During especially the 2010's, global awareness for climate change became much more at the forefront of international politics and one of the high-points was the Paris Climate Accords, negotiated in 2015 and as of march 2018 it has been signed by 195 countries. After a few very alarming reports, especially from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), public opinion also was affected a lot more then before, also helped by a lot of attention for a Swedish teenager named Greta Thunberg who skipped school and protested each day in her country of origin as she understood that especially the younger generation would be affected if nothing would be done to global warming.
Below, AIDAnova is seen berthed in Rotterdam at the 1st of december in 2021. Sadly, the picture is not up to the standard I would have liked it to be.
Fingers started to be pointed at companies that were creating a lot of air pollution and very visible of course are a ship's funnels. Sailing on huge cruiseships just for holiday, emitting a lot of harmfull emissions along the way, was certainly starting to shift public opinion away from cruising. So especially the larger companies like Carnival Corporation , Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines , Norwegian Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises understood that there had to be investments made to reduce those harmfull emissions, as well as of course retaining their good names with the travelling and this time also non-travelling populus. But an industry like the cruise-industry cannot be changed overnight. So companies looked at ways to improve sustainability aboard of their fleets and in october of 2013 the 1996-built AIDAcara was the first cruiseship in the world recieving a filter inside of her funnel. The system had been developed by Carnival Corporation together with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Coast Guard and was able to reduce emissions of diesel particulates. Also, an exhaust gas cleaning system named a scrubber was installed that was able to reduce sulphuroxide from the funnel. Another ship within the AIDA Cruises fleet, the AIDAstella of 2013, was the first cruiseship in the world recieving a special design of the ballasttanks so that no micro-organisms would be able to travel to other environments within those tanks. Another worlds first came in 2016, when AIDAprima became the first cruiseship in the world that was able to sail on a combination of diesel and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), reducing diesel emissions even more. So AIDA Cruises really stepped up as being on the forefront of environmental friendlier design of cruiseships. They even went a step further in 2018 when they introduced their newest ship.
AIDAnova, which of course was again the first cruiseship in the world operating only on LNG, losing diesel propulsion in total. And she wasn't just a small prototype as she was the largest cruiseship ever to be built for AIDA Cruises and with her tonnage measurement of over 180.000 she rates as one of the largest cruiseships in the world.
Construction and general statistics
In june of 2015, the firm order for four ships within the new class was placed by Carnival Corporation with the Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. Two of these ships would be built for AIDA Cruises and two of them would be built for Costa Cruises. So it would be the first time that a design for AIDA Cruises was also going to be used for other companies. Untill then, the Sphinx, Ikarus and Hyperion classes had been built solely for AIDA Cruises. In this tradition, the new class of ships for AIDA was dubbed the Helios-class, while the ships for Costa were built as the Excellence-class (or Excel-class or XL-class). Just a few months later, another three ships were ordered within the same class, this time they were going to be built for P&O Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines intself. In 2018, two more ships in the class were again ordered, one for P&O and one for AIDA Cruises, although that last order was later changed in favour of Carnival Cruise Lines. So the definite sisterhood started with AIDAnova in 2018 followed by Costa Smeralda in 2019, Iona and Mardi Gras in 2020, Costa Toscana and AIDAcosma in 2021, Carnival Celebration and Arvia in 2022 and the last one is going to become Carnival Jubilee in 2023. Not all of the ships would be built in Papenburg, as the orders for the Costa ships and the first two Carnival ships would be created at the Meyer Werft in Turku, Finland.
But AIDAnova was going to be built at the Papenburg yards as the leadship of the class under yardnumber S696. At the 21st of february in 2017 the first steel was cut and the first block was lowered into buildingdock 2 at Papenburg in september. Also part of the Meyer Group is the Neptun Stahlbauwerft in Rostock and here two sections of the ship were built containing the engineroom parts. In december of 2017 these blocks were then transported to Papenburg. Due to space inside the dock, which is the largest covered dock in Europe by the way, a first section of AIDAnova had to be undocked at the 11th of december in 2017, followed by another part at the 16th of february in 2018. This was done to make it possible to undock the Norwegian Bliss of NCL that was built at the same dock at the same time. When the Norwegian Bliss was waved away, the sections were again docked to complete the ship and at the 21st of august in 2018, AIDAnova could be undocked as one complete ship.
The ship measures some 183.858 tons and is 337 meters long, 42 meters wide and her draft reaches 8,60 meters. The total passengercount is 6600, making her capacity higher then Royal Caribbean's 220.000-ton Oasis Of The Seas and her sisterships. Some 1500 crew are looking after all of those people. The ships' normal servicespeed will be with 17 knots quite moderate and she consists out of 20 decks in total. Like all AIDA ships, she will have Ganue as her port of registry so she flies the Italian flag.
Ship looks pleased.
Not very common nowadays, AIDAnova was then named at the wharf at the 31st of august in 2018. It was in fact the first naming of a cruiseship at any wharf since twenty years. In tradition with AIDA, the ceremony was a huge event. The first ever AIDA Open Air Concert features a fireworks show, a lightshow and a live musical performance by DJ David Guetta. The concert was sold out with 25.000 people on site, although via live-stream many more people across the world were able to attend. The ship was named by a family of four from Hanau, Germany who selected from hundreds of applications. Sonja and Asad Mirza and their children Sophia and Adrian, just 2 and 3 years of age, were the lucky ones.
At the following 8th and 9th of october, the ship undertook her Ems conveyance towards the Dutch Eemshaven where she was completed. But not all was well in between, as she suffered a fire in two cabins during the night of the 23rd and 24th of october. This caused a delay to her final delivery to the company that was planned to happen in Bremerhaven at the 15th of november, as well as her first trials. These finally took place between the 6th and 13th of november.
More problems were ahead as the planned Maiden Voyage and the cruise after that had to be cancelled because the ship would not be ready on time. Stories went ahead that the problems were because of the LNG engines, but this was not the case. The problem was mostly with the interiours, especially the theater that would not be ready on time. At the 16th of november, the second set of trials started ending at the 24th of that same month. A thirth set of trials was sailed between the 2nd and 4th of december and because those were satisfactory, the ship could finally be delivered to AIDA Cruises at Bremerhaven at the 12th of december as the largest cruiseship ever to be built in Germany.
Externally, except for being quite a lot bigger, AIDAnova was based on the design of AIDAprima and AIDAperla and they look quite alike because of that. She also inherited the straight bow and covered forecastle. Most noteworthy change between AIDAnova and every other cruiseship built before her is of course that she is the first cruiseship in the world that will solely run on LNG gas. This is named as the cleanest burning fossil fuel in the world and significantly reduces her carbon footprint. It is also possible to start the engines solely with LNG so that in ports it will not be needed to use any other fuel. This makes it possible to also reduce bad air inside the towns she visits. Of course she will also feature the scrubber systems that were designed by Carnival themselves to furthermore reduce her harmfull emissions. Where AIDAcara was the first ship to recieve such a feature, AIDAnova now is the 70th ship in Carnival Corporations' 100 ship fleet to be fitted showing a commitment to cleaner oceantravel.
Returning of course are the traditional AIDA Cruises venues like the Beach Club and Four Elements adventuredeck, complete with a climbing garden under a retractable roof and three waterslides. New aboard is a real escaperoom and the Theatrium has been redesigned to give 360 degree views. Also, AIDAnova has the first TV studio aboard a ship within the AIDA-fleet. Her huge 3525 square meter Body & Soul Spa features some 80 treatments from all over the world and spans two decks. It has five different sauna's, a spacious outdoor deck with three whirlpools, two private wellness suites and a tepidarium too.
There are 23 bars aboard besides the 17 different restaurants aboard of which five are the traditional AIDA buffet-style but there are also six a-la-carte restaurants and five specialityrestaurants to choose from. On the Lanai Deck, it is possible for passengers to stroll around the entire ship and along the way they will meet several of the restaurants and bars, inclusing the Lanai Bar at the very stern.
There are 20 different cabintypes aboard, ranging from two-deck penthouse suites to familycabins and even options for single passengers, not just tucked away in the middle but having balcony options as well. All cabins are decorated in homely red and blue tones and feature adequate bathroom sizes.
Her first cruise started finally at the 19th of december in 2018 from Santa Cruz de Tenerife and she spend the first winterseason sailing around the Canary Islands, which is a very important hub for AIDA Cruises. The next summerseason she sailed the western Mediterranean, returning to the Canary Islands in winter. When in the spring of 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the ship was taken out of service before again starting up in december 2021. During the thirth cruise since the restart, a cruise from Hamburg to the Canary Islands, 52 crewmembers tested positive again for the disease and the cruise was terminated at Lisbon, Portugal. They were not cleared to sail and 'celebrated' newyearseve in the Portugese capital. Normally, she would have attended the spectacular gathering of cruiseships in Funchal and it was a bummer for her passengers that they had to miss that event. At the 2nd of january in 2022, passengers were disembarked and the rest of the cruise was cancelled, just like the next sailing.