Cruising into sustainability: TUI Cruises sets benchmarks

TUI Cruises christened its fifth new ship, Mein Schiff 1, in Hamburg on 11 May. An expanding fleet is inevitably associated with the issue of sustainability at sea. TUI Cruises not only has ambitious environmental goals, it’s also building one of the lowest-emission fleets in the world.

New cruise ship designs incorporating sustainability features

Next year, when the new Mein Schiff 2 is launched, TUI Cruises will have put six brand new ships on the ocean since 2014 at an investment of billions of euros. All ships in the fleet boast impressive comfort, and they each deliver a level of eco-friendliness that goes beyond statutory requirements and sets new standards. TUI Cruises demands the very highest levels of environmental performance from the shipbuilders and, as a result, it is paving the way for the use of more ecological technologies throughout the industry.

  • Energy efficiency: The contract for the first new ship set an industry precedent because it required the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland, to meet ambitious energy efficiency targets. As a result, the new Mein Schiff cruise liners use around 30 percent less energy than comparable ships in the same category, which means they also have lower greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Reduced emissions: TUI Cruises and Wärtsilä, the ship propulsion technology market leader, have developed a combined exhaust aftertreatment system (EAS). The state-of-the-art EAS reduces sulphur emissions by up to 99 percent. Catalytic converters additionally reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by around 75 percent. Mein Schiff 3 and all the other new ships have been surpassing emission standards that come into effect in 2020 since 2014.
  • Waste management: TUI Cruises increased the quantity of waste that is recycled on board by five percent last year alone. Almost one-third of all waste is now recycled or prepared for land-based recycling on the ships. Plastic and other disposable packaging materials are systematically collected and compacted. TUI Cruises is also making progress in reducing food waste. A new concept developed in collaboration with sustainability initiative Futouris and United Against Waste has been tested out on Mein Schiff 4 over an 18-month period. It’s been a complete success, with food waste reduced by almost one-fifth during the pilot project, which earned TUI Cruises the German Travel Association’s EcoTrophea 2017 environmental award and other tributes.


Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue for cruise lines. Companies like TUI Cruises are rising to the challenge, even though all the cruise liners in the world only account for a fraction of the ships on our oceans. NABU, the German environmental organisation, analysed the environmental impacts of 63 cruise ships in 2017. Five ships in the TUI Cruises fleet, and the TUI subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet, share top place in the environmental ranking.