On Feb. 25, approximately nine months after the keel laying of TUI Cruises’ first new building Mein Schiff 3, TUI Cruises and STX Finland celebrated the keel laying of Mein Schiff 4 in the Turku shipyard.

Following the old shipbuilding tradition, the lucky coins were placed under the keel block of the ship. In the lucky coin ceremony, held on the bottom of the drydock, the shipowner was represented by Richard J. Vogel, CEO of TUI Cruises, CFO Frank Kuhlmann, Chief Engineer of Mein Schiff 3 Kostas Kallinikos and the designated Captain of Mein Schiff 3 Kjell Holm. The shipyard’s representatives were deputy CEO of STX Finland Jari Anttila, COO Tapani Pulli, Project Director Toivo Ilvonen and Project Manager of Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schiff 4 Sisko Hellgren. Classification Society Det Norske Veritas was represented by Principal Surveyor Pekka Toija. Invited guests and members of the press witnessed this ceremony where the sponsors wished Mein Schiff 4 the best of luck on her voyages.

“We are very pleased to see the first block of Mein Schiff 4 to be laid down exactly as planned. The building periods of Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schiff 4 are record breaking tight and we are proud to be able to meet all the expectations. These ships represent the leading edge of development in environmentally friendly features”, says Jari Anttila, deputy CEO of STX Finland Oy.

"With today's keel laying of Mein Schiff 4, we are proceeding in our expansion of our well-being fleet. From 12 March 2014, the first journeys on Mein Schiff 4 can be booked. Then, with four ships and a total capacity of approximately 9,000 beds, we are in an even better position to satisfy the wishes of our guests, says Richard J. Vogel, CEO of TUI Cruises.

The keel laying ceremony marks the completion of a quarter of the work required to build a cruise ship. Out of the total number of 1,400 workers at the shipyard some 800 were employed to work on the steel blocks for Mein Schiff 4, processing about 21,000 tons of steel. During the keel laying ceremony, the first fully assembled part of the ship - measuring approx. 19 metres in length, approx. 19 metres in width and weighing around 390 tonnes - was laid on the bottom of the shipyard’s dry dock. Like her sistership, Mein Schiff 4 is being built using separate blocks that are welded together in the yard’s building dock. Launching of the ship will take place in September 2014 and the delivery of the ship is scheduled for spring 2015. At the moment, the percentage of completion of Mein Schiff 3 stands at almost 90%, while Mein Schiff 4 is almost 30% completed.

With Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schiff 4, using highly innovative technology to support environmentally-friendly ship operation, TUI Cruises will be setting benchmarks within the industry. Not only will each vessel consume around 30 percent less energy compared to cruise ships of similar sizes, but, by using a combined exhaust gas treatment system to reduce emissions, it will also fully exploit what is currently technically feasible.

The two new well-being ships will have an overall length of approximately 294 metres, a breadth of about 36 metres and an approximate gross tonnage of 99,500. 1,253 cabins with 2,506 lower beds will be spread over 15 decks.