Hamburg/San Juan, 16 March 2009. The handover went off without a hitch. Following the acquisition in Puerto Rico of the MS Galaxy, which up to now had been operated by the American shipping company Celebrity Cruises, TUI Cruises is now the official owner of its first ship. Until yesterday the MS Galaxy had been sailing for Celebrity Cruises in the Caribbean, and already tomorrow it will be leaving San Juan harbour under a new flag. Conversion work will be started during the crossing to Bremerhaven. After the arrival of the MS Galaxy on 27 March the conversion to “Mein Schiff“ (My Ship) will be completed within just 38 days.

Less than eleven months have passed from the day TUI Cruises was formed until today’s handover of the ship. “This is a historic day for us,“ said Richard J. Vogel, CEO of TUI Cruises.

The MS Galaxy, which will sail the seas officially under the name of “Mein Schiff“ from 15 May, was built at the Meyer shipyard in Germany in 1996 and boasts ample and generous areas which are perfectly suited to the new concept of TUI Cruises. The conversion work is diverse and will transform “Mein Schiff“ into a splendid vessel, tailor-made for German passengers. The more extensive conversion work on board includes the addition of extra balconies, new restaurants and modern spa facilities covering 1,700 square metres.

On 15 May TUI Cruises will be celebrating the christening of “Mein Schiff“ at the Hamburg Fish Market. Expected on shore at the event are almost 200,000 people, who will celebrate the inauguration of “Mein Schiff“ together with TUI Cruises before the ship sets sail on a short cruise from Hamburg in the evening to return the next morning.