary variety as well as accommodations for solo travelers. The ship will also have a dedicated area for children and families. 

TUI is moving aggressively forward with its efforts to reduce emissions. In addition to shore power, it has begun testing biofuel on its existing fleet. The company is also building the final ship in a prior class at Meyer Turku which will be introduced in mid-2024 as the seventh cruise ship of the line. While using a traditional propulsion plant they are also outfitting the vessel to be methanol-ready when it is launched. 

Mein Schiff Relax will be the eighth cruise ship for the line and will enter service in late 2024. In 2025 she is scheduled to be cruising in the Western Mediterranean. She is to be followed by a sister ship from Fincantieri in 2026.