AIDA Cruises re-shuffled its summer deployment for AIDAstella and AIDAaura. The 2,194-passenger AIDAstella switches from East to West Mediterranean due to security concerns in Turkey. AIDAaura adds ex-German itineraries instead of weekly voyages from Palma de Mallorca as orginally planned.
The 1,266-passenger AIDAaura 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.
The move of AIDA Cruises to drop capacity in the Eastern Mediterranean in favour of capacity expansion in North Europe and the Western Med goes along with a shift of the security-sensitive source market in Germany. Turkey is experiencing a drop of holiday bookings from the country. TUI soon announced landbased bookings 40% below the volume in 2015. In contrast, Portugal and Spain are experiencing a 40% increase, with Gran Canaria, Mallorca and Madeira gaining additional German holidaymakers.