While writing the next edition of Fodor's Alaska Ports of Call for 2011, I noted that Celebrity Century would be replacing Celebrity Mercury in Alaska deployment. That made me wonder if the rumors were true, that Mercury would be following Galaxy to a new home in a foreign fleet. Celebrity Cruises has just confirmed what I thought. Celebrity Mercury will become the second ship in the fleet of TUI Cruises, a cruise brand established in 2008 through a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and TUI AG, tailored for the German market. The new ship, to be named Mein Schiff 2, will become sister ship to Mein Schiff (the former Celebrity Galaxy), which set sail in May 2009.
"Celebrity Mercury has been a cherished member of the Celebrity family since she entered service in 1997, and has offered countless guests outstanding vacation experiences," said Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "We are dedicated to offering the same impeccable service our brand is known for right up until the ship transitions to TUI Cruises, and we are confident that the ship's future with TUI Cruises is very bright." Hanrahan assured that the future for the crew on Celebrity Mercury is equally bright. "With the rapid growth and momentum of the Celebrity brand, and the fourth member of our five-ship Solstice Class fleet, Celebrity Silhouette, launching in July 2011, we have abundant opportunities for the fine crew on Celebrity Mercury to transfer to another Celebrity ship."
Celebrity Mercury joined the Celebrity Cruises fleet in November 1997, and was built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, builder of Celebrity's widely heralded, new Solstice Class fleet. The 77,713-ton ship carries 1,898 guests (double occupancy) and 909 crew. Celebrity Mercury will complete its scheduled sailings through the Feb 14, 2011, itinerary. Guests with individual bookings and named group bookings on Celebrity Mercury on or after Feb 26, 2011 have the option to either cancel their booking or move to any Celebrity Mercury sailing from Baltimore from Oct 18, 2010, through Feb 14, 2011, with the exception of the Dec 20, 2010 itinerary.
Guests who pursue this option will receive an onboard credit of $75 per stateroom for inside or ocean-view accommodations; $100 per stateroom for veranda or Concierge Class, and $200 per suite. Guests with reservations affected by the transition will be proactively contacted by Celebrity Cruises. Guests with questions specific to impacted bookings are welcome to call 1-888-281-9343.
Celebrity Mercury will enter service with TUI Cruises in May 2011, as Mein Schiff 2, following an extensive refurbishment resulting in additional verandas, an expanded spa and fitness area, inclusion of a teen bar, and a host of design elements and other attributes consistent with those found on Mein Schiff. Mein Schiff 2 will spend her first cruising season in the Baltic and Nordic regions. Full itinerary details will be published when bookings open June 1, 2010.
Sadly, for North Americans, "my ship" is now "your ship."