AIDA Cruises are a German cruise line founded in the 1960’s with onboard facilities directly aimed to appeal to a younger customer.
Most recently, launching their newest ship the AIDAprima; the first in a new class of technologically and environmentally-friendly based ships. This 124,000 ton floating Behemoth carries approximately 3,300 passengers with 17 decks. These house 15 dining options, 14 cafés and bars, a spa and fitness area, water slides and even its own lazy river.
Through the vine, I had heard that the AIDAprima was sailing into Southampton and luckily enough, I was contacted to join her for the day.
As expected, I was boarding at my most used terminal, the Ocean Cruise Terminal. Much to my surprise, only around thirty passengers actually ventured off the ship. Of course, when arriving at 10 o’clock this is not what you expect. Nonetheless, this did mean our embarkation was much quicker.
Following my tour of the AIDAprima, we were given a lunch at the onboard buffet restaurant. The Markt Restaurant. Immediately what stood out is just how much meat the German’s consume. Just from estimation alone, I would guess around 80% of the cuisine was either meat or fish. Sadly for my mum (who is a Vegetarian), this is not an ideal option. Thus, if you’re a Vegetarian, I strongly advise organizing your dietary requirements with the cruise line beforehand. One element that shocked me was that all Wine and Beer’s are included with your cruise fare in the buffet restaurants.
Aside from the Markt Restaurant, the AIDAprima features five additional buffet restaurants. This is a new venture for most mainstream cruise lines, however, our guide explained this replaces the “main dining room”. On the plus side, this does mean there’s no waiting around for your food and you will have complete flexible dining. These five buffet restaurants included Italian, Bella Donna Restaurant. Global cuisine themed Weite Welt Restaurant. For younger children, the Fuego Restaurant and of course the Markt Restaurant. Yet, I do admit, my personal favorite would have to be the Asian themed East Restaurant.
However, please don’t get those buffet restaurants confused with being specialty restaurants. Wherever your tastes buds are lingering, the AIDAprima features four à la carte restaurants and three specialty restaurants. Serving the finest French cuisine, the AIDAprima features an onboard French brasserie. The French Kiss. Additionally, if Venetian cuisine is more suited to you; The Casa Nova Restaurant offers just that. The final specialty restaurant being the Brauhaus (my dad’s favorite), serving German dishes. In fact, it even serves Beer straight from the onboard Brewery. As for the four à la carte restaurants, serving some of the best steaks at sea; sits the Buffalo Steak House. Or if you’ve ever dreamed of taking a cookery class at sea, you can do this at the Kochstudio. However, if you are brave enough to dare Sushi, you may be suited to the Sushi Bar.
But what about those times where you’re just lazing by the pool in the mood for a small bite? There are three bars onboard for small bites. These include the Sharfe Ecke, the Pier 3 Market (for croissants and cakes) and the Tapas Bar.
Upon arrival to the ship one element that both intrigued and surprised me was the theatre. Or Theatrium as it’s called. What makes this area so intriguing, is that it actually doubles as an atrium. During the day, it’s a place where you can meet up with friends grab a drink and relax. However, when the sun goes down, it’s transformed into an acrobatic adventure.
If suffering from a case of Affluenza, the AIDAprima features a Plaza for all your shopping requirements. Spread over two decks, the Plaza features many shops, bars, a salon and even a Magnum Pleasure Store. The Magnum Pleasure Store allows customers to customise their magnum with a choice a topping and chocolate. Thus, creating your own personal Magnum ice cream bar. From first-hand experience, I can state the personalized creation that I constructed was absolutely delicious!
After indulging in a magnum, you may want to burn off those calories, this is never a problem on the AIDAprima! Despite cruise ships sometimes gaining a reputation for making you pile on the pounds, the AIDAprima is centered around fitness and exercise.
Though after sweating an ocean on the treadmill, the sun lounger may call you. Situated on the Lanai Deck, are multiple beach chairs and infinity pools designed for an escape in utter relaxation. However, if you’re looking for a deeper relaxation, the Organic Spa may be better suited. This is jam-packed with five saunas, multiple indoor and outside Jacuzzi’s and even two large sun decks for absorbing the sun rays.
Although I certainly enjoyed spending time in the Spa from a very early age, your children may not. If so, they may be more gratified by the Beach Club featuring a large indoor pool, pool-side bar, and even palm trees. Later on in the evening, this turns into an outdoor nightclub filled with DJ’s and laser shows! Or for more adventurous water activities, the Four Elements Deck may be more appropriate. This features multiple water-slides, mini-golf, the Lazy River, a high-ropes course, and even a 150-foot glass walk above sea level.
For those considering a Christmas cruise, during the winter season deck 16 turns into a full-scale ice skating rink. Thus meaning you can experience that winter Christmas feel, even when in the Caribbean! Upon reflection, what most stands out for me about AIDA cruises is the value for money. This may possibly be the best value for money cruise line I have ever come across.