TUI Cruises is set to launch service in spring 2009 with the Celebrity Cruises' Galaxy which will be transferred to the German brand and renamed, in the joint venture between TUI and Royal Caribbean Cruises .
The 1996-built Galaxy will undergo a 50 million euro rebuild during a two-month drydock, according to TUI, during which more balconies will be added to the outside staterooms.
TUI Cruises' President Richard Vogel said that the 78,000-ton, 1,960-passenger ship will be four-star plus and target the German premium market at "affordable prices," according to a press statement. The refurbishment and redesign have been awarded to CM Design of Hamburg.
The German premium-level cruise market has a 3.1 million passenger potential, according to TUI. In 2009, the Galaxy will start service, sailing alternating itineraries in the Baltic and to Norway, before moving to the Mediterranean from September to November, and then to the Caribbean until March 2010. TUI Cruises will be headquartered in Hamburg. Plans call for two newbuildings to be introduced in 2011 and 2012.