The 1,898-passenger Celebrity Mercury will transfer to TUI Cruises following its scheduled departures through Feb. 14. The Mercury will be the second ship in the Celebrity Cruises fleet to join the German cruise line.

TUI Cruises, a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and German tourism company TUI AG, was launched in May 2009 with the Celebrity Galaxy. The Mercury will be renamed Mein Schiff 2, and will be a sister ship to Mein Schiff, the former Galaxy.

TUI Cruises CEO Richard Vogel said in a statement that the cruise brand, "has firmly established its place in the German market, and now, it is time to broaden and further develop the concept. ... We look forward to growing it further, with our expanded fleet and our unique 'premium all-inclusive' concept."

Celebrity CEO Dan Hanrahan noted in a statement that the Mercury would offer the same "impeccable service our brand is known for right up until the ship transitions to TUI Cruises."

He also spoke to the fate of the Mercury's crew, which he said would be absorbed by Celebrity's rapid growth, with the fourth member of the five-ship Solstice Class, the Celebrity Silhouette, set to debut in July 2011.

"We have abundant opportunities for the fine crew on Celebrity Mercury to transfer to another Celebrity ship," Hanrahan said.

The Mercury will complete its scheduled sailings with Celebrity through February 14, 2011. Any passengers booked beyond that date have the option to either cancel their booking or move to any other Mercury sailing from Baltimore between Oct. 18 and Feb. 14, with the exception of the Dec. 20 itinerary.

Passengers who move their bookings will receive an onboard credit of $75 per cabin for inside or ocean-view accommodations, $100 per cabin for balcony or Concierge Class accommodations or $200 per suite.

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