In october of 2004, Carnival Corporation ordered two thirth-generation clubships for AIDA Cruises. This was to be a totally new class of ships, named the Sphinx-class and it was no multiple-brand design. Of course AIDA Cruises is so different in style from the other companies, that this also seemed impossible to use the same design for other brands within the Corporation. The first ship of the new class, AIDAdiva, was to be delivered in 2007, the second one was to be delivered in 2009. But just one month after the original order, a thirth ship was also ordered and she was to be delivered in between and sceduled for 2008 and she became the AIDAbella. AIDAluna, although the second ship to be ordered, was thus the thirth to be delivered. Four more ships were also built, but those recieved one extra deck and are officially another class, named the Ikarus-class. They are AIDAblu, delivered in 2010, AIDAsol of 2011, AIDAmar of 2012 and AIDAstella of 2013.
AIDAluna, the thirth ship of the Sphinx class is the last one of the original design. The picture was taken at Amsterdam at the 20th of march 2009, just four days after her delivery to her owners. Amsterdam was in fact her first port of call, after she left Hamburg, the true homeport for the ships of AIDA although they are registered at Genoa.
Construction and general statistics
Just two days after the second ship in the Sphinx-class AIDAbella sailed from the Jos L. Meyer wharf at Papenburg, Germany, the keel of the thirth ship AIDAluna was laid in the buildingshed at the 29th of march 2008. Her yardnumber was S.660 and to wish the ship good luck, 100 women who were working for AIDA Cruises, Meyer and travelagencies, placed coins under the first of 55 buildingblocks. Like her sisterships, AIDAluna was going to measure 69.203 tons. Her lenght is 251,76 meters, she is 32,19 meters wide and her draught is 7,50 meters. Her total passengercapacity is 2500, but on a two-per-cabin basis the number given is 2070. Some 607 crewmembers are also present. The ship has a total of 14 decksof which 11 can be used by the passengers. Driven by two five-bladed propellers that are powered by four Caterpillar MaK designed dieselengines, the ships normal speed is 22,5 knots. Because Carnival Corporation placed AIDA Cruises under the banner of the Costa Cruises, the ship is registered at the traditional Costa homeport Genoa and so flying the flag of Italy. That said, the main language aboard is German and the ship totally caters for the German market. But when German is not your first language, do not mind too much as all crew understand their English also.
Already at the 10th of october of the same year 2008, the ship was floated out of the buildingdock for a short while so the last piece, the funnel, could be installed. Her true floatout was at the 13th of february of 2009, when she was overhauled to the fitting-out berth after her first technical testing. One week later, at the 21st of february, the ship sailed towards the port of Emden via the Ems river from where she undertook her trials. This did not all went very smoothly, as an object was discovered tangled from her propellers while she was inspected at the Harland & Wolff yards. It took a few days to remove it so the ship was able to continue her set of trials. The final handover ceremony from the wharf to the cruiseline took place at the 16th of march.
As with all AIDA Cruises ships before and after her, AIDAluna was designed by the Hamburg-based Partner Ship Design. The most visible gimmick, outside as well as inside, is of course the combination of the ships theater and atrium, dubbed the Theatrium. This space is spread over three decks and measures some 3000 square meters. It houses a state-of-the-art lighting and soundsystem and it truly is the central focus of the ships entertainment. If you like sports more then theater, the Sphinx-class ships are equipped with the largest swimmingpools that were fitted to a cruiseship untill then and the open deckspace is something of 6400 square meters. The deck 12 sundeck is designed to resemble a polar landscape, kinda cool to sunbathe here while you are sailing a sunny cruise in the Caribbean. If you like to have a combination of swimming and theater, a small extra theater is at the poolside, used for small-style entertainment. The ship also has a large wellness and beautyarea, four market-style buffetrestaurants next to one a-la-carte restaurant. Of course there are also eleven bars, of which the Aida Bar is one of the most popular, with the bar itself as the central focus, built in the form of a compass-rose. Other places to dine are the Buffalo Stake House and the Sushi Bar.
The colours used within the ship are mostly very light, with blue, yellow and orange being the most dominant. Furthermore, the lay-out of the public rooms as well as the interiour design is equal to her earlier sisters. AIDAluna is a very spacious ship in which interaction with other passengers is encouraged within the design. The art-collection aboard is of course also modern pop-art style and throughout the ship, real looking palmtrees and other greens are used. For an idea of her interiours, take a look at the page dedicated to the interiours of one of her sisterships, AIDAstella, as the ships of the Sphinx and Ikarus-classes are largely similar at least.
As an extra for her passengers, AIDA Cruises has a number of bikes available for the use by the passengers, as well as diving gear. Also, at no extra cost you can get a hammock for use on the balconies. Imagine lying in your hammock, seeing the Norwegian fjords passing by at your doorstep!
AIDAluna again, showing her other side at her Amsterdam arrival at the 20th of march 2009.
After the ship had been delivered to AIDA Cruises, she sailed for the port of Hamburg to start her maiden voyage towards Palma de Mallorca, where she was officially named by the German supermodel Franziska Knuppe at the 4th of april 2009. I was able to take pictures of the ship during the voyage from Hamburg to Palma when she visited Amsterdam as her first port of call and the pictures on this page are the result of that. Her second voyage was back to Hamburg and Kiel, from where she undertook her first season of Baltic cruises. It was a success, clearly, as the ship was named 'Ship Of The Year 2010' by the Schlummer-Atlas, the most influential hotel-review magazine in Germany.
AIDAluna is not only restricted to European waters, as she has also been spotted in north America and the Caribbean. But mostly, in northern summer she is found in the Baltic, the Norwegian fjords or western Europe. In the spring of 2014, the ship was the first Sphinx-class cruiseliner to be fitted with a newly designed filtersystem for the reduction of emissions of diesel particulates, as well as exhaust gas cleaning systems named scrubbers to reduce nasty output by some 90%. The system was relatively new to oceangoing ships and developped by Carnival Corporation together with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Coast Guard. As environmentalfriendly shipdesign is truly the future, some 32 cruiseships throughout the Carnival Corporation fleet are or will be updated with this system.