30% Energy saving


Setting new standards

With Mein Schiff 3 TUI Cruises is setting new standards for environment technology on the high seas. The cruise liner minimises harmful emissions, consumes much less energy, and is equipped with a state-of-the-art disposal system for waste­water and solid waste. Environment Officer Ryan Eickholt keeps a vigilant eye on the system. And he has set the bar high.

»Our guests expect their cruise liner to be as well equipped as possible for protecting the environment.«

Ryan Eickholt, Environment Officer on Mein Schiff 3

As dawn breaks, Mein Schiff 3 glides majestically towards the port of Civitavecchia, an hour’s drive from Rome. It may be early, but life is already stirring aboard the youngest and biggest member of the TUI Cruises fleet – a joint venture between TUI and the US-based passenger cruise company Royal Caribbean. Many of the 2,500 passengers step out onto their cabin balcony for a view of the harbour, where they will be calling on the fourth day of their Mediterranean voyage. Most of them will be joining today’s excursion to the Italian capital. No sooner has the ship moored than the first groups come streaming out from the belly of the ves­sel. There is a mood of expectancy and relaxation: yesterday Corsica, today Rome. That’s the way to holiday!

By the cargo hatch, not ten yards from the exit, stands Ryan Eickholt. He glances at the growing swarm of passengers. For them, another day of leisure is about to begin; for the Environment Officer it is a normal working day. The 25-year-old runs the sophisticated environment and waste system on this enormous ship. After all, the new liner is not just a setting for carefree holidays. It is also setting new standards in environment href="http://fast.fonts.net/cssapi/d6b0c3ec-893f-475e-b33e-9b01b95bd22d.css"ion. Mein Schiff 3 uses 30 per cent less energy than other passenger ships in this category. And her emissions of sulphur, nitrogen and particles are already well below the limits that will start applying to newbuilds from 2016.

Behind-the-scenes environment management

“Our guests expect their cruise liner to be as well equipped as possible for protecting the environment,” says Ryan Eickholt, who has been sailing with TUI Cruises for two years. The environment is managed in places the guests usually know nothing about. Their world is made up of eleven restaurants and twelve bars, the spa and sport facilities and the 25-meter pool, exclusive shops, the concert hall, theatre and museum. The world of Ryan Eickholt, born in Florida, is not quite so luxurious. For the US citizen who heads a little team of four and has the support of all other units on board, the working day begins at the heart of waste disposal.

Before an hour has passed, and under the supervision of the Environment Officer, the crew has handed over the waste to an Italian disposal company. For a ship with 3,500 people (crew included) living on board, there is surprisingly little waste: a few crates of glass, paper, compressed matter. The job of keeping this quantity to a minimum is done by state-of-the-art equipment that sorts the waste then incinerates or processes it. “Do you know what that is?” asks the Environment Officer, pointing to a container with a mass of what looks like the charred breadcrumbs that collect under a toaster. “Those are the leftovers from last night’s dinner.” One machine extracts water from the remnants of food; whatever is left goes into the incinerator before appropriate disposal.

Guest cabins
on Mein Schiff 3 provide space for 2,506 holidaymakers.

Modern on-board sewage treatment

When Ryan Eickholt talks to his staff, he issues clear instructions. Despite his young years he exudes a natural authority. The uniform with three-and-a-half stripes and a star on the shoulders confirms his high rank on this vessel. Treating natural resources with respect is important to him, even when things are a little more com­plicated. Water disposal, for instance. When 3,500 people shower, eat, swim and flush the toilet, obviously there is going to be a lot of wastewater. “The sea is a sensitive habitat,” says Ryan Eickholt. “So we take it for granted that no pollutants ought to escape into the sea water.” To make sure of that, wastewater in all its forms is treated by an elaborate technical system: grey water from the showers, kitchen drains and laundries, black water from the toilets.

Show picture
make up the new member of the TUI Cruises fleet. The ship is 293.3 metres long and 35.8 metres wide with a draught of approx. 8.05 metres.

In a huge tank in the bowels of the ship, hungry bacteria are performing their duty, devouring substances that harm the environment and pre-treating the water by biological means. Then the water is passed through some more filters and equipment – until it ends up so clean that it can be used again on board or discharged without any problem. “Our wastewater system can hold its own with the most sophisticated sewage units on land. Here again, we perform far better than standards require,” says the graduate environment engineer, observing the bacteria tank with its sturdy steel walls.

Ryan Eickholt has to raise his voice now, because down here the engines set the tune. It is hot too, but this energy will not vanish into thin air: the ship puts the waste heat from its engines to good use – to heat the two pools, for example, and that cuts daily fuel consumption by 1.6 tonnes compared with conventional ways of getting water up to temperature.

Back on deck, the passengers who decided to lie in are ready for breakfast. These are the ones who chose not to visit Rome but to enjoy the congenial life on board instead. Wandering around the restaurants and cabin tracts, as well as the outer deck of 18,000 square metres, it is evident what a wide variety of measures are in place on Mein Schiff 3 to protect the environment. There are no minibars in the cabins. Instead, the passengers are given glass jugs which they can fill at drinking water points. A card system for pool towels encourages passengers not to use an indiscriminate number of towels on the outer decks. The result: 30 per cent less cloth to wash.

»Protection of the environment is not a lip service to us, but part of our corporate strategy in particular in the course of our expansion.«

Wybcke Meier, Managing Director TUI Cruises

Finely interlocking technologies

Substantial savings are likewise made by the systematic lighting controls and the use of low-energy LED bulbs. And when the ship is plying the waves in Northern Eur­ope, the cutting-edge air conditioning draws assist­ance from the cool seawater. “It’s important for all these ideas and techniques to dovetail and to function smoothly,” says Ryan Eickholt.

Ship’s engineers will tell you it takes at least a year for all the systems on board a new vessel to settle. After 19 months under construction, Mein Schiff 3 first weighed anchor in mid-June 2014 – so today she has been at sea for just three months. Ryan Eickholt and his crew have come up with some pragmatic, environment-friendly solutions in response to the “tech­nical challenges”, as he puts it in his upbeat American style.

One example is the combined system for waste gas treatment, which consists of a desulphurisation unit and a catalytic reactor. The prototype was especially developed for Mein Schiff 3. The system is 60 metres tall and runs though all the decks, and it is the reason why this vessel has a reputation for hardly producing any waste gas at all.

“This is where the exhaust air is cleaned and filtered. Pollutants are washed out in several stages, like in a super-size shower,” says Ryan Eickholt. That means a significant reduction in sulphur oxides (by up to 99 per cent) and a major reduction in particulate matter (up to 60 per cent) and nitrous gases (up to 75 per cent). “We want our systems to be perfectly calibrated as fast as possible,” says Ryan Eickholt. “After all, our aim is to set new standards for the sector with the technology we have installed.”

»Our wastewater system can hold its own with the most sophisticated sewage units on land. Here too, we go far beyond the required standards.«