This review is about our tansatlantic cruise on the MEIN SCHIFF 3:
TUI cruises has a fleet of 6 ships called "Mein Schiff" and offers premium all inclusive service, which means that beverages are included and that there's no service charge.
The language on board is German. As English is definitely underrepresented, it is not advisable for non German-speaking people to go on a cruise with Mein Schiff.
Embarkation and disembarkation worked perfectly - it was relaxed, fast and without any complaints.
I had the feeling that cabins are a little bit smaller than on American cruise ships, but the facilities are pretty much the same. One asset is the Nespresso machine every cabin has. Officially one capsule per day and guest is included but our experience was that the capsules where filled up twice a day without any additional cost.
The glass bottle with mineral stones that can be filled at the water dispensers nearby the elevator is a great idea. Unfortunately there is no mini bar at the cabin, so we where not able to chill the beverages we brought onboard or purchased on deck. So we regularly had to order a bucket of ice. Btw, there are no regulations about bringing alcohol aboard for consumption on the cabin, so we brought several bottles of wine and had no problems about that.
The cabin was cleaned up twice a day but the towels weren't changed everyday, although we threw them on the floor.
Pool and pool deck:
This pool is great!! It is 25 meters long and surrounded by foamed mats to lie on. Two bars are in striking distance to the pool. The indoor pool is comparatively small but there are lounge beds in this area if you want to relax and calm down. The noise around the outdoor pool can get pretty much sometimes (especially when the DJ is playing or when soccer fans are singing fan songs at the pool bar - and that happened really often, mostly in the morning). As Germans like to reserve their chairs, it can get really hard to find one - especially from morning to about 3 pm.
No Go: There is a stand serviced by an employee where you can get towels in exchange for your towel card, but you only get ONE towel at a time.
Entertainment and activities:
Focusing on health and sports, there is a huge offer on fitness activities. There is an always crowded gym with cardio and weights equipment and a separate room for courses like jumping fitness. You can also join a daily spinning course on the basketball field, a running group at every shore excursion day and a wide range on fitness related shore excursions.
Besides, the basketball field turns into a cinema on some nights, and there are two outdoor bars that are open every night. One of them is on the back of the ship and the atmosphere there was always very comfortable and relaxed.
We only visited one show at the theater, the variety did not really please us. The casino isn't a casino, it is more a small room with three or four gambling machines and one table - good for us, because we aren't into gambling. There is also a small disco which was also always full.
Food, beverages and service:
Service could definitely be better. While the bar tenders and waiters in the specialty restaurants were friendly and accommodating, the cabin stewarts were a little bit sloppy and the waiters in the main restaurant were often uncoordinated and inattentive.
The food was really excellent! The portions at the à la carte restaurant are relatively small, so you can have several courses without being overeaten. The restaurant is divided into a classic and a Mediterranean floor, both offered excellent dishes every night.
The buffet restaurant has a separated part (called GOSCH) that is specialized on fish and seafood but where you can also order specialties at additional cost. For just 20 Euro each, we had a giant portion of snow crab legs which were remarkable.
There is a ice cream and waffles stand by the pool, which was also included and always visited very well during our cruise.
There are three specialty restaurants that are not covered by all inclusive, two of them are highly recommendable. Surf & Turf steak restaurant offers a exclusive variety of steaks from all over the world and the ambience at the terrace is great. Hanami is an Asian restaurant under the patronage of a German master chef. Richards is a classic fine dining restaurant - the dishes were good but uninspired and not worth the money.
Although beverages are included, variety and quality were excellent and serving size was generous. By the pool, beer is often available for self-service.
Ports and shore excursions:
As there is a focus on sports on the ship, you can join a running team at every stop and there are many sportive shore excursions you can book. Shore excursions in general are well organized and most of them are accompanied by a member of the shore excursions team. To be sure you get the excursions you want, you should book them well in advance. Two weeks prior to embarkation, most of them were already fully booked.
I would definitely go on a Mein Schiff cruise again, because value for money is unbeatable. My only wish would be that staff is more service oriented and the guests behave better.
We had a balcony cabin on Deck 6 which is one deck above the lifeboats. Fortunately, there were now major limitations of visibility. The balcony was quite small but big enough for two chairs and a small table. Privacy was ok, since we where next to one of the cabins that are arranged at an angle, we where able to see about one third of the neighbours balcony and vice versa. As the ship was heading south and southwest all of the time and our cabin was on port side, we did not even see the sunset on our balcony once. Next time, I would prefer a cabin on starboard side.