Rolf Benz fits out Mein Schiff Relax from TUI Cruises
Nagold, 03/01/24. “Project wunderbar” – In this spirit, Rolf Benz and its Rolf Benz CONTRACT division have been facilitating unusual projects in the fields of gastronomy, the hotel industry and other public spaces for over a decade. The high-quality sofas and armchairs that are made in Germany by the Rolf Benz brand enhance airport lounges, luxury apartments and lifestyle hotels. Now, the company from the Black Forest is celebrating one of its largest individual orders in its 60-year history. A number of cabins on the Mein Schiff Relax, the eighth cruise liner in the Mein Schiff fleet of TUI Cruises, are being fitted out with custom-made upholstered furniture from Rolf Benz.
Just over 1,900 sofas are currently being produced in three formats by Rolf Benz for the first cruise liner in the new InTUItion class of the Hamburg-based shipping line. It will be a little longer than the initial ships from the well-known German fleet and is currently under construction in the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone in Italy. Using the slogan "Experience well-being in a new way”, the ship creates a generous feeling of spaciousness with sufficient room for 85% of its cabins to have balconies.
At full capacity, up to 3,084 guests can travel on the Mein Schiff Relax. From 2025, it will travel to destinations such as Barcelona, Cádiz, La Spezia, Lisbon, Palma/Majorca, Rome, Tangier and other western Mediterranean locations. The first trip that is currently available for booking leaves Palma/Majorca on 16th March, 2025.
Making of: Rolf Benz meets TUI Cruises
The new ship category had a clear concept: offer guests an even more varied journey to high-quality worlds where they can enjoy themselves and relax. With ROLF BENZ, TUI Cruises found its ideal partner for the project in 2020: an internationally famous brand-name company that produces custom-made, top-class designer furniture and also employs a skilled Contract Team.
Stefanie Jentz, Design Project Manager at TUI Cruises: “The ROLF BENZ mindset fits in perfectly with ours at TUI Cruises. Their idea of well-being, Made in Germany quality and their sense of aesthetics impressed us from the start. At the beginning of our collaboration, when the pandemic meant that we could only see each other on screen, we could tell even then that we had the right chemistry.”
Jürgen Mauß, CEO of Rolf Benz: “We are incredibly proud of and delighted by the esteem that this order from TUI Cruises has given us. To continue the shipping metaphor, we see this as confirmation that our business and Rolf Benz CONTRACT is on course. Our cooperation with TUI Cruises has been a stroke of luck and an enormous success.”
The project: customizing for Cruise Line Design
Several architecture teams were involved in designing Mein Schiff Relax. The initial design of the standard cabins comes from Tillberg Design of Sweden, the junior suites were designed by JOI Design Hamburg, while the lighting concept comes from Elektra London.
At TUI Cruises, Stefanie Jentz is responsible for everything related to the project. At Rolf Benz CONTRACT, Brian Therkelsen, Head of CONTRACT, was the main contact for this collaboration. Rolf Benz Development Manager Stefan Russ and his team were also actively involved.
Working closely together, TUI Cruises and Rolf Benz CONTRACT have designed three sofa formats for the ship’s cabins: a sofa bed, a double sofa bed and a three-seater sofa on which guests can also take a rest. In line with this concept, the individual sofas can fold up and be fitted with a bed frame. In addition to the 1,900 standard sofas in total, the teams are currently creating another two versions for the ship.
The custom-made Rolf Benz sofas have a linear, modern appearance to match the design of the light and airy cabin interiors. Fitted with a rather firm seating comfort, they suit the needs of cruise guests perfectly. In all other aspects, too, the sofas are perfectly tailored and adapted to the special comfort and safety requirements of the Cruise Line Design – first-class craftsmanship in the familiar Black Forest quality.
Branding: a perfect collaboration between two brands
The fresh colour that was created for the cabins on Mein Schiff Relax plays an important emotional role. Together with Stefanie Jentz, the Nagold-based company selected a textured, blue-grey cover fabric that adds a special twist to the Rolf Benz upholstered furniture. It fits in perfectly with the blue Mein Schiff logo, too. The quality design from the Black Forest comes into its own in the cabins, where special labels clearly identify the sofas as coming from Rolf Benz.
Stefanie Jentz: “TUI Cruises deliberately decided in favour of the Rolf Benz brand. I'm impressed by how flexibly the company responds to our highly complex requirements. From the initial prototype to the finished sofa, from the packaging to the logistics, the whole team was incredibly professional and worked quickly and passionately. Everyone really put their heart and soul into it.”
Brian Therkelsen: “It’s been a wonderful experience for us to work on this project. We have learned a huge amount from Stefanie Jentz and we greatly appreciate our excellent partnership with her and her team. I'm also fascinated by the standards and extensive experience with which TUI Cruises is creating this new, high-quality ship.”
TUI Cruises is planning to operate the first climate-neutral cruise ships from 2030. Their targets for reducing emissions were validated this year by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) according to the latest scientific findings – the latter is supported by the Global Compact of the UN and the WWF, among others.
As a well-known, international company that produces upholstered furniture entirely in Germany, Rolf Benz was naturally the first choice from a sustainability perspective for fitting out the new cruise ship.
The technology of the cruise liner that is currently being constructed was also aligned with the defined and validated objectives of TUI Cruises. Mein Schiff Relax is fitted with dual fuel engines that can run on liquid gas or marine diesel. In future, they will be able to run on sustainably generated bio or E-LNG (liquid natural gas) – thereby taking a significant step towards a climate-neutral cruise.
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