Our first cruise with TUI Cruises and the Mein Schiff 4 (translated to “my ship 4”)! We were more than excited. Would we like it? How is it on an all-inclusive ship and what is different? Is it a feel-good ship? Do the others like it? – After all, we were a large group of 9 people. Will this ship be “our” ship? We were very excited.
Early in the morning we started from different airports. Some from Hamburg and some from Dusseldorf. Flights and transfers were booked through TUI and worked out wonderfully. We were taken directly to the reception at the airport and the bus including Wi-Fi took us within 30 minutes to the port and the cruise ship. Next to us was the AIDA Sol and the first impression of Mein Schiff 4 was that it is much larger than the AIDA Sol. The check-in was quick and within just a few minutes we were already in our balcony cabins.
The cabins are beautifully decorated in blue and white and generously equipped. They made us feel comfortable and welcome. There is an ample drawer and many closet spaces. In each cabin there is a Nespresso coffee machine. Two capsules a day are free of charge. All other capsules are sealed in the box and must be paid when using. There is a water jug, with which one could get still water near the elevators from a dispenser for free. But there are also large bottles of still water and mineral water for a fee of 2.60 euros per bottle.
In the bathroom there is a drawer, two towel rails, a magnifying mirror, two glass shelves, a sink, a toilet and a shower. There is shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, a nail file, cotton pads and cotton buds and a sewing kit. The balconies are large and the backrests of the balcony chairs can be adjusted to lie back. The bathroom and shower are spacious. The cabins were great. We were quite surprised that there was no lifejacket. Later we learned during the muster drill that they exist only at the muster stations.
We all met for a first drink at the “Schaubar”. The non-alcoholic cocktails are highly recommended! The Mosquito and American Caipirinha convinced us immediately. For the Mein Schiff 4 we were a large group of persons, because we mostly saw couples or families of four people. All of us were impressed by the design and space of the cabins. The walk-in showers and generous, the furniture is comfortable and the design is amazing. We had a good reason for a toast! We enjoyed a glass of free sparkling wine and started our holidays.
Next, we wanted to go to dinner. We chose the Mediterranean Atlantic Restaurant. Here we met the first challenge. We were 9 people and unfortunately there are no big tables. Unlike with American or Italian shipping companies, TUI Cruises has mainly tables for 2 or 4 people. We were given a long table in the Atlantic Mediterranean Restaurant for 16 people. 5 other people sat down at the table. We thought that was not bad, is indeed very communicative, but unfortunately the table was so wide that you could not speak with your counterpart. Sadly you cannot make reservations for the tables at the restaurant. Every day you get another table with another waiter, which meant that we had the same challenge every single day.
The tables were big, wine and water was available in carafes and there were two menus with 5 courses to choose from. The food was high quality, the portions quite small, so that you could easily try a whole menu. There was always a gourmet menu and a healthy menu to choose from. But you can also order courses from both menus. In the mediterranean restaurant you can always order pasta as well.
After dinner was the emergency exercise (muster drill). We all had different muster stations. Ours was F in the “Diamantbar”. The emergency exercise meant only watching a video. Nobody got a lifejacket for practice. After the video you could ask questions to the crew and also try on a life vest. But only a few people used this offer, because it was hot and cramped in the rooms with so many people. There were not enough seats for everyone, so it is advisable to arrive early.
After the emergency exercise, we were looking for a bar for a last drink of the day. We chose the sea and sky lounge (Himmel und Meer). Here you have a great view of the sea and there are many comfortable couches and cozy sofa corners. Our tip: This lounge is usually not crowded and you can always get a place here in the evenings. Perfect!