Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Mein Schiff 1
Ship: 414 out of 500
Accommodation: 165 out of 200
Food: 282 out of 400
Service: 309 out of 400
Entertainment: 71 out of 100
Cruise: 305 out of 400
Overall Score: 1546 out of 2000
Mein Schiff 1 Statistics
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: TUI Cruises
Former Names: Celebrity Galaxy, Galaxy
IMO Number: 9106297
Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)
Original Cost: $320 million
Entered Service: Dec 1996/May 2009
Length (ft/m): 865.8/263.9
Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2
Draft (ft/m): 25.2/7.7
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (31,500kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 10
Total Crew: 780
Passengers (lower beds): 1,948
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 39.8
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.0
Cabins (total): 974
Size Range (sq ft/m): 169.0-1,219.0/15.7-113.2
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 430
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 8
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 4
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/200
Onboard currency: Euros
Contemporary style for casual, family-friendly cruising
Overview. Mein Schiff 1 is for German-speaking families with children who want to cruise aboard a ship with a contemporary environment, good itineraries and food, and European-style service from a well-trained crew that delivers a product that’s fresh and surprisingly good. The product is worth more than the cruise fare charged when compared with several other large-ship cruise lines.
The Ship. Mein Schiff 1, originally built for Celebrity Cruises as Galaxy, was transferred in 2009 to newcomer TUI Cruises (part of TUI Travel - Europe’s largest tour operator) specifically for German-speaking passengers, in a joint venture with Royal Caribbean Cruises, parent of Royal Caribbean International. The ship underwent a major conversion at that time. Its name (‘My Ship’) was suggested by several entrants to a magazine competition; the winner, whose name was drawn from a hat, was Oliver Krimmel, a Stuttgart designer.
This all-inclusive mid-size ship has just about all you need for an enjoyable and rewarding cruise experience, and provides competition for AIDA Cruises, whose ships, by comparison, do not have a traditional dining room, and have few service staff. TUI Cruises has got the onboard product just about right for German-speaking passengers, with many more dining and eating choices and more class and style than AIDA’s ships, and with far better food and plenty of snappily dressed service personnel. With 10 bars, four restaurants, six bistros, and good facilities for families, Mein Schiff 1 has become the benchmark for a high-value, full-service cruise vacation in Germany.
The ship has good tender loading platforms. But, although there are more than 4.5 acres (1.8 hectares) of space on the open decks, it can appear to be a little small and cramped when the ship is full. Ten charming two-person cabanas can be rented on an upper, outside deck, with great ocean views, but insulated from the life that goes on around the ship.
Inside, a four-deck-high main foyer houses the reception desk and shore excursion station. There’s a small, dedicated cinema, which doubles as a conference and meeting center with all the latest audio-visual technology, including simultaneous translation and headsets for the hearing-impaired.
Relaxation is a key element of the product, and Mein Schiff 1 is equipped with individual hammocks in various locations, including on cabin balconies as well as in public areas. Additionally, ‘Meditation Islands’ are installed on deck: the ship’s rail is fitted with mini-balconies, equipped with special blinds. Here, passengers are able to enjoy a private space for relaxation.
Making it even more user-friendly for families is the all-inclusive pricing introduced in 2010, though this excludes the extra-cost restaurants Richards Feines Essen, Blaue Welt Sushi Bar, and the Surf ’n’ Turf Steakhouse and also excursions and spa treatments. The dress code throughout the ship is smart casual.
Accommodation. There are 10 price grades, depending on the size and location of your living space, but the accommodation is very comfortable throughout. Every cabin has its own Nespresso coffee machine, which takes pre-portioned packets of espresso coffee. The first two are included, but any additional packets cost €1 each. All accommodation grades are designated no-smoking.
Most suites with private balconies have floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors to balconies, and a few have outward opening doors. Suite-grade accommodation gets European duvets on the beds, instead of sheets and blankets. A balcony massage service is also available - it’s worth it. Suite occupants get special cards to open their doors, plus priority service throughout the ship and for embarkation and disembarkation, free cappuccino/espresso coffees served by a butler, welcome Champagne, flowers, video recorder, and picnic baskets as required. Suite occupants also get a private, 100-seat concierge lounge/bar and social venue (the ‘X’ Lounge) atop the ship, with great ocean views - a good place for reading a book during the day.
Penthouse Suites. These two suites, located amidships, are the largest. Each is 1,173 sq ft (108.9 sq m) and has its own butler’s pantry. There is an interconnecting door so that it can link to the suite next door to become a 1,515-sq-ft (141-sq-m) apartment.
Most of the Deck 10 suites and cabins are of generous proportions, are beautifully equipped, and have balconies with full floor-to-ceiling partitions and large flat-screen TV sets. The Sky Deck suites are also excellent, and most of them have huge balconies; unfortunately, the partitions are not quite of the floor-to-ceiling type, so you can hear your neighbors. Also included are wall clock, large floor-to-ceiling mirrors, marble-topped vanity/writing desk, excellent closet and drawer space, and dimmer-controlled ceiling lights.
Standard outside-view/interior cabins. All of these are of a good size - larger than those aboard the ships of AIDA Cruises, for example - and come nicely furnished with twin beds that convert to a queen-size unit. The bathrooms are spacious and well equipped, and have generous-size showers, hairdryers, and space for personal toiletries. Baby-monitoring telephones are provided in all cabins. There are no cabins for single occupancy.
Dining. Restaurants and bistros range from self-serve buffet style to service, with a focus on healthy eating. There is no pre-defined seating, so you can dine when you want, and with whomever you want - good for multi-generational families. The emphasis is on healthy food, including power food, brain food, soul food, erotic food, new food (quinoa, soya, and tofu dishes), including fresh fish.
The Atlantik Restaurant is a stunning, two-level dining hall - somewhat reminiscent of the dining halls aboard the ocean liners of the 1930s - with a grand staircase that flows between both levels and perimeter alcoves that provide more intimate dining spaces. However, there’s one big difference, in that this restaurant has two-meter-wide trapeze bars built into its center (talk about swinging food - or is that food for swingers?). Tables are for two, four, six, eight, or 10.
Other dining options. Richards Feines Essen (Gourmet Restaurant) is an à-la-carte, reservations-only venue, with a calming, restful wood-laden interior where high-quality fine dining and service can be found.
Surf ’n’ Turf Steakhouse serves premium steaks and grilled seafood, with aged beef commanding different price points.
In a venue covered by a retractable glass dome, in the aft section of the ship, three eateries, combined with a communal bar, provide completely different food experiences: Bistro La Vela for Italian cuisine, including an ‘active’ pasta cooking station, and pizza; Gosch Sylt, for fresh fish and seafood; and Tapas Y Mas, for tapas-tasting dishes. This venue is a most popular place to meet the fashionable set.
Other dining spots around the ship include: La Vida Sana, for wellness cuisine; Blaue Welt (Blue World) Sushi Bar, on the upper level of the atrium; Vino, a wine tasting bar; and a coffee lounge set around the atrium lobby, for specialty coffees and pastries.
For informal breakfasts and lunches, the two-level self-serve Anckelmannsplatz Buffet - the name comes from the road on which the TUI Cruises offices are located in Hamburg - is the place to go. There are several serving counters and ‘active’ food islands; the venue has warm wood-accented decor, and eight bay windows provide some prime seating spots. There are also two poolside grills - one located adjacent to the midships pools, the other wedged into an area aft of the swimming pool/hot tub cluster.
Entertainment. The Theater is a 927-seat showlounge spanning two decks, with seating on both main and cantilevered balcony levels. There are good sight lines from all seats. Production shows are excellent. It has a revolving stage, ‘hard’ curtain, and large fly tower.
Spa/Fitness. The Spa and More, located at the front of the ship one deck above the navigation bridge, has 18,299 sq ft (1,700 sq m) of space. It includes a large fitness/exercise area with all the latest muscle machines and video cycles; beauty salon; thalassotherapy pool; seven treatment rooms; and a Rasul room for Mediterranean mud and gentle steam bathing. Private ‘spa suites’ with fine, relaxing views are located above the ship’s navigation bridge and can be rented for the morning, afternoon, or the whole day. Atop the ship at the front is a healthy FKK (Freikörperkultur) deck for naked sunbathing.