TUI Cruises and VISET Malta plc today signed a formal agreement confirming that in the 2011 season Valletta, Malta is to be Mein Schiff's Mediterranean port of departure.TUI Cruises and VISET Malta plc today signed a formal agreement confirming that in the 2011 season Valletta, Malta is to be Mein Schiff's Mediterranean port of departure.

From May to November 2011 the seven-day cruises will start and finish in Valletta. On its "butterfly cruise schedule" the "Mein Schiff" will call at the ports of Piraeus (Athens), Kusadasi in Turkey, Mykonos, Catania on Sicily, as well as Civitavecchia (Rome), Livorno, Monte Carlo and Ajaccio in Corsica.

"Having Valletta as baseport gives us the opportunity of arranging a most interesting schedule," said Richard J. Vogel, Chief Executive of TUI Cruises, explaining the choice of the base port. TUI Cruises is the only German cruise company to offer two different routes from Malta, one in the eastern Mediterranean and one in the western. "We are extremely satisfied with this choice. All the local stakeholders pulled together and so made it easy for us to decide on Valletta," added the CEO.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism of the island of Malta, Dr Mario de Marco, commented: "TUI Cruises' choice in favour of Valletta as the home port for the ‘Mein Schiff' is gratifying but at the same time represents a commitment for us. Nevertheless I have no doubt that the private and public sector will work in unison towards fulfilling this. We will continue with our endeavours to further expand Valetta and consequently Malta as a competitive cruise ship destination and a convenient base for home porting, given its strategic location."

VISET Malta plc, the private cruise port operator of the Valletta harbour, is delighted at TUI's decision. Dr. Anton Micallef, Chairman at VISET, said that VISET is committed to delivering the highest standards of service in order to ensure that TUI's decision is a success for all partners in the industry.

TUI Cruises is a joint venture of TUI AG and the global cruise company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The company, formed in April 2008 and based in Hamburg, has been offering holidays at sea in the German-speaking market since May 2009. The "Mein Schiff" is the first ship of the fleet and focuses from bow to stern on feel-good aspects and relaxation. The concept is aimed above all at couples and families who value room to move, generous surroundings, high quality and individual service. The many restaurants, the 1,700 square metre spa area, the personal Nespresso coffee machine in each cabin, spacious balconies and relaxation isles on the deck ensure that holidaying with TUI Cruises on "Mein Schiff" has a great effect on body and soul.