In summary AIDAprima is a very impressive ship with a huge range of venues on board for all guests to enjoy. The ship is ideal for families travelling with children of any age, whilst there are plenty of relaxing areas for adults-only. There’s plenty of deck space, especially along the expansive Lanai. The ship definitely offers a lot of choice when it comes to dining with a huge variety of restaurants, many of which are complimentary. The only downside to the ship is the fact that it is dedicated to the German market so limits the opportunity for International guests to enjoy a cruise on the ship or with AIDA Cruises.
On 27th April 2016 I was lucky enough to visit AIDA’s brand new AIDAprima during her inaugural visit to Southampton. Joining me for the ship visit was our Non-Executive Director, Gavin Pamment and our Cruise Ambassador, Jordan Bailey. There were a number of other visitors including members of the press, cruise bloggers and photographers.
We were asked to arrive at the Cruise Terminal at 10:30 to check-in. Gavin, Jordan and I arrived a little earlier than this just to be on the safe side. When we entered Ocean Terminal and proceeded to the Passes Office it was closed and instead we collected our visitor passes from the upper level of the cruise terminal near the boarding gangway. We waited whilst other visitors arrived and collected their visitor passes.
A little later than scheduled we proceeded through security and boarded AIDAprima. We boarded the ship on Deck 6 and were then escorted up to Deck 8 to Vinotek, where visitors assembled. We were welcomed aboard with a champagne reception and speech from AIDA’s Vice President of Communication & Sustainability, Hansjörg Kunze, who then introduced the Captain. The conference was filmed by the ship’s on board team. Following the formalities visitors were the given the opportunity to mingle and meet with the Captain and General Manager.
When the Captain was free I took the opportunity to present my drawing of AIDAprima to him. This caught the attention of some of the other visitors. The Captain seemed to be impressed with the drawing. In exchange for the drawing the Captain presented me with a limited edition and signed print from Feliks Büttner, who is the Artist responsible for AIDA’s striking hull art.
After I had presented my drawing to the Captain our guided tour of the ship commenced. Visitors were lead outside onto the Lanai, the expansive outdoor deck which hangs out from the side of the ship. Here our tour guides Sebastian and Philipp showed visitors the ship’s build plaque and explained that AIDA was the first cruise ship to be built in Japan. Before moving up to Deck 15 we had a look at the Buffalo Steakhouse, an American fare styled a la carte restaurant, offering prime American and bison meat. The restaurant also offers outdoor seating along the spacious Lanai.
On Deck 15 our tour guides Sebastian and Philipp took us into the Beach Club, a two deck high tropical indoor pool area which is constantly kept at 25°C no matter what the weather might be like outside. During the day the Beach Club is a relaxing tropical retreat but at night transforms into a vibrant and bustling venue with laser light shows and music. Guests can enjoy drinks from the AIDA Bar located in the Beach Club.
Our guided tour continued taking us aft to the Skywalk, a glass floored walkway extending over both sides of the ship around the aft lift lobbies. For those brave enough it offers fantastic views along the sides of the ship. Moving down to Deck 14 we entered the three deck high enclosed Four Elements area which features an expansive ropes course, a large television screen and numerous mini pools and waterslides, including the twin AIDA Racer waterslides. There’s even a Lazy River! Located nearby is the Kids & Mini Club, whilst the Wave Club for teenagers is located on Deck 15.
We were then guided down to Deck 6 where we walked through the East Restaurant which is a complimentary buffet-styled restaurant offering Asian cuisine. Next we stopped at the three deck high Theatrium which is understandably referred to as the heart of the ship. The somewhat unconventionally design venue combines the theatre and atrium together into one unique and awe-inspiring space. Theatrium is used for a variety of functions including live music, art auctions, games and during the evening hosts large scale production shows from live music, cabaret, magicians, comedy acts and even acrobatic shows. Sebastian and Philipp even told us that there was a whole show which consists of the stage doing “stage stuff”. The stage is divided into a number of sections which can be raised and lowered to different levels. Located at the very top of the Theatrium on the ceiling is a giant LED ball weighing in at more than a tonne.
Adjacent to Theatrium is the Casino and Casino Bar which is somewhat smaller when compared to similarly sized American marketed ships. The next highlight on our guided tour was the AIDA Plaza which is a two deck high space showcasing a wide variety of shops. There’s even a Hairdressers, Nail Spa and Professional Florist. AIDAprima also features the first Magnum Ice Cream Parlour on board any cruise ship at sea where you can select and customise your own Magnum Ice Cream and choose from a variety of toppings for just €3.50. Located on the lower level of the AIDA Plaza is Tapas & Bar and Sharp Corner a complimentary fast food dining venue offering hotdogs, burgers, wurst and sausage speciality.
Moving forward on Deck 6 we were guided into the NachtClub Nightfly, an exclusive adult-only nightclub lounge. Located right in the bow is the Spray bar. The two level high Champagne bar is too an adult-only venue and is operated in partnership with Moet & Chandon and is the only bar of its kind at sea. The upper level of the Spray bar leads out onto a small outdoor area located right at the bow of the ship on Deck 7.
Here our guided tour ended however we were then invited to stay on board should we wish to and enjoy lunch in the Markt Restaurant located at the aft of the ship on Deck 6. As we made our way through Deck 6 we passed the Theatrium bar and the
Ristorante Casa Nova which is a Mediterranean Cuisine waiter service restaurant which guests can choose to dine in at a surcharge. Bella Donna Restaurant is a complimentary buffet-style eatery offering Italian Cuisine. At the stern is the Markt Restaurant, another complimentary self-service buffet restaurant with numerous food stations spread out throughout the venue. It was also here that we enjoyed lunch on board.
After enjoying lunch on board AIDAprima we took the chance to explore a little more of the ship on our own before disembarking. On Deck 7 we found yet another complimentary buffet-styled restaurant, the Weite Welt Restaurant which has both indoor and outdoor seating along the Lanai. Located outside at the stern on Deck 7 is the Lanai Bar, the majority of which is covered by a large canopy. Built in to the stern of the ship are a number of fixed seating areas. Afterwards we took a stroll along the Lanai and up the large outdoor staircase leading to Deck 8. Located on the Lanai are four infinity whirlpools offering stunning views overlooking the sea. There’s also plenty of outdoor seating to relax in the sun. Although we did not get to see inside them we had a sneak peak of the Lanai cabins. These can only be found on Deck 8 and feature a Winter Garden with large Veranda. The doors of these staterooms can be opened all the way.
Heading back inside we passed the Rossini Restaurant which was sadly closed. This is a reservation only speciality restaurant serving gourmet food from an a la carte six course menu. Neighbouring is the Sushi Bar, a fairly small venue, again with an a la carte menu and reservations only and includes a surcharge. Entering the upper most level of the Theatrium we saw the Sunset Bar where guests can enjoy drinks and a small selection of complimentary nibbles. Another venue which we were not able to access was the AIDA lounge which offers 270-degree panorama views and also offers outdoor seating on the Lanai. The forward end of Deck 8 is home to the Body & Soul Organic Spa. The huge Spa & Wellness complex covers more than 33,000sq ft. The complex includes indoor and outdoor large whirlpools, five saunas, treatment rooms, relaxation room, conservatory, spa bar and luxury Spa Suites with their own private sun decks, water beds and whirlpools.
On Deck 6 we took the opportunity to explore Disco D6 a spacious venue which is used for themed dance parties and light shows at night, whist during the day hosts dance classes. Afterwards Gavin and Jordan and I made our way up to Deck 16 where we had a go at tackling the rope course. The three of us agreed that the first station was by far the most difficult most of the others seemed easy in comparison. The three of us had lots of fun once we had overcome the fear however it was quite tiring and hard work and seemed especially hot inside the glass enclosed Four Elements area. On Deck 14 we found the Fugo Restaurant where we were able to get a drink. The restaurant is a new family restaurant where children and their parents can enjoy a complimentary buffet meal together.
At the forward end of Deck 16 we took a brief look at the exclusive adults-only Patio Deck. This is an outside deck with its own Patio Bar and offers truly exceptional sea views overlooking the bow of the ship there’s also two infinity whirlpools which overlook the bow of the ship too! The Patio Deck area is for Panorama Cabin guests only.
Having seen the majority of the ship the three of us decided to head for the gangway to disembark the ship. To disembark the ship we used an alternative gangway located at the bow on Deck 7.