Tui Group and Royal Caribbean have pledged to “significantly enlarge” their Tui Cruises joint venture, starting with the expansion of its luxury brand Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
Hapag-Lloyd will be folded into Tui Cruises as part of a €1.2 billion deal to become the “second pillar” of the joint venture, benefiting from Tui’s wider “digital transformation” efforts.
The brand will be “integrated into the Tui Cruises joint venture” and placed at the heart of Tui and Royal’s plans to expand their luxury, expedition and premium cruise offering.
Tui and Royal expect to conclude the deal in the summer. “We’re changing the ownership structure behind the brand to facilitate stronger, faster and capital-light growth,” said Tui Group chief executive Fritz Joussen.
The deal, said Tui, will “expedite” its plans to grow its cruise division at a time when global shipbuilding capacity is limited, with Tui Cruises’ three new-builds not scheduled for delivery until 2023, 2024 and 2026.
“Integration of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises in the joint venture will allow Tui to participate in global cruise industry growth at a low level of capital expenditure,” said Tui, adding that the merger of Tui Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd under the joint venture would create a combined fleet of 12 ships.