A visit to AidaPrima – April 2016
I was fortunate to visit Aida Cruises AidaPrima on her inaugral visit to Southampton recently.
AidaPrima is the newest and largest ship in the Aida fleet, benefitting from a number of both line and industry firsts. She has 18 decks catering primarily for the German cruise market, with 15 dining options, indoor and outdoor pools, together with bars, cafes and shops.
She is the first ship in the cruise industry to utilise a dual fuel system, being able to run off of both diesel as well as LNG fuel (although this is limited to ports as there is no LNG storage available on board). This enables a much more fuel efficient operation of the ship, together with other environmental measures that control fuel economy, including an air lubrication system and of course the impressive bow. The bow itself divides opinion, and at first I wasn’t a big fan of it, however, having seen it up close I have to say I now quite like it.
Building on the design of her fleetmates, she has an unorthodox cruise ship internal structure, where classic areas such as the theatre have been reimagined – creating spaces such as the Theatrium, which combines a theatre with the atrium, or ‘heart’, of the ship. Other interesting multifunctional spaces include the Beach Club, an indoor UV-permeable space that during the day allows for people to relax in warm temperatures whatever port the ship is visiting, whilst at night the venue transforms into a disco with entertainment and laser shows. Another interesting venue is the 4 Elements (plus the fifth element bar), which serves as a multi-functional family area with water slides, a lazy river, a family restaurant, ropes course and direct access to the on board kids programme. Perhaps the most unique venue of all, and only found on AidaPrima, is the exclusive spray bar. The bar, sponsored by Moet & Chandon, is a secluded intimate space at the front of the ship that can only accessed via prebooking a slot, and has an outdoor space right at the bow of the ship. Other unique features include a Lanai promenade deck with access to restaurants and infinity pools, the longest indoor water slide at sea, together with a glass sky walk with views over the Lanai deck and the wake of the ship.
The ship features a number of a-la-carte and speciality restaurants including: French Kiss, a speciality French brasserie; Restaurante Casa Nova, a venetianspeciality resutaurant; Brauhaus, serving hearty Bavarian dishes; Buffalo Steakhouse, serving a range of steaks and burgers; Rossini, serving a fine dining experience; and a Sushi Bar. There are also a number of buffet and market style eateries across the ship, including the new Fuego, a family restaurant adjacent to the 4 Elements activity area. Finally there are also a number of snack bars such as a Tapas bar and then Scharfe Ecke, specialising in Currywurst.
It was great to experience the Aida way of cruising for a day, and AidaPrima is a very interesting ship, with a very intriguing design for the German-speaking market. I can definitely see how she is being used as a testbed for ideas, particularly areas such as LNG, which will inevitably cross-pollinate into new builds elsewhere, including the four new ships proposed for Costa and Aida to be built by Meyer in Germany and Turku over the next few years.
AidaPrima will sail year-round weekly itineraries from Hamburg to Northern Europe, calling at Southampton, Le Havre (Paris), Zeebrugge (Bruges) and Rotterdam.
For more information please go here.
More photos can be found on my Flickr
Images © Marcus Adams and Aida Cruises 2016