Single traveler on 'Canary Islands And Madeira' cruise with 'Mein Schiff 1' from Las Palmas. I chose this cruise to experience the brand new ship and 'TUI Cruises'.
Embarkation - This was done very quickly. The baggage already waited in front of my stateroom when I boarded the ship after my excursion to the city, that was about 4 hours after CheckIn.
Security Drill - Cruise guests tightly pushed in a bar way too small for so many people, the elderly had to wait standing for long, and though everyone was registered at the entrance, a crew member started to call everyone after another by name, which then turned out to be a joke. The security movie from the stateroom TV was shown, and a life vest demonstration by a crew member, but few guests could see that due to the crowd. Smoking on balconies is considered to be a security risk, but on 'Mein Schiff 1' smoking on balconies was allowed explicitly, even ash trays were provided.
The Ship - Just a half a year old 'Mein Schiff 1', which means 'My Ship 1', features many venues named after locations in Hamburg, where the cruise line is headquartered. Overall appearance was quite Hanseatic, with decent colors, modest decoration, restrain and understatement. Orientation was made very simple for the cruise guests due to signs pointing to bow, stern, port and starboard sides of the ship. Elevators were usually available very quickly and equipped with close door buttons. The sports hall above the 'Anckelmannsplatz' buffet restaurant was well audible when guests were dining, noisy banging and tramping. Tobacco smoke caused by too many smokers on board flew around at outdoor bars on deck and to my balcony nearly constantly. While 'TUI Cruises' promotes itself with words like 'Wohlfühl', feel-good, and 'Gesund', healthy, it was hard to gasp a clear sea breeze. My balcony was actually unusable therefore. Free sun loungers were always available, even on the sea days. There was no storm during the cruise, thus the ship always sailed very stable.
Crew And Staff - They were always friendly and spoke German language astonishingly often and quite good. I maybe met the stateroom stewards at any time, but did not have had a chance to talk to them personally. That was though not necessary however at all, since they did a good job without being noticed. No intrusive promotion of shopping and spa offers, also not in written form.
Dining - The choice and selection in the 'Anckelmannsplatz' buffet restaurant - I don't go to restaurants with service at the table on board - appeared limited to me in the area of the warm kitchen, in addition, some foodstuffs were offered on days in a row or even daily. Potatoes were served nearly always unpeeled, but tasted very good. Cruise guests could select food on their own at the 'WOK-Station' for individual preparation. The pantry staff did use plenty of salt and created conspicuously runny sauces. Choice from the cold kitchen with salads, cheese and Brötchen for example, German dough rolls, was good. Especially the 'Artisan' bread was very tasty. For breakfast, the same foodstuff was offered every morning. The pastries section also was a little bit limited, sometimes, pieces of fancy cakes did not have had a flooring, the pieces fell apart while being transferred to the plate by the guests. 'Bruno Gelato' was offered together with toppings in the buffet restaurant and on the pool deck, it was among the most delicious things offered on board. Some food had proper labels, including allergy notices, some things were not labeled at all. Dining obviously should fulfill German taste, needs and demand, there was less variation and very less local food from the cruise region being offered. Despite the limitations, everything I tried tasted good or even very good. Included in the cruise fare were nearly all beverages, some more expensive alcoholic drinks on surcharge. Guests could fill their glasses with soft drinks, vine and beer, or their cups with different beverages from the coffee machines on their own; the hot chocolate was very good. The dress code was casual, but long pants were required in the evening.
The Guests - They were from German speaking countries only, and throughout of a higher average age. Few but very agile kids, some people with rollators and in wheel chairs. Board language was German, with some very few security related announcements in English as well.
Shore Excursions - This is something I usually organize on my own. Disembarkation and Embarkation at ports of call was quickly without long waiting. The ship was always very punctual.
Entertainment - Sometimes, life music was played at the pool, there were also some pool parties and daily evening shows in the theater and the small stage called 'Schaubühne'. A paint school was offering courses.
Shopping - A shopping mall over 2 decks offered many things, clothes, souvenirs and typical duty free goods. The art gallery exhibited paints and photographs.
Internet - Many different internet packages were offered at reasonable prices. The speed was good, the connection interrupted and reconnected seconds later sometimes. Land based LTE internet access was available when the ship cruised in coastal areas, and in ports anyway.
Disembarkation - That went absolutely without problems or waiting. The baggage was easy to find in the terminal, but could also be brought from the ship by the cruise guests on their own until 09:00am.
Thank you 'TUI Cruises', for this cruise on 'Mein Schiff 1'!
My 'Balkonkabine', balcony stateroom, #41 on deck 7 port side had a king size double bed with bedside tables. There was a commode with stool, a safe for valuables, a phone and a coffee machine with 2 capsules per day included in the cruise fare. Drinkable water could be obtained in the staircase halls with a carafe from the stateroom. Storage for clothes was sufficient, but partially occupied with pillows, blankets and bathrobes. There were sockets for EU plugs, even one at the bed. A broad range of German plus some very few international TV channels were offered, a moving map provided ship's position and some nautical and meteorological information. Announcements could be heard on TV channel 2, a replay of the last 8 announcements was offered in the TV menu. Security information on the stateroom door, and an air conditioner thermostat next to the bathroom door. The big balcony had 2 sun chairs with foldable backrests and a small table.
Bathroom with shower and gel as well as conditioner dispensers plus a clothesline. The shower temperature oscillated sometimes between warm and not so warm. Mirror, toilet, washbasin with soap dispenser, towels and flannels. Some toiletries were provided.
Stateroom cleaning was carried out twice a day. The daily planner 'Mein Schiff Tagesprogramm' was delivered in the evenings together with some chocolate. A towel animal with a personal written notice from the stewards wished all the best on the last evening.