TUI Cruises names its new No. 1 ship in a Hamburg extravaganza

The godmothers Kira Walkenhorst and Laura Ludwig use a scepter to release the bottle of Pommery Champagne The godmothers Kira Walkenhorst and Laura Ludwig use a scepter to release the bottle of Pommery Champagne (Photo: Franziska Krug/Getty Images for TUI Cruises)

Framed by five towering gantry cranes decked out in hundreds of lights at the Port of Hamburg, Mein Schiff 1 was named in festivities Friday night.

Hometown heroes Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, Olympic beach volleyball champions, served as the godmothers.

Connecting the port industry with cruise enthusiasm

'After the christening [of Mein Schiff 6] next to the Elbphilharmonie last year, we decided again this year for a baptism in front of an impressive backdrop. The container gantries are pure in Hamburg—our christening staging connects the port industry with cruise enthusiasm,' TUI Cruises CEO Wybcke Meier said.

Mein Schiff 1's pool deck was transformed for the christening by North German entertainer Yared Dibaba. An LED surface covering the entire 25-meter pool transformed the deck first into an underwater world, then into a starry sky.

Aerial acrobats rose from the middle container bridge on a winch. During a dance performance on the LED surface, a treasure chest was brought to the pool deck. Inside the two godmothers found a golden scepter. A pyrotechnic effect on the scepter triggered a mechanism to release the bottle of Pommery Champagne to smash on the bow.

Fireworks capped the night.

TUI Cruises fans and celebrities

The inauguration of TUI Cruises' fifth newbuild was dedicated to the fans of the Mein Schiff fleet. More than 2,500 passengers booked the christening party followed by a short christening cruise round-trip from Hamburg.

In addition, thousands of people followed the event on a Facebook livestream, from escort boats on the water or landside, on Hamburg's Elbe beach.

On board for the christening were celebrities including football manager, presenter and author Reiner Calmund; former gymnast Philipp Boy, a World Championship medalist; former national champion rhythmic gymnast Magdalena Brzeska, presenters Sabine Christiansen, Annabelle Mandeng, Nova Meierhenrich and Ruth Moschner, actress Natascha Ochsenknecht and Circus Roncalli co-founder Bernhard Paul.

Hamburg port's 829th birthday

Mein Schiff 1's christening is a highlight of the Port of Hamburg's 829th birthday celebration, taking place May 10-13, with 10 cruise ships and more than 1m visitors expected on the banks of the Elbe. Mein Schiff 1 departs Sunday on its maiden voyage as part of the port birthday ship parade.

On Friday night naming festivities were also held for Seabourn Ovation in Valletta, Malta

Posted 12 May 2018

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review