AIDA Cruises Coronavirus update
AIDA Cruises suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all liners) cancelling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 14 through October 31, 2020 (previously through April 30, May 31, July 31, August 31 and September 30). Operations are planned to resume on October 17 (7-day Mediterranean from Civitavecchia-Rome, through Nov 28) and fleetwide on November 1.
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 cancelled as the flag-state (Italy) delayed its approval for the restart. Due to the ongoing travel restriction in Europe, AIDA extended its passenger shipping pause through November 1 (AIDAmar and AIDAperla/Canary Islands), December 11 (AIDAprima/Red Sea-UAE) and December 12 (AIDAstella/Mediterranean).
In early-June, AIDA cancelled all Canada and USA voyages scheduled for 2020. The latest cancellation affected 2 liners - AIDAluna (homeported in NYC) and AIDAdiva (departures from NYC and Montreal).
On July 9, AIDA announced that will restart operations with three liners and "cruises to nowhere" - roundtrips from Germany on Baltic Sea itineraries that don't have transit/call ports. In the meantime, if some seaports reopen for cruise vessels, these destinations could be eventually included in the itinerary. These "nowhere cruise ships" are 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.
Due to delayed flag-state (Italy) approval for passenger shipping, AIDA cancelled four of the scheduled for early-August short cruises - on AIDAperla (Hamburg-roundtrips Aug 5-8, Aug 8-12 and Aug 12-15) and on AIDAmar (Warnemunde roundtrip Aug 12-16). Following the latest cancellations, AIDA planned to restart cruises on August 15 with AIDAperla (leaving from Hamburg). On August 16 were scheduled AIDAblu (from Kiel) and AIDAmar (from Warnemunde).
In mid-September, AIDA announced a special (Oct 17 through Nov 28) Mediterranean program based on 7-day roundtrips from Civitavecchia (overnight) visiting Sicily (Palermo and Catania), Naples and La Spezia.
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
IMPORTANT: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, AIDA Cruises suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all liners) cancelling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 14 through October 31, 2020 (previously through April 30, May 31, July 31, August 31 and September 30). Operations are planned to resume on October 17 (7-day Mediterranean from Civitavecchia-Rome, through Nov 28) and fleetwide on November 1. 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 cancelled as the flag-state (Italy) delayed its approval for the restart. Due to the ongoing travel restriction in Europe, AIDA extended its passenger shipping pause through November 1 (AIDAmar and AIDAperla/Canary Islands), December 11 (AIDAprima/Red Sea-UAE) and December 12 (AIDAstella/Mediterranean).
- In early-June, AIDA cancelled all its Canada and USA voyages scheduled for 2020. The latest cancellation affected 2 liners - AIDAluna (homeported in NYC) and AIDAdiva (with departures from NYC and Montreal).
- On July 9, AIDA announced that will restart operations with three liners and "cruises to nowhere" - roundtrips from Germany on Baltic Sea itineraries that don't have transit/call ports. In the meantime, if some seaports reopen for cruise vessels, these destinations could be eventually included in the itinerary. These "nowhere cruise ships" are 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.
- Due to delayed flag-state (Italy) approval for passenger shipping, AIDA cancelled four of the scheduled for early-August short cruises - on AIDAperla (Hamburg-roundtrips Aug 5-8, Aug 8-12 and Aug 12-15) and on AIDAmar (Warnemunde roundtrip Aug 12-16). Following the latest cancellations, AIDA planned to restart cruises on August 15 with AIDAperla (leaving from Hamburg). On August 16 were scheduled AIDAblu (from Kiel) and AIDAmar (from Warnemunde).
- In mid-September, AIDA announced a special (Oct 17 through Nov 28) Mediterranean program based on 7-day roundtrips from Civitavecchia (overnight) visiting Sicily (Palermo and Catania), Naples and La Spezia.
- 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 (website) is a German cruise line, British-American owned, 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 cruise line to offer year-round cruises leaving from Germany. The company's current President is Felix Eichhorn.
The following table shows statistical data about AIDA's market share (as fleet and passenger capacity / ship-berth numbers) in comparison to other major cruise companies.
|Parent Company||Subsidiaries||Fleets (vessels per brand)||Passenger Capacity (berths per brand)|
|Carnival Corp||Holland America||15||25900|
|Carnival Corp||P&O UK||8||18600|
|Carnival Corp||P&O Australia||5||8200|
|Carnival Corp||TOTAL||103 ships||233,200 berths|
|RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd)||RCI (Royal Caribbean International)||26||84,700|
|RCCL||TOTAL||64 ships||141400 berths|
|NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd)||NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines)||16||46600|
|NCLH||TOTAL||26 ships||54400 berths|
|(other large brands)|
3- Star Cruises (GHK)
4- Dream Cruises (GHK)
6- Viking Ocean
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 a capacity of over 2,500 staterooms. They join AIDA Cruises fleet in 2019 and 2020.
As a pioneer in the 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 a new generation of LNG-powered ships using 100% LNG (liquefied natural gas), thus eliminating emissions of sulfur oxides and soot particles.
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.
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 elegant atmosphere.
The cruise company puts the 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.
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".
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).
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).
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).
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 is departing from Corfu on a brand new butterfly route in the eastern Mediterranean. The first route includes Piraeus, Santorini, Crete, Brindisi in Apulia, while the other features 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.
The second edition of the AIDA Cruises catalogue “My hotel shows me the world” for the 2020 season offered an overview of the 3rd AIDA world voyage aboard AIDAaura and introduced the brand new route aboard AIDAmira.
The portfolio has been further extended via additional sailings with AIDAmar, AIDAprima, and AIDAstella in April 2020. Extra dates for the “North European Metropolises” city cruises aboard AIDAmar from Hamburg and Rotterdam are added in April 2020. The 7-day journey around the Canaries and Madeira aboard AIDAstella is also available for an extra date in April 2020. AIDAprima is starting a further trip from Abu Dhabi in April.
In June 2019, AIDA Cruises announced new world cruise routes aboard its AIDAaura in winter 2020-2021. Passengers can look forward to exciting cruise holidays in South America, the South Seas, South Africa, and New Year’s Eve in Sydney.
- AIDAaura sets sail from Hamburg, Germany on October 26, 2020. After a 36-day sailing, the ship reaches San Antonio, Chile. In between AIDAaura visits 12 destinations including the English Channel, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, and Cape Horn. The voyage ends on December 1, 2020.
- The second leg of the voyage starts from Chile and heads west to Mauritius. The 48-day sailing between December 1, 2020 - January 18, 2021, takes in destinations like Bora Bora, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji. Australian ports of call include the metropolises of Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne. A highlight is New Year’s Eve in Sydney. AIDAaura continues her cruise across the Indian Ocean to Mauritius.
- The 3rd leg (January 18, 2021, from Mauritius) is 33-day itinerary that firstly heads for Madagascar. In Antsiranana and Nosy Be AIDAaura guests have enough time during shore excursions. Table Mountain and the view from Lion’s Head in Cape Town, along with the animal world of the savannas and the gigantic sand dunes of the Namib Desert, are just a few of the highlights in Southern Africa. On her way back to Europe, AIDAaura makes a stop in Gambia. The voyage continues on to Gran Canaria, Vigo, and Cherbourg, before finishing in Hamburg on February 20, 2021.
The latest edition of “My hotel shows me the world” also presents itineraries with AIDAmira for the very first time. As part of the line's Selection program, AIDAmira guests have the chance to experience the wonders of southern Africa. AIDA Cruises provides a preview of the 2020 summer season, and a selection of the most popular voyages for summer 2020, with routes in Northern Europe, Baltic, Mediterranean, and North America.
On February 26, 2020, bookings opened for AIDAbella and AIDAvita sailings in spring 2020. AIDA is offering journeys to popular destinations in the Orient and the Mediterranean with both ships. From March 10 through April 30, 2020, AIDAbella is scheduled to depart from Palma de Mallorca to sail in the western Mediterranean on 4- to 5-day journeys that may also be combined into one 9-day voyage. Highlights include Rome (Civitavecchia) and Barcelona. Further destinations, like Sete (French Camargue region), Olbia (Sardinia), and Ajaccio (Corsica), are also on the programme. On May 4, 2020, the liner is departing from Palma on her 13-day transfer cruise to Kiel where the summer season starts on May 17, 2020.
With AIDAvita, passengers can explore thousands of years old sheikdoms and modern metropolises of the Orient, beginning on March 7 or 16, 2020. The port of departure/arrival is Dubai with an overnight stay right at the beginning of the sailings. The further programme includes fascinating destinations like Doha (Qatar) and Khalifa Bin Salman (Manama, Bahrain). With Khasab and Muscat, two ports are visited in Oman. AIDAvita is spending an overnight in Abu Dhabi with a lot of time for excursions in the region around the metropolis or relaxing hours on the beach. Following a visit to the shipyard in Dubai, the ship begins her spring and summer season. On April 14, AIDAvita is heading for the 19-day transfer cruise from Dubai to Palma de Mallorca.
(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 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.
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