Hapag-Lloyd Cruises brand will be the core part of a €1.2 billion plan by Tui Group and partner Royal Caribbean Cruises to expand in the luxury, expedition and premium cruise sector.
The former Tui Group subsidiary will be integrated into the Tui Cruises joint venture established with Royal Caribbean in 2008.
The merger of Tui Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises under the umbrella of the joint venture will create a European cruise company with a combined fleet of 12 ships.
A further expedition cruise ship has been ordered and will be added to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ fleet in 2021 to replace MS Bremen.
“In light of the transaction it is possible that the luxury and expedition fleet will grow in the coming years,” Tui said.
The deal values Hapag-Lloyd Cruises at €1.2 billion and will create a joint venture profit-sharing unit.
Tui Cruises will continue to cater to the premium German-speaking segment and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will continue to have an exclusive presence in the luxury and expedition ship segment.
Tui chief executive Fritz Joussen said: “The ships’ identities, service, quality and customer experience will remain as individual and unique as they are today.
“This will create significant advantages for the group, for our expansion and for our investments.”
He added: “Products and brands such as MS Europa and MS Europa 2 have international potential and appeal.
“Going forward, this will enable us as shareholders to take a capital-light approach to financing the ships and international growth within a joint venture framework.
“Tui and Royal Caribbean Cruises have developed the joint venture company on the basis of a strong partnership over the past ten years.
“The expansion decision is the next big step of growth for us – from a strategic and a commercial perspective.”