Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Mein Schiff 2
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: 306 out of 400
Overall Score: 1547 out of 2000
Mein Schiff 2 Statistics
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: TUI Cruises
Former Names: Celebrity Mercury, Mercury
IMO Number: 9106302
Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)
Original Cost: $320 million
Entered Service: Nov 1997/May 2011
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: 909
Passengers (lower beds): 1,870
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 41.5
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.0
Cabins (total): 935
Size Range (sq ft/m): 171.0-1,219.0/15.8-113.2
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 220
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 8
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 3 (1 w/sliding glass dome)
Hot Tubs (on deck): 4
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/183
Onboard currency: Euros
A large and stylish premium mid-size ship for the whole family
Overview. Mein Schiff 2 is for German-speaking families with children who want to cruise aboard a ship with a contemporary environment, good itineraries, great food, and European-style service from a well-trained crew that delivers a cruise that’s fresh and surprisingly good.
The Ship. Mein Schiff 2, originally built as Mercury for Celebrity Cruises, was transferred in 2011 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.
This all-inclusive mid-size ship has just about all you need for an enjoyable and rewarding cruise experience. There are 10 bars, four restaurants, six bistros, and good facilities for families with children.
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 become crowded when the ship is full. Charming two-person cabanas can be rented on an upper, outside deck, with great ocean views, but insulated from shipboard life.
Inside, a four-deck-high main foyer houses the reception desk and shore excursion station. There’s a small cinema, which doubles as a conference and meeting center with the latest audio-visual technology, including simultaneous translation and headsets for the hearing-impaired. There’s a large shopping center, including ultra-smart shops like Svaorovski, while cigar smokers will appreciate the private club-like cigar lounge and bar.
The interior decor is at once contemporary in style, but with many restful colors and combinations throughout and nothing is garish - except, perhaps, for the starkly contrasting wallcovering of blood-red capillaries in the Blue World Bar.
Mein Schiff 2 has individual hammocks in various outdoor locations, including on some suite-grade balconies. ‘Meditation Islands’ are also installed on the open deck: the ship’s rail is fitted with mini-balconies, equipped with special blinds, for private relaxation space.
Making it even more user-friendly for families is the all-inclusive pricing, though this excludes spa treatments, excursions, and the extra-cost restaurants: Richards Feines Essen, Blaue Welt Sushi Bar, and Surf ’n’ Turf Steakhouse. The dress code is smart casual.
Families. Younger children are well catered for, with a playroom and an outdoor paddling pool, while teens have their own adult-free chill-out lounge. There’s also a character called Captain Sharky.
Accommodation. There are 10 price grades, depending on the size and location of your living space, but the accommodation is very comfortable. 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 (free in suites). All accommodation grades are designated no-smoking.
Most suites with private balconies have floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors to large balconies - 12 have balconies measuring 258.3 sq ft (24 sq m), with a hammock, two sunloungers and a dining table, 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 and espresso coffees, welcome Champagne, flowers, and picnic baskets as required. Suite occupants also get keycard access to a private, 100-seat concierge lounge/bar and social venue - the ‘X’ Lounge, with a selection of cold food, including some rather nice caviar for breakfast.
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 an impressive 1,515-sq-ft (141-sq-m) apartment.
Most of the Deck 10 suites and cabins are generously proportioned, beautifully equipped, and have balconies with full or almost-full floor-to-ceiling partitions, and large flat-screen TV sets. Also included are a wall clock, large floor-to-ceiling mirrors, a well-stocked minibar, a marble-topped vanity/writing desk, excellent closet and drawer space, and large shower enclosure. Suite occupants get newspapers, chocolates, Champagne, and access to the exclusive X Lounge, next door to the Himmel und Meer Lounge. Look out for the phrase ‘Wood Thrust Into Brine’ in large letters above the bar - you’ll have to look up to see it.
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 toiletries. Baby-monitoring telephones and personal safes are provided in all cabin. A box containing three crystal-mineral stones provides special filtration for the ship’s own bottled water. There are no cabins for single occupancy.
Dining. Restaurants and bistros range from self-serve buffet style to service. There is no pre-defined seating. The emphasis is on healthy food, including power food, brain food, soul food, erotic food, and fresh fish. The Atlantik Restaurant is a lovely, two-level Art Deco grand dining hall with a grand staircase. Tables are for two, four, six, eight, or 10.
Other dining options. Richards Feines Essen (Gourmet Restaurant), a specialty dining venue, is à la carte and reservations only, with a restful wood-laden interior and high-quality fine dining and service. A dégustation menu and three specialty vegetarian menus are also available, and the wine list is extensive.
Surf ’n’ Turf Steakhouse serves premium steaks and grilled seafood, with aged beef, displayed in a ‘proving’ or maturing cabinet - a cruise industry first.
In an area covered by a retractable glass dome in the aft section of the ship, three eateries and a communal bar provide very different food experiences (all included in the cruise price): Bistro La Vela for Italian cuisine, including an ‘active’ pasta cooking station with your choice of six pastas, and freshly made pizza; Gosch Sylt for fresh fish and seafood, with daily specials (it’s hugely popular, so make a reservation early); and Tapas Y Mas for tapas-tasting dishes. This venue is a most popular place to meet the fashionable set, with both indoor and outdoor seating and bar.
Others include Blaue Welt (Blue World) Sushi Bar, on the upper level of the atrium; Vino, a wine tasting bar specializing in Austrian and German wines; Cliff 24, a 24-hour poolside grill with different food items throughout the day; and the TUI Bar, a coffee lounge set around the atrium lobby for specialty coffees and pastries, and a separate praline chocolate counter.
For informal breakfasts and lunches, the two-level self-serve Anckelmannsplatz Buffet is the place to go. There are several serving counters and ‘active’ food islands. There are also two poolside grills - one 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. The large-scale production shows are excellent.
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 exercise area with the machines and cycles; a beauty salon; a thalassotherapy pool; 15 treatment rooms; a Rasul room for mud and steam bathing; and a sauna.
Private ‘spa suites,’ bookable for an hour or two, or half- or full-day, are extremely large, and include a steam/shower cabinet, thalassotherapy bath, two hydraulic massage/relaxation tables, relaxation seating, and great floor-to-ceiling windows. A balcony adjacent to the sauna is designated as an FKK (Freikörperkultur) deck for nude sunbathing.