AIDA Cruises fleet
Review of AIDA Cruises
AIDA Cruises (aida.de) 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 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.
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 the primary spoken on all AIDA boats, because most pf the company's customers are German-speaking (germans, Swiss, Austrians). They tend to be young and active, as AIDA's seagoing "club resorts" offer many amenities and facilities attracting younger vacationers.
On all AIDA vessels. 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.
The company puts emphasis on the ultra-casual travel experience. Unlike other cruise ships, the crew off-duty are allowed to mingle with passengers. AIDA 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 liners 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.
HELIOS-Class ships (newest)
AIDA's newest class of cruise vessels (succeeding the Hyperion-Class ships AIDAprima and AIDAperla) is called "Helios-class".
These are LNG-powered ships produced by Meyer Turku, with GT-tonnage 183,900 tons and passenger capacity 5200 (lower berths / 6600 max). The first of the newbuilds (AIDAnova) was delivered in December 2018, the second (AIDAcosma) in April 2022.
On February 27, 2018, Carnival Corporation signed a shipbuilding contract for a 3rd unit for AIDA (delivery in 2023). This was the 98th cruise ship order for the industry's global fleet (order book 2018-2026). However, in June 2021 was announced that the newbuild (Carnival Jubilee) 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, 5x specialty), 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 68000+ berths (fleetwide).
AIDA cruise ship robots
An innovative AIDA and Costa program implemented the latest cyborg technology in both fleets. Humanoid robots (named Pepper) greet and guide passengers upon embarkation. They also assist them throughout the voyage by providing information and tips on shipboard dining, entertainment, pre-scheduled daily events, shore excursions/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 liners.
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
(Coronavirus crisis) passenger shipping pause 2020-2021
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 - AIDAperla (Mar 20, 2021/Canaries), AIDAnova (Aug 7, 2021/Baltic from Kiel), AIDAsol (May 22, 2021/cruises to nowhere from Kiel), AIDAmar (July 31, 2021/Baltic from Hamburg), AIDAblu (May 30, 2021/Greece from Corfu), AIDAluna (Sept 4, 2021/Iceland-Norway from Kiel), AIDAstella (July 29, 2021/Mediterranean from Palma de Majorca), AIDAprima (July 31, 2021/Baltic from Kiel), AIDAbella (Sept 5, 2021/Baltic from Kiel), AIDAdiva (Oct 16, 2021/Baltic from Warnemunde), AIDAaura (April 15, 2022/UK from Hamburg), AIDAvita (Mar 31, 2022/Norway from Hamburg), AIDAmira (April 15, 2022/Eastern Mediterranean from Heraklion Crete/canceled), AIDAcosma (February 26, 2022/Maiden Voyage from Hamburg).
- 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 2021 program (Arabian season from Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and the Canary Islands deployment (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 2x 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 a Russian buyer). The 1996-built (as Clubschiff) boat left the fleet after 25 years of service. Cara was AIDA's first-ever vessel.
- IMPORTANT: On June 14, 2022, was announced that the 20-year-old AIDAvita (2002-built) will not resume operations, being sold (to an undisclosed buyer) and leaving the fleet.
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).
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
- 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
- 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
In May 2021, AIDA 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 canceled.
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.
AIDA is sending 4 of its ships to the Caribbean during the 2021-2022 winter season. On October 16 AIDAsol started her 40-day journey “large Caribbean winter break” round-trip from Hamburg, Germany. The voyage heads from Hamburg to Cherbourg (France), La Coruna (Spain), and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (the Canaries), and on to the most beautiful Caribbean islands. ~12 days the ship stays in the Caribbean and calls among others at Barbados (Bridgetown), Castries (St. Lucia Island), the ABC islands, and Philipsburg (St Maarten Island, Dutch Antilles), prior to heading back to Europe. On her way back, AIDAsol visits Portugal (Ponta Delgada and Lisbon) and Le Havre (France). A couple of more 43-day AIDAsol cruises round-trip from Hamburg to the Caribbean with departures on November 25, 2021, and January 7, 2022, are also on the schedule. Passengers on the first sailing will spend New Year’s Eve in Lisbon.
AIDAluna followed on October 18, taking her passengers from Kiel (Germany) to the Caribbean. AIDAdiva is scheduled to depart from Warnemunde-Rostock (Germany) on October 26, while AIDAperla is due to set off from the Canaries to the Caribbean on November 6. All 3 AIDA ships sail the Caribbean on different routes between November 2021-March 2022.
For guests on AIDAdiva, the 14-day cruise takes them from La Romana (Dominicana) to Ocho Rios (Jamaica), Samana (Dominicana), and Tortola Island (Road Town, BVI). Stays on Cozumel (Quintana Roo Mexico, Riviera Maya) and along the Mexican Riviera in Costa Maya (Quintana Roo Mexico, Riviera Maya) are also on the program. Dream beaches await on St. Maarten and St. Kitts and Nevis, the sister islands of the Lesser Antilles. Onboard AIDAluna, round-trip from La Romana, guests can experience 14-day cruises with Caribbean destinations like the ABC and Virgin Islands. Calls at Antigua, surrounded by coral reefs, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Maarten follow on the program. The 14-day Caribbean voyage with AIDAperla round-trip La Romana (Dominican Republic)/Bridgetown (Barbados) takes the vacationers not only to the ABC Islands but to the Lesser Antilles.
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.
- With the line's newest ship, AIDAcosma, modern metropolises of the Orient and unique natural landscapes can be discovered. Commencing in Dubai (Port Rashid-Dubai Harbour, UAE)/Abu Dhabi UAE the passengers can walk on the traces of centuries-old traditions.
- In October 2022, AIDAsol embarks on her first World Cruise. Highlights of the 117-day voyage include rounding Cape Horn Chile and Cape of Good Hope as well as visiting destinations like Glacier Alley, Mauritius, Tierra del Fuego, Cape Town South Africa, New Year’s Eve in Sydney Australia. AIDAsol also makes first-time port calls at Suva Fiji, Nuku’alofa Tonga, Mystery Island Vanuatu, Ile des Pins New Caledonia, Geraldton Western Australia.
- AIDAluna, AIDAperla, and AIDAdiva are calling at destinations in the Caribbean.
- AIDAblu offers cruises in the Indian Ocean on 7 dates with visits to Mauritius, Seychelles, La Reunion, and Madagascar.
- Vacationers looking for an adventure in the far north can find it on the cruises to Norway from February through April 2023. From Hamburg Germany, AIDAsol is sailing into the country of the polar lights.
- In November, March, and April, AIDAprima is sailing on the metropolis tour out of Hamburg.
- AIDAaura is deployed in South Africa.
- AIDAbella is heading to Asia in the winter. From Bangkok (Laem Chabang), cruises are offered to Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.
(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.
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