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Mein Schiff 7 Delivered as First Methanol-Ready Cruise Ship

Mein Schiff 7
Mein Schiff 7 departing for sea trials in May 2024 (Meyer Turku)

Published Jun 11, 2024 2:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

The first cruise ship designed for operations on methanol and eventually green methanol was delivered on June 10 to Germany’s TUI Cruises. Named Mein Schiff 7 she also marks the first new ship since 2019 for the cruise line and the seventh ship in the Mein Schiff fleet to be built in Finland at what is today the Meyer Turku yard.

As the company explains it, for the commissioning of the Mein Schiff 7, all the currently possible technical equipment, such as tanks and pipe systems for methanol or green methanol propulsion, have been installed. However, a technical component for the methanol drive of four-stroke engines is not yet available and is not expected to be delivered until sometime in 2025. The cruise line currently plans for the Mein Schiff 7 to be equipped and commissioned in 2026 so that it can be one of the first cruise ships to run on methanol.

Initially, the 115,000 gt cruise ship will be operated exclusively with low-emission marine diesel (sulfur content max. 0.1%). The line notes it is the first ship in their fleet to exclusively use this low-emission fuel and its environmental impact will be further enhanced with catalytic converters that will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 75 percent. The ship is also equipped to use shore power connections.

"It is a special moment for us to receive this ship," said Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises. “Ten years ago, we picked up our first Blu Motion class ship here in Turku. The Mein Schiff 3 was the first new build for TUI Cruises and by 2019 we had built a total of six ships.”

The Mein Schiff concept was launched as a partnership between German tour company TUI (Touristik Union International) and Royal Caribbean Group in 2009. It is marketed exclusively to German-speaking tourists. The brand was launched with cruise ships from Celebrity Cruises and started its newbuild program in 2011 with the Blu Motion concept, 97,000 gt cruise ships. They built four of the ships with STX Finland (later Meyer Turku) and then three enlarged ships, the last on order is Mein Schiff 7.

The company highlights several design changes to the ship versus her earlier sisters. This includes new stateroom categories including single occupancy staterooms. They are also introducing new specialty restaurants and other amenities for the passengers. Double occupancy is 2,896 passengers with approximately 1,000 crew. Registered in Malta, Mein Shiff 7 is 1.036 feet in length (315 meters).

The new ship is scheduled to enter service tomorrow, June 12, with a 2-night preview cruise, which is exactly two years to the day since construction began with the first steel cut. It will be cruising in Northern Europe and Scandinavia before moving to the Mediterranean for the winter months.

TUI looks to learn about methanol operations with Mein Schiff 7 but notes that a conversion is also an option for the future of its existing fleet. The company is also exploring other options as it is due to launch in 2025 its next new cruise ship Mein Schiff Relax (approximately 161,000 gt). Being built at Fincantieri in Italy the next ship will be LNG-fueled and the first of two on order for the cruise line.

Several other cruise lines have indicated interest in following the broader shipping industry into methanol. Meyer Group is also working with Disney Cruise Line which is completing the Global Dream cruise ship started at MV Werften for Genting Hong Kong. While Disney has not released details, they said the ship would be converted to methanol. Celebrity Cruises is also building a new ship in France and Wartsila is converting the engine to be tri-fuel including able to handle methanol. Norwegian Cruise Line working with Fincantieri also announced that the fifth and sixth ships of its Prima class would be designed for methanol, while the cruise line is also working with MAN to explore methanol conversions for its existing cruise ships.