AIDA Cruises

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Review of AIDA Cruises

AIDA Cruises is a German cruise line, British-American owned, based in Rostock (Germany). Founded originally as Deutsche Seereederei, in the 1960s the company entered cruise industry. In 2000, AIDA Kreuzfahrten was purchased by "P&O Princess Cruises". After 2003's company merger of Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess (forming Carnival Corporation & plc), the executive control of AIDA was transferred to Costa Group, responsible for Carnival Group's European brands. On June 7, 2015 (AIDAcara's birthday), AIDA celebrated the company's 20th anniversary. AIDA was the first cruise line to offer year-round cruises leaving from Germany.

AIDA Cruises logo

AIDA Cruises continues its long-standing partnership with the German shipbuilder Meyer Werft in Papenburg Germany with an order for two new next-generation vessels (still unnamed). Each of them exceeds 180,000 GT tons and has capacity of over 2,500 staterooms. They join AIDA Cruises fleet in 2019 and 2020.

As a pioneer in cruise industry, AIDA also sets an example for environmental protection through its revolutionary design. By initiating the “Green Cruising” concept, AIDA became the world's first cruise company to operate new generation of LNG-powered ships using 100% LNG (liquefied natural gas), thus eliminating emissions of sulfur oxides and soot particles.

new AIDA cruise ship design (AIDAprima, AIDAperla)

Currently, AIDA Cruises has its own executive team. AIDA ships cater to German-speaking cruisers and are renowned for their casual service and youthful style. German is the language that is spoken onboard AIDA cruise ships, so company’s passengers consist mainly of Germans and German-speaking Europeans (Swiss and Austrians). AIDA passengers tend to be young and active, as the seagoing AIDA “club resorts” offer many amenities and facilities attracting younger vacationers.

new AIDA cruise ship design (AIDAprima, AIDAperla)

AIDA Cruises dining is entirely open-seating. It takes place in two or three self-service restaurants. There is no main dining room onboard, so the buffets are executed with remarkable finesse for such mass-market ships. Those passengers who get tired of all buffet meals are free to try the la carte restaurant which pampers with high-quality cuisine in elegant atmosphere.

new AIDA cruise ship design (AIDAprima, AIDAperla)

AIDA puts the emphasis on the ultra-casual cruise experience. Unlike other cruise ships, the crew off-duty are allowed to mingle with passengers. The AIDA Cruises company aims also on fitness and wellness activities in the popular AIDA Fit & Fun and Spa, and on the expansive decks. There is lively entertainment at night in the theatre. The well-patronized lounges and bars create an easygoing, festive atmosphere.

new AIDA cruise ship design (AIDAprima, AIDAperla)

New AIDA Helios-Class cruise ships

AIDA's newest class of cruise vessels (succeeding the Hyperion-Class ships AIDAprima and AIDAperla) is called "Helios-class".

new AIDA Helios cruise ship (AIDAnova)

These are LNG-powered cruise ships produced by Meyer Werft, with gross tonage 183,900 GT and passenger capacity 5200 (lower berths / 6600 max). The first of the new vessels (AIDAnova) will be delivered in December 2018, while the second (still unnamed) is scheduled for Spring 2021.

Each vessel has 21 cabin categories (including Penthouse Suite, Family and Single-occupancy staterooms), 17 restaurants (including self-serve, a-la-carte priced and 5 speciality), sports deck / deck 16 (water park with 1 slide, mini golf course, ropes course), pool deck (will retractable glass roof and beach-club complex), 2-deck / 2-level Promenade Deck (connected via stairs).

new AIDA Helios cruise ship (AIDAnova)

In July 2015, Carnival Corporation signed a shipbuilding agreement with Meyer Werft for the construction of all 4 new class vessels. Of these 4 new cruise liners, 2 are for Costa Cruises and the other 2 for AIDA. The 4-vessel contract was part of a previously announced larger shipbuilding order with Fincantieri (Italy) and Meyer Werft for all 9 new vessels with scheduled deliveries between 2019 and 2022. Costa ships were built in Turku Finland, AIDA ships - in Papenburg Germany.

Managed by Costa Group, the Costa and AIDA combinjed fleet became Europe's largest. In 2014, one out of every two cruise ship tourists in Europe sailed on either AIDA or Costa ship. In 2015, Costa Group had 20 offices in 14 countries, around 27,000 shipbard employees and total passenger capacity of over 68,000 berths (across the combined fleet).

AIDA cruise ship robots

An innovative AIDA and Costa Cruises program implemented latest cyborg technology fleetwide. Humanoid robots greet and guide passengers upon embarkation. They also assist them throughout the cruise by providing information and tips on dining (restaurants, bars), entertainment (lounges, scheduled events, presentations, promotions), shore excursions and tours (offered in ports of call along the cruise ship itinerary).

These robots (named “Pepper”) are able to communicate in 3 different languages (English, German, Italian), to move fluidly and even to interpret human emotions by analyzing voice tones and face expressions.

pepper robot - CruiseMapper

Designed by the companies ALDEBARAN and SoftBank, the Pepper robot was launched in Japan (June 2014) as the world’s first “emotional” robot. The machine's main statistics are:

  • height 120 cm / 4 ft
  • weight 28 kg / 62 pounds
  • 3x wheels (omnidirectional)
  • 17x joints
  • 1x 3D depth sensor
  • 2x HD cameras
  • 4x microphones
  • touch sensors (in its head and hands)
  • a 10-inch (25 cm) touch screen

The new technology was first tested on AIDAstella where Pepper learned to engage with passengers and crew. The first set of robots were introduced on Costa Diadema and AIDAprima in April 2016. By the end of summer 2016, Pepper robots were added on all AIDA and Costa ships.

AIDA's LNG-powered cruise ships

The AIDAprima ship's first successful test run for LNG supply was in Hamburg Germany on May 7, 2016. While berthed, the ship was successfully provided with LNG at all the itinerary's ports of call (Hamburg, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Southampton, Zeebrugge).

LNG cruise ship propulsion scheme (Rolls-Royce design)

  • Company's statistics show that the AIDA ship spends about 40% of its operating time in ports. Compared to using conventional marine diesel (0,1% sulfur content), by using LNG the vessel's emissions were considerably reduced even further - Sulfur oxides and soot particles were prevented completely (while in port), nitrogen oxide emission were reduced by up to 80%, CO2 emissions were lowered by 20%.
  • The AIDA ships (produced by Meyer shipyard in Papenburg) are 100% LNG-powered.
  • AIDA Cruises invested in research and testing of LNG cruise ship technologies since 2015. In 2013, AIDA collaborated on LNG hybrid barges with Becker Marine Systems. The innovative and flexible solution is used on ships moored in Port Hamburg.
  • Since May 30, 2015, AIDAsol is regularly supplied with low-emission LNG power at Hamburg's Hafencity Cruise Terminal.
  • AIDA ships use just 3 liters (0,8 US gallons) of fuel on average per person on board for a 100 km (62 ml) trip. This was confirmed by an independent expert study in 2012.
  • Thanks to the use of new technologies and the economical handling of resources, additional progress was made. Company's statistics for 2016 (over 2012) showed 9% less energy used per person on board, reduced water consumption per person on board (by 7,2%) and reduced CO2 emissions (by 7,7%).

Itinerary of AIDA Cruises

Following the delivery of the "Japanese" ships AIDAprima (2016) and AIDAperla (2017), for the first time in its history the company had booked over 2 million Germans. AIDA operates the German vacation cruising market with 12 vessels cruising to 130 different itinerary routes and visiting over 250 ports of call worldwide.

For the first time for AIDA 2016-2017 cruise season, Canary Islands itineraries can be booked in summer months. The new routes combine the Azores and the Canary Islands.

For winter 2016-2017, AIDA Cruises will head to northern Norway, sailing on 14-day cruises from Hamburg. El Hierro was the new destination in the Canary Islands itineraries for AIDA Cruises, while Saint Thomas and Costa Maya in Mexico were the new ports of call in the Caribbean.

AIDA 2017 summer program includes “Highlights in the Arctic Circle” cruise, “Norway’s fjords” and “Norway with Lofoten and North Cape”.

  • AIDAaura – Caribbean, Mediterranean, Canada, Black Sea & Greece, Southeast Asia, Transatlantic. In 2016 is re-deployed to Northern Europe and sailing from a German homeport. AIDA Cruises re-shuffled its 2016 summer deployment for AIDAstella and AIDAaura. AIDAaura adds ex-German itineraries instead of weekly voyages from Palma de Mallorca as orginally planned. The ship will be based on a variety of North Europe sailings mainly departing from Kiel, Germany. Cruise durations vary between 2 and 21 days. A  21-day itinerary, departing from Kiel to Greenland on June 30, includes maiden calls at Nuuk and Sisimiut, as well as a Prins Christian Sund passage. AIDAaura will embark on her North Europe season with a transfer sailing from Palma to Hamburg on April 30. On May 7 the ship will arrive in Germany, which coincides with Hamburg's anniversary festivities, and begins operating to Svalbard, Norway, Shetland and Iceland as well as to the Baltic until late in September - the end of the North Europe season. AIDA Cruises will also offer AIDAaura mini-cruises as appetizers to appeal to new guests. 2-day cruises to Copenhagen from Kiel and 4-day itineraries to Oslo, Gothenburg and Copenhagen, will be available in May, June and September. The unexpected arrival of AIDAaura is boosting volumes at Kiel, which had expected the number of cruise calls to drop this year. Currently, the port of Kiel is facing a record season, with the number of calls scheduled up to 139. 
  • AIDAbella – Caribbean, Western Mediterranean and North Africa, Northern Europe, Canary Islands, New York to Canada, Transatlantic; In 2017 AIDAbella was homeported in China for year-round cruises from Shanghai
  • AIDAblu – Western Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Red Sea, Asia, Canary Islands
  • AIDAcara – Northern Europe, Canary Islands, South America, New York, the Dominican Republic, Transatlantic
  • AIDAdiva – Southeast Asia, Eastern Mediterranean – Greece, Turkey, Egypt
  • AIDAluna – Bermuda & Bahamas, USA West Coast, Southern Caribbean, Northern Europe & Iceland, Transatlantic
  • AIDAmar – Western Mediterranean, Western & Northern Europe, Red Sea, Asia
  • AIDAnova - 7-day cruises to Canaries and Madeira Island
  • AIDAperla – 7-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Palma de Malorca
  • AIDAprima – departures from Hamburg weekly on “metropolitan” voyages. She is the first ship to offer cruises from Germany year round.
  • AIDAsol – Northern Europe & UK, Western Mediterranean, Canary Islands
  • AIDAstella – UK, Western & Northern Europe, Canary Islands; In January 2016 AIDA Cruises adjusted its 2016 Europe deployment, opting to pull the ship from the Eastern Med, citing terrorist acts in Turkey. AIDAstella will be re-deployed to the Western Med, and will take over the routes of AIDAaura and offer sailings from Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The ship will make an overnight in Barcelona and will visit Ibiza, Corisca and Cannes. AIDAstella was originally scheduled on a 7-day cruise program for the summer 2016, turning around in Antalya with calls in Limassol, Haifa, Santorini, Marmaris.
  • AIDAvita – Caribbean and South America, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic. On her new itinerary in 2016 “Norway with Lofoten and North Cape”, AIDAvita guests will explore three new destinations: north of the Arctic Circle (Bodø), Norway (Haugesund), and Denmark (Århus).

September is the time for Oktoberfest, and not just in the capital city of Free State of Bavaria. For the start of the world’s biggest and most popular festival, AIDA Cruises is bringing the fun of Oktoberfest onboard. Passengers onboard the entire AIDA fleet can look forward to real festival atmosphere with all of Munich’s tradition. This will be provided by top acts like DJ Ötzi onboard AIDAperla and Micki Krause on AIDAprima, each from September 23 to 30, 2017. The guests onboard of the two ships await a colorful music and entertainment program dedicated to Bavarian People’s Festival.

AIDA World Cruise 2017

In 2017, AIDA Cruises had the company's ever first around the world voyage on the ship AIDAcara.

  • The 116-days long World Cruise (itinerary October 17, 2017 through February 10, 2018) visited a total of 41 ports in 23 different countries on 5 continents. The route was westbound, featuring 1 Transatlantic crossing and 1 Suez Canal transit.
  • The unique voyage was roundtrip from hamburg Germany, and included the following ports of call: Hamburg (departure), Sea Day, Southampton, Sea Day, Lisbon, Sea Day, Funchal Madeira, Sea Day, Praia Cape Verde, Sea Day, Recife Brazil, Sea Day, Rio de Janeiro, Sea Day, Montevideo Uruguay, Buenos Aires Argentina, Sea Day, Puerto Madryn, Sea Day, Ushuaia, Sea Day, Punta Arenas, Sea Day, Puerto Montt, Sea Day, Valparaiso-Santiago Chile, Sea Day, Robinson Crusoe Island, Sea Day, Hangaroa, Sea Day, Bounty Bay, Sea Day, Papeete Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Sea Day, Waitangi, Auckland New Zealand, Sea Day, Sydney Australia, Sea Day, Cairns, Sea Day, Darwin, Sea Day, Komodo Island, Lembar, Bali, Sea Day, Singapore, Port Klang, Langkawi, Sea Day, Colombo Sri Lanka, Sea Day, Male Maldives, Sea Day, Salalah, Sea Day, Aqaba, Suez Canal, Limassol, Sea Day, Valletta Malta, Sea Day, Malaga, Sea Day, Leixões, Ferrol, Sea Day, Honfleur France, Sea Day, Hamburg (disembarkation).
  • AIDA's 2017 world cruise prices started from USD 15,580 pp (double occupancy inside cabin rates).

AIDA World Cruise 2018

On July 21, 2017, were opened bookings for AIDA's second world cruise on AIDAaura leaving from Hamburg on October 8, 2018.

  • The 117-days long itinerary (October 8, 2018, through February 2, 2019) had scheduled a total of 41 ports in 20 different countries on 5 continents. Many of the visited destinations were maiden calls, inclusing South Africa, Namibia, South pacific (Melbourne Australia, Tasmania, Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia). Among the most popular port destinations along the itinerary route are South America (Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Buenos Aires Argentina, Ushuaia Chile), Santiago Chile, Easter Island, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Samoa, French Polynesia. Sydney Australia, Tasmania, Fremantle-Perth Australia, Madagascar, South Africa, Namibia.
  • Passengers will also enjoy an onboard New Year’s Eve party while the ship is in Mauritius.
  • AIDA's 2018 world cruise pricess started from EUR 12,995 pp (USD 15,360 pp /inside cabin) and from EUR 16,565 pp (USD USD 19,580 pp / oceanview cabin).

(animal cruelty) Faroe Islands cruise boycott

In mid-July 2016, AIDA became one of the three cruise ship companies (together with Disney and Hapag-Lloyd) that banned Faroe Islands (a Danish territory) as destination part of their North European itineraries.

The boycott is due to the island nation's traditional mass slaughter of pilot whales each year. The protected by Denmark gruesome practice of killing whales is called “Grindadrap Grind". Locals use motor boats to drive a pod of whales into a harbor. The defenseless animals are dragged to the shallow water and brutally slaughtered by locals armed with knives (16-19 cm / 6 8 inch long) while their families cheer them on. The killing party even rip out baby whales from their mothers.

Faroe Islands have population of about 50,000 and kill each year over 1,000 pilot whales. You can see the cruise ship schedule of Torshavn - Faroes most visited port. All cruise lines with scheduled visits to the Faroes are accused of supporting the brutal whaling practices. Whaling is still officially approved and carried out by the "civilized" countries Japan, Norway and Iceland, killing over 2000 whales each year and trading in whale products.

AIDA's response was to the new "Faroese Pilot Whaling Act" by the local government, which continues to allow pilot whales to be culled or massacred. It also empowers local authorities to imprison (for up to 2 years) people found guilty of impeding these whaling activities - despite all the international condemnations.

Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace are among the largest organizations taking direct actions against the "Faroese Pilot Whaling Act". Most of the available online haunting images of slaughtered whales lying in a sea of blood are released by these organizations.

AIDA was the first of the major cruise companies to ban Faroe Islands as cruise destination. The move was a serious blow to the local tourism industry.

AIDA Cruises related cruise news