TUI Group, the parent company of TUI Cruises, has reported a strong start to the 2024 financial year, with significant improvements in revenue and earnings across its divisions, which include two cruise lines, Mein Schiff and Hapag Lloyd.

TUI’s focus on its Mein Schiff brand, a joint venture with Royal Caribbean Group, is paying off, highlighted by strong booking numbers, high occupancy rates, and the addition of new ships to its fleet.

TUI, one of the world’s biggest tourism companies, has released its first quarter 2024 results. Besides the 3.5 million guests that traveled with TUI – an increase of 6 percent year-on-year, revenue went up 15 percent to 4.3 billion euros.

TUI’s cruise division has shown remarkable performance in the first quarter of 2024, with a substantial increase in earnings. The earnings before interest and taxes for the cruise segment improved from 0.2 million euros in the same period in 2023, to 34.5 million euros in the first quarter of 2024.

This earnings performance is attributed to higher capacities on board the cruise ships in the cruise division, strong booking results, and significantly higher average rates, which rose by 17.0% to 204 euros after 175 euros in the previous year.

The positive momentum in bookings for the winter 2023/24 and summer 2024 seasons, with an 8% increase year-on-year, reflects the high interest in TUI’s cruise offerings.

TUI Cruises Ship (Photo Credit: Vytautas Kielaitis)

Sebastian Ebel, CEO of TUI: “We are on track, we are gaining customers and we are growing. Our transformation is accelerating, and the high willingness to travel among people ensures strong economic development across all areas of the Group.”

TUI Cruises consists of two cruise lines, Hapag Lloyd Cruises and Mein Schiff. The first brand operates two ultra-luxury cruise ships, Europa and Europa 2, and three expedition-style ships, Hanseatic Inspiration, Hanseatic Nature, and Hanseatic Spirit. However, it is the Mein Schiff brand where TUI Cruises shows the biggest growth.

The increased occupancy numbers, higher rates, and strong booking results are primarily down to Mein Schiff. The cruise line operates mainly in the German-speaking market but has seen a strong response from other European countries as well.

TUI Cruises is currently expanding its fleet with several new ships for its Mein Schiff brand. The upcoming launches include Mein Schiff 7, an identical sister to Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2, set to debut in 2024. 

Furthermore, TUI Cruises is making strides in sustainability with the introduction of Mein Schiff Relax in 2025, the first ship in the fleet with a name not a number, and its unnamed sister ship in 2026, both powered by LNG, or Liquified Natural Gas, marking a shift towards more environmentally friendly cruising options.

Mein Schiff Relax Render (Image Credit: TUI Cruises)

Mein Schiff Relax and her sister, constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, will be the largest in the fleet at 161,000 gross tons, each with a capacity for nearly 4,000 guests. 

In 2024 and beyond, TUI Cruises will continue to have a strong effect on the financial results of parent company TUI and its partner, the Royal Caribbean Group. 

The surge in new customers, strong interest in future bookings, and the expected introduction of three new ships within the next two years underscore the TUI Group’s broader achievements. Predictions indicate a 10% rise in revenue and a 25% boost in operating earnings. This positive trajectory underscores TUI’s strong position in the market and its promising path ahead.

TUI Cruises, in partnership with Royal Caribbean Group, is inching closer to capturing a larger share of the market currently dominated by Carnival Corporation’s AIDA Cruises. Despite AIDA holding nearly twice the market share compared to Mein Schiff, this gap is gradually narrowing. 

AIDA has been a strong contender in the German-speaking market, boasting a 5.8% market share in 2021.

TUI Cruises, formed in April 2008 as a joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises, has made significant strides. In 2021, TUI already had a 3.8% market share, a number that will be increasing with the additional ships coming in the next two years.

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