AIDAluna - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)



Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 383 out of 500

Accommodation: 146 out of 200

Food: 264 out of 400

Service: 284 out of 400

Entertainment: 71 out of 100

Cruise: 288 out of 400

Overall Score: 1436 out of 2000

AIDAluna Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 69,203

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: AIDA Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9334868

Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)

Original Cost: $390 million

Entered Service: Apr 2009

Registry: Italy

Length (ft/m): 831.1/253.3

Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 24.6

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (36,000 kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 13

Total Crew: 646

Passengers (lower beds): 2,050

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 33.7

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 3.1

Cabins (total): 1,025

Size Range (sq ft/m): 145.3 -473.2/13.5-44

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 480

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 11

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 10

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: No

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 0

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: Euros


Upbeat, family-friendly, and cheerful, but there’s little finesse

Overview. An AIDAluna cruise is for youthful German-speaking couples, singles, and families seeking a party-like environment, with excellent entertainment. This is all about über-casual cruising, with two main self-serve buffet restaurants instead of the traditional waiter service. It’s tablecloth-less eating, with few staff.

The Ship. The ship has a modern profile, with a swept-back funnel and wedge-shaped stern. The bows display the red lips and blue eyes, of Aïda (from Verdi’s opera, written to commemorate the opening of the Suez Canal in 1871). AIDA Cruises is part of Costa Cruises, itself part of the giant Carnival Corporation.

Several decks of public rooms and facilities are positioned above the accommodation decks, and AIDAluna shares public room names that are common aboard all the AIDA Cruises ships: Aida Bar, for example, the main social gathering place, whose principal feature is a star-shaped bar (its combined length makes it among the longest at sea), with many tables for standing drinkers.

There is a separate aft sports deck, a ‘no music’ observation lounge, an art gallery, plus a small casino featuring blackjack, roulette and poker gaming tables, and a number of slot machines. The embarkation entryway has a bar and a lookout ‘balcony,’ and is cheerfully painted to look like a waterside street scene. A welcoming environment, it helps to calm tempers after waiting in a line to go through the security check for embarkation or in ports of call.

There are three pricing levels - Aida Premium, Aida Vario, and Just Aida - depending on what you want to be included, plus differences in price according to accommodation size and grade, and itinerary.

The dress code is simple: casual (no ties) at all times. All port taxes and gratuities are included.

Families. AIDAluna is a family-friendly ship. Children are split into five age groups: Seepferdchen (4-6 years), Delfine (7-9), Sharks (10-11), Orcas (12-13), and Teens (14-17). Each has its own play area. There is a wide selection of children’s and youth programs in a holiday camp atmosphere, and special Club Team members dedicated to making it all happen. Supervised by a chef, children can make their own menus for the week, and visit the galley to make cookies and other items - a novel idea more cruise lines could adopt.

Accommodation. There are eight or nine grades, from deluxe suites to interior (no-view) cabins, depending on the ship, which keeps your cabin choice simple.

Contrary to maritime traditions (even-numbered cabins on the port side, odd-numbered cabins on the starboard side), cabin numbers progress numerically (example: 8201-8276 on the port side; 8101-8176 on the starboard side). All suites and cabins have two beds (convertible to queen-size bed). Some cabins also have two extra beds/berths for children, and some cabins have interconnecting doors - useful for families.

The decor is bright, youthful, minimalist, and slightly whimsical. All are accented with multi-patterned fabrics, wood-trimmed cabinetry (with nicely rounded edges), and rattan or wood-look furniture. Beds have duvets and a colorful Arabian-style fabric canopy that goes from the headboard to the ceiling. The windows have full pull-down blackout blinds (useful in destinations with long daylight hours).

The bathrooms are compact, practical units, with shower enclosure, small washbasin, and small toilet. As in the most basic hotels and motels, only a wall-mounted body wash/shampoo dispenser is provided, so take any personal toiletries you may need.

Thick cotton bathrobes are provided for everyone, as are two towels - a face towel and a ‘bath’ towel, in two different colors. The ‘bath’ towels are not large, at 54 by 27 inches - compared to 72 by 36 inches aboard P&O Cruises’ Ventura, for example. The bathroom does not have a hairdryer, but one is located in the vanity unit in the cabin. Note that the usual night-time turndown service provided aboard most ships is not provided, and there is no cabin service after 3pm.

Cabins with balconies have an easy-open sliding door that doesn’t impinge on balcony space, a small drinks table and two small, light chairs. Note that balconies on the lowest deck can be overlooked by anyone on a balcony on the decks above. Balcony cabins have a hammock as standard, although it only accommodates one (thin) person. Some cabins (forward on Deck 5 - Nos 5103, 5104, 5105, 5106, 5203, 5204, 5206) have cabins with an outside view (well, outside light), but they are obstructed by steel bulkheads that form the front section of the ship.

Dining. There are three self-serve eateries: Markt (Market), Bella Vista (for Italian cuisine), and Weite Welt (Wide World) restaurants. Additionally, there’s a Buffalo Steakhouse (which serves excellent steaks), an à la carte Rossini Restaurant with waiter and sommelier service, a Sushi Bar, a Pizzeria Mare, and a Café Mare. These venues are open at set times (there are no 24-hour-a-day outlets, because there is little demand for them), although the Pizzeria typically stays open until midnight.

In the three self-serve restaurants, the meal concept is simple: main meals are taken when you want them in one of the large self-serve buffet-style restaurants, with open seating at tables of four, six, or eight. Cutlery can be found hanging in a rack (this is thought to be somewhat unhygienic), but there are no soup spoons, only dessert spoons.

The many food islands and active stations cut down on the waiting time for food. There is always a big selection of breads, cheeses, cold cuts, fruits, and make-your-own coffee and teas - with a choice of more than 30 types of loose-leaf regular and herbal teas. More than 1,200 items of food are offered. The fish section has its own fish smoking unit (it resembles a wine cabinet).

Beer is available at the push of a button or a pull of the tap, and table wine - of the sort that would make a good drain cleaner - is usually provided in carafes on each table for lunch and dinner. It’s simply casual and easy-going mass catering, so think food court eating - it certainly can’t be called dining, but is more like camping at sea. The beverage stations open only during restaurant opening hours, unless you go to the extra-cost coffee bar. Vending machines dispense out-of-hours snacks.

Other dining options. The à la carte Rossini Restaurant, with mostly high-back seats, has an intimate atmosphere. It is open for dinner only, and has a set five- or six-course menu, plus daily ‘specials.’ There is no cover charge, but everything on the à la carte menu (such as caviar, chateaubriand, rib-eye steak), and wines, costs extra. Reservations are needed. Tablecloths are provided, the food is very good, and service is sound.

The Buffalo Steakhouse has an open ‘display’ kitchen, and offers various steak cuts and sizes − Delmonico, New York Strip Loin, Porterhouse, and Filet, plus bison steaks − and roast lamb rack. It’s like going out to eat in a decent restaurant ashore, without tablecloths. Wine or any other drinks cost extra.

A 12-stool counter is for Japanese-style sushi and sashimi dishes.

A wine bar, Vinotheque, located in front of the Weide Welt (Wide World) Restaurant, has a list of premium wines, and Davidoff cigars (although you can’t smoke them at the bar - or anywhere inside the ship).

The Pizzeria Mare provides a small selection of ever popular pizzas.

Entertainment. The Theatrium (theater) is in the center of the ship. It is open to the main foyer and other public areas, on three levels (Decks 9, 10, and 11), and topped by a glass dome. Amphitheater-style seating is on three decks (the bench seating on the two upper levels has back supports, but not on the lower level), and standing tables, although sight lines to the raised thrust stage area are poor from many seats.

Spa/Fitness. The spa, fitness and sports programming are extensive. The Body and Soul wellness/oasis area is located on two decks (connected by a stairway) and encompasses 24,750 sq ft (2,300 sq m). There is also an open-air wellness deck for FKK relaxation/nude sunbathing in an area atop the ship forward of the ship’s mast. In keeping with the times, all the trendy treatments are featured in an appealing contemporary setting.