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

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



Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 400 out of 500

Accommodation: 146 out of 200

Food: 262 out of 400

Service: 284 out of 400

Entertainment: 71 out of 100

Cruise: 290 out of 400

Overall Score: 1453 out of 2000

AIDAsol Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 71,304

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: AIDA Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9490040

Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)

Original Cost: €350 million

Entered Service: Apr 2011

Registry: Italy

Length (ft/m): 831.1/253.3

Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 24.6/7.5

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

Passenger Decks: 14

Total Crew: 646

Passengers (lower beds): 2,194

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 34.6

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 3.1

Cabins (total): 1,097

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

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 491

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


This contemporary, casual, no-frills cruising is for families

Overview. AIDAsol is for youthful German-speaking couples, singles, and families seeking a party-like environment, and good entertainment. This is all about über-casual (tablecloth-less) cruising, with two main self-serve buffet restaurants instead of waiter service.

The Ship. The ship has a well-proportioned, contemporary profile with a swept-back funnel. The bows display the bright red lips, as well as the blue eyes, of Aïda (from Verdi’s opera, written to commemorate the opening of the Suez Canal in 1871). AIDA Cruises, Germany’s largest cruise line, is part of Costa Cruises, itself part of Carnival Corporation.

Open deck space is rather limited, but sunbathing space includes some reasonably quiet space above the navigation bridge. Dip pools and hot tubs, plus seating areas, are provided in a cascading, tiered setting atop the ship on the pool deck, providing a decent amount of sunbathing space.

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

Several decks of public rooms and facilities are positioned above the accommodation decks, and public room names that are common aboard all the ships in the fleet are used: Aida Bar, for example, the main social gathering place, with a star-shaped bar (whose combined length makes it among the longest at sea), with many adjacent tables for standing drinkers. There are several other bars to choose from, plus a ‘no music’ observation lounge, an art gallery, and a small casino (for blackjack, roulette and poker gaming tables), and slot machines.

Families. AIDAsol is a family-friendly ship, with children divided 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 diverse 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.

Accommodation. There are several grades, from deluxe suites to interior (no-view) cabins.

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, and minimalist, and 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 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; they have a 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 your own conditioner, hand lotion, and other toiletries you may need.

Thick cotton bathrobes are provided for all grades of accommodation, 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 there is no cabin service after 3pm.

Cabins with balconies have a sliding door that’s easy to open and doesn’t impinge on balcony space; a small drinks table and two small, light chairs are provided. 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. The opening times for lunch and dinner are 12.30-2pm and 6.30-9pm respectively. 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 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 (a bit 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 (which 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. Note that the beverage stations open only during restaurant opening hours, unless you go to the extra-cost coffee bar (Café Mare). 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 an extra charge applies to everything on the à la carte menu (such as caviar, chateaubriand, rib-eye steak), and for wines. 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. There’s a daily special - a prix-fixe meal (example: a 180g fillet steak, house salad, and dessert). It’s like going out to eat in a decent restaurant ashore - but there are no tablecloths. Wine or any other drinks cost extra.

A 12-seater sushi 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), plus standing tables, although sight lines to the raised thrust stage area are less than good from many of the 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 some 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.