AIDA Cruises

History, Review, Itineraries, Ships, Deck Plans, News

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AIDA Cruises Coronavirus update

AIDA Cruises suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all liners) canceling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 14, 2020, through late-April 2021. Operations temporarily resumed on October 17 with AIDAblu (7-day Mediterranean from Civitavecchia-Rome, through Nov 28) and fleetwide on November 1. However, on Oct 29, due to Germany's imposed public life and travel restrictions, AIDA canceled all voyages through Nov 30. AIDAperla and AIDAmar were scheduled for 7-day ex-Gran Canaria roundtrips (in the Canaries) starting December 5, but the program was canceled. AIDAprima's Dubai 2021 winter program was canceled.

Initially, as exceptions were announced the ships Perla (Aug 12, from Hamburg), Diva (Aug 15, from Warnemunde-Rostock) and Prima (Aug 15, from Kiel). However, these departures were canceled as the flag-state (Italy) delayed its approval for the restart. Eventually, AIDA extended its passenger shipping pause through August 2021 (fleetwide thru August).

Next are listed all AIDA shps and their first departure dates/regions in 2021 - AIDAperla (Mar 20/Canaries), AIDAnova (Aug 7/Baltic from Kiel), AIDAsol (May 22/cruises to nowhere from Kiel), AIDAmar (July 31/Baltic from Hamburg), AIDAblu (May 30/Greece from Corfu), AIDAluna (Sept 4/Iceland-Norway from Kiel), AIDAstella (July 29/Mediterranean from Palma de Majorca), AIDAprima (July 31/Baltic from Kiel), AIDAaura (April 15, 2022/UK from Hamburg), AIDAdiva (Oct 16/Baltic from Warnemunde), AIDAvita (Feb 19, 2022/Canaries from Hamburg), AIDAmira (April 15, 2022/Eastern Mediterranean from Heraklion Crete), AIDAbella (Sept 5/Baltic from Kiel), AIDAcosma (December 22/repositioning Hamburg to Las Palmas, Canaries/Maiden Voyage).

  • On July 9, 2020, AIDA announced that will restart operations with three liners and cruises to nowhere (portless itineraries with roundtrips from Germany). AIDA's "nowhere ships" were AIDAperla (August 12 / 3-nights from Hamburg), AIDAmar (August 12, from Warnemunde) and AIDAblu (August 16 / 4-nights from Kiel). Bookings were opened on July 9.
  • In June 2021 was canceled AIDAcosma's Arabian season (Dubai homeporting) and replaced with Canary Islands (7-day roundtrips from Tenerife and Gran Canaria).
  • In July 2021 were canceled the winter 2021-2022 programs of AIDAaura (South Africa from Cape Town), AIDAvita (including two 43-day roundtrips from Hamburg to the Caribbean and Bermuda), AIDAmira (Aegean Islands from Heraklion Crete).
  • IMPORTANT: On June 23, 2021, Carnival Corporation (shipowner) announced that AIDAcara has been sold (to an undisclosed buyer). The 1996-built (as Clubschiff) boat left the fleet after 25 years of service. Cara was AIDA's first-ever vessel.

All affected bookings received full refunds, including on prepurchased through AIDA packages and services. For the period, all the company's employees had the options to either remain onboard or leave the vessel and return home (without terminating the job contract with AIDA Kreuzfahrten). All affected bookings received 110% refund in FCC (future cruise credit). The FCC can be used for rebooking on any cruise ship / itinerary (fleetwide) with departure through December 31, 2021. The FCC is redeemable for MyAIDA (pre-purchasing shore excursions, onboard specialty dining and wellness services) or can be transferred to OBC (onboard credit).

AIDA Cruises fleet

Review of AIDA Cruises

Due to the Coronavirus crisis, AIDA Cruises suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all liners) canceling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 14, 2020, through late-April 2021. Operations temporarily resumed on October 17 with AIDAblu (7-day Mediterranean from Civitavecchia-Rome, through Nov 28) and fleetwide on November 1. However, on Oct 29, due to Germany's imposed public life and travel restrictions, AIDA canceled all voyages through Nov 30. AIDAperla and AIDAmar were scheduled for 7-day ex-Gran Canaria roundtrips (in the Canaries) starting December 5, but the program was canceled. AIDAprima's Dubai 2021 winter program was canceled.

Initially, as exceptions were announced the ships Perla (Aug 12, from Hamburg), Diva (Aug 15, from Warnemunde-Rostock) and Prima (Aug 15, from Kiel). However, these departures were canceled as the flag-state (Italy) delayed its approval for the restart. Eventually, AIDA extended its passenger shipping pause through August 2021 (fleetwide thru August).

Next are listed all AIDA shps and their first departure dates/regions in 2021 - AIDAperla (Mar 20/Canaries), AIDAnova (Aug 7/Baltic from Kiel), AIDAsol (May 22/cruises to nowhere from Kiel), AIDAmar (July 31/Baltic from Hamburg), AIDAblu (May 30/Greece from Corfu), AIDAluna (Sept 4/Iceland-Norway from Kiel), AIDAstella (July 29/Mediterranean from Palma de Majorca), AIDAprima (July 31/Baltic from Kiel), AIDAaura (April 15, 2022/UK from Hamburg), AIDAdiva (Oct 16/Baltic from Warnemunde), AIDAvita (Feb 19, 2022/Canaries from Hamburg), AIDAmira (April 15, 2022/Eastern Mediterranean from Heraklion Crete), AIDAbella (Sept 5/Baltic from Kiel), AIDAcosma (December 22/repositioning Hamburg to Las Palmas, Canaries/Maiden Voyage).

  • On July 9, 2020, AIDA announced that will restart operations with three liners and cruises to nowhere (portless itineraries with roundtrips from Germany). AIDA's "nowhere ships" were AIDAperla (August 12 / 3-nights from Hamburg), AIDAmar (August 12, from Warnemunde) and AIDAblu (August 16 / 4-nights from Kiel). Bookings were opened on July 9.
  • In June 2021 was canceled AIDAcosma's Arabian season (Dubai homeporting) and replaced with Canary Islands (7-day roundtrips from Tenerife and Gran Canaria).
  • In July 2021 were canceled the winter 2021-2022 programs of AIDAaura (South Africa from Cape Town), AIDAvita (including two 43-day roundtrips from Hamburg to the Caribbean and Bermuda), AIDAmira (Aegean Islands from Heraklion Crete).
  • IMPORTANT: On June 23, 2021, Carnival Corporation (shipowner) announced that AIDAcara has been sold (to an undisclosed buyer). The 1996-built (as Clubschiff) boat left the fleet after 25 years of service. Cara was AIDA's first-ever vessel.

All affected bookings received full refunds, including on prepurchased through AIDA packages and services. For the period, all the company's employees had the options to either remain onboard or leave the vessel and return home (without terminating the job contract with AIDA Kreuzfahrten). All affected bookings received 110% refund in FCC (future cruise credit). The FCC can be used for rebooking on any cruise ship / itinerary (fleetwide) with departure through December 31, 2021. The FCC is redeemable for MyAIDA (pre-purchasing shore excursions, onboard specialty dining and wellness services) or can be transferred to OBC (onboard credit).

Company history

AIDA Cruises (website) is a German cruise line brand, British-American owned and based in Rostock Germany. Founded originally as Deutsche Seereederei, in the 1960s the company entered the 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), AIDA's executive control 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 to offer year-round cruises leaving from Germany. The company's current President is Felix Eichhorn.

AIDA Cruises logo

AIDA Cruises continued its long-standing partnership with the shipbuilder Meyer Werft (Papenburg Germany) and ordered two new large-sized vessels (AIDAnova 2019, AIDAcosma 2021), each with 2500 staterooms and max pax capacity 5200.

As a pioneer in the ship cruising 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 a 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 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 the 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)

On all AIDA ships. dining is entirely open-seating and takes place in two or three complementary self-service restaurants. Being without MDRs (main dining rooms), the ship's buffet is the conceptual substitute. Passengers tired of the buffet meals can alternatively try the la carte restaurants pampering with high-quality gourmet cuisine and an elegant atmosphere.

new AIDA cruise ship design (AIDAprima, AIDAperla)

The company puts emphasis on the ultra-casual travel 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)

All AIDA ships have on their top-deck Freikorperkultur (FKK Bereich) - a fore-located Nudist Deck. This is a generously-sized outdoor area where naked passengers can enjoy sunbathing protected from the gaze of curious suitors. The special FKK deck area is located forward on the ship's top-deck. In most cruise ports, and especially in countries where the local culture doesn't allow nudism in public spaces (for example, Muslim countries), the ship's FKK deck can be accessed only in swimwear. On most AIDA liners, the FKK deck has 1 (or 2) whirlpools / hot tubs.

AIDA's 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 tonnage 183,900 GT and passenger capacity 5200 (lower berths / 6600 max). The first of the new vessels (AIDAnova) was delivered in December 2018, while the second (AIDAcosma) is scheduled for 2021-Q1.

On February 27, 2018, Carnival Corporation signed a shipbuilding contract for a 3rd AIDA ship (scheduled delivery in 2023). This was the 98th ship order for the cruise industry's global fleet (vessels in the order book 2018-2026). However, in June 2021 was announced that the newbuild will be assigned to the CCL-Carnival fleet.

 

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 combined Costa-AIDA 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 shipboard 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 the latest cyborg technology fleetwide. Humanoid robots (named Pepper) greet and guide passengers upon embarkation. They also assist them throughout the cruise by providing information and tips on shipboard dining, entertainment, pre-scheduled events, shore excursions, and tours.

Peper robots 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.

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 liners

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 was reduced by up to 80%, CO2 emissions were lowered by 20%.

The AIDA ships (produced by Meyer Papenburg) are 100% LNG-powered. AIDA 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%).

In August 2019, AIDA contracted the Candian stock-listed company Corvus Energy for delivery and installation fleetwide of world's largest ship battery-package ESS (Energy Storage System / air-cooled system with patented single-cell thermal isolation). Orca ESS (Corvus Energy's biggest battery pack) has capacity 6100 kW per hour - or double the capacity of currently largest battery-packed (electric) ferries. Battery power is combined with the vessel's powerplant and propulsion. AIDA's other partners for this project are ABB Marine & Ports (producer of Azipods/electric propulsion units) and Siemens AG (Europe's largest industrial manufacturing company).

AIDA fleet's Captains

These are the names of all the AIDA's Captains (ship Masters) by vessel as of 2020:

  • AIDAaura - Thomas Mey
  • AIDAbella - Erik Kirchner
  • AIDAblu- Tonnies Kohrs
  • AIDAcara - Sven Gartner
  • AIDAdiva - Panagiotis Mantzavinos
  • AIDAluna - Sven Laudan
  • AIDAmar - Martin Rittig
  • AIDAnova - Marc-Dominique Tidow
  • AIDAmira - Nikola Dolfi
  • AIDAperla - Tommy Moller
  • AIDAprima - Przemyslaw Kurc
  • AIDAsol - Jorg Miklitza
  • AIDAstella - Nikos Nitschai
  • AIDAvita - Carsten Watge

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.

  • AIDAaura – Caribbean, Mediterranean, Canada, Black Sea & Greece, Southeast Asia, Transatlantic.
  • AIDAbella – Caribbean, Western Mediterranean, and North Africa, Northern Europe, Canary Islands, New York to Canada, Transatlantic
  • AIDAblu – Western Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Red Sea, Asia, Canary Islands
  • AIDAcara – Northern Europe, Canary Islands, South America, New York, the Dominican Republic, Transatlantic
  • AIDAcosma (2021) - 7-day Baltic and Norway Fjords from Kiel Germany
  • 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
  • AIDAmira - in 2019, the ship Costa-neoRiviera left Costa to join AIDA Cruises as "AIDAmira". AIDAmira joined the "AIDA Selection" ships AIDAcara, AIDAvita, and AIDAaura. Prior to the AIDA service, neoRiviera was drydock refurbished and remodeled. Swimming pools were reduced from 3 to 2 (larger) with 2 large whirlpools on the sun deck. From the 624 staterooms, 96 are suites (80 with balconies). AIDAmira has 6 restaurants and 6 bars. The inaugural cruise was on December 4, 2019, leaving from Palma de Mallorca to South Africa for 14-day roundtrips from homeport Cape Town. Further ports of call included Durban, East London, and Luderitz on the edge of Namib desert. A highlight on the voyages were the multi-day stops at Walvis Bay in Namibia and in Cape Town. From May through September 2020, AIDAmira was scheduled to be departing from Corfu on a brand new butterfly route in the eastern Mediterranean. The first route included Piraeus, Santorini, Crete, Brindisi in Apulia, while the other featured Malta, Sicily, Crotone, Olympia, and Cephalonia. Both routes are easily combined and booked as a 14-day sailing.
  • AIDAnova (2018) - 7-day cruises to the Canaries and Madeira Island
  • AIDAperla – 7-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Palma de Mallorca
  • 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
  • AIDAvita – the Caribbean and South America, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic.

In May 2021, AIDA Cruises announced that its newest ship, AIDAcosma, would offer 7-day voyages around the Canary Islands in her debut season in winter 2021-2022. Before the start of the Canary Islands itinerary, AIDA Cruises sails a special voyage over Christmas & New Year’s Eve, with its AIDAcosma embarking on December 22, 2021, on a repositioning journey from Hamburg, Germany to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Passengers can experience New Year's Eve while in the harbor of Funchal Madeira with a view of its world-famous fireworks display. The sailings can be combined for an extended trip in the travel period December 22, 2021-January 8, 2022.

During the Canary Islands cruise season, AIDAcosma voyages are offered from January 5, 2022, through April 9, 2022. From April 13, 2022, the liner departs on a repositioning voyage towards the Mediterranean. Week-long cruises to Mediterranean destinations beginning in Palma de Mallorca (Majorca Island, Balearic Spain) / Barcelona are offered.

AIDAcosma’s sistership AIDAnova is scheduled to sail in the Arabian Gulf. On November 5, 2021, the repositioning voyage starts from Palma to Abu Dhabi UAE / Dubai (Port Rashid). The 7-day voyages in the Arabian Gulf are scheduled throughout the winter cruise season, starting November 26. Then on April 7, 2022, the AIDAnova ship is sailing back to Hamburg via the Mediterranean on various repositioning cruises.

Sailings with AIDAcosma departing between October 23-December 21, 2021, were cancelled.

AIDAprima expands her season in Hamburg Germany and calls at a variety of destinations in Western Europe from October 30, 2021, through April 2022.

Following the end of her Greece season, AIDAblu is to be deployed in the Canary Islands from November 2021 through the end of December 2021. At the beginning of 2022, she sets a course for the Mediterranean, offering 7-day voyages from Palma de Mallorca (Majorca Island, Balearic Spain) in January & February.

From the end of February 2022, Civitavecchia (Rome) Italy is the start and destination port for cruises to metropolises in Italy, followed by roundtrips from Corfu Greece through the archipelago, starting in April 2022.

Due to the ongoing travel restrictions in several regions and new AIDA offers, some cruises on AIDAbella, AIDAblu, AIDAdivaAIDAlunaAIDAmiraAIDAnova, AIDAprima, and AIDAvita, between August 2021-April 2022 cannot take place as originally scheduled or had to be adjusted. 

In August 2021, AIDA Cruises opened for booking its winter 2022-2023 winter program. The itineraries range from voyages to the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean to Northern Europe and South Africa cruises and getaways in the Mediterranean, the Orient, and around the Canary Islands.

(animal cruelty) The 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 a 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 motorboats 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.

 

The Faroe Islands have a 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 the Faroe Islands as a cruise destination. The move was a serious blow to the local tourism industry.

AIDA Cruises related cruise news

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