AIDA might be a great cruising company, but the AIDAcara (ship) is just too old.
Our interior cabin was on the fifth floor, close to the elevators. The elevators didn’t bother us, but all the other things unfortunately did. We always experienced a hell of a noise when the anchor was being thrown out. The housekeeping made a lot of noise in their storage room, and in the hallway. When arriving to a new destination the captain said something through his microphone, but it was always very incomprehensible and too soft, but just hear enough to wake us up. The air conditioning wasn’t working properly and made a lot of noise. The beds were separated in a L-shape, and were attached to the wall. Even if they weren’t attached to the wall, it would be impossible to put them together. One of the two beds isn’t even a real bed, but is actually a convertible couch. I can’t remember one night that I slept without difficulties.
The interior of the boat is remarkably old, even though it has been renovated a couple of years ago.
The upper deck with the swimming pool isn’t well arranged. There is too little space in the shadow and too little space out of the wind. It’s not allowed to “reserve” a nice spot with your towel, but if you weren’t awake around 5 o’clock there wasn’t any chance of having a nice place during the entire day. When you finally found an nice place to lay down for a minute, you could just stay half of a minute because than it was time for the animation of the day. Basketball, baseball, you can’t imagine. Flying balls, running people, ... it was awful. The swimming pool is as big as a parking lot for disabled persons, and after a couple of days the water gets the colour of an expired Pina Colada.
The cruise we did was rather cheap, but on board they take advantage of EVERYTHING. The drinks in the bars are extremely expensive, excursions are scandalously expensive, on-board activities are way too expensive, ... . As I had some work to do on my computer, we needed internet. With the price we paid for internet, we could have had an upgrade of our room. The internet is extremely expensive, and the most advantageous option is to take internet for an entire week. And even if it wouldn’t be the cheapest option, you better do take one entire week. The internet is slow, and it functions less than half of the time. And if you go to reception to complain or ask for informations, they look at you like if you’re the biggest moron on earth.
Personnel, except from the Asians, is extremely unfriendly. They are all grumpy, and if you don’t speak German properly or if you are having difficulties, they don’t make too many efforts to help you further in English. It’s all about the Germans, as 95% of the passengers is German.
The boat had a delay of a couples of hours, but the next day we arrived one hour before the hour we should normally have arrived at. I don’t understand how this was even possible with such a slow boat. When leaving the boat with the tenders, there was also always quite some delay and a queue on the stairs till the 6th floor. And instead of letting people who were going on a planned excursion first, they were just letting everyone go as they wanted to go – a real mess.
The breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets were huge. But no matter what theme it was (Spain, Brazil, France,…), the food was very often the same. The taste wasn’t good, a lot of things didn’t look fresh and nearly everything was with pork meat or with some kind of fish. Poor vegetarians…
The flow to get the food was like the traffic between Brussels and Antwerp – a real disaster. Finding a place to take a seat was even harder than getting your food on your plate without being pushed by anyone. After the first couple of days we decided to first look for a place to sit down, and then go and get the food. And even if there was a lack of space, the personnel wasn’t speeding up, and the clearing of the tables went as slow as the boat. We had the possibility to drink free table wine and water, but if we had glasses we had none of those drinks on the table, and if we had the drinks we were missing the glasses. We had to ask for everything. The plates and the cutlery weren’t clean, and before entering Brazil the cutlery for one entire day was hanging on a special construction which was placed in the middle of the table. When the waves were getting bigger, the sound of the rattling cutlery got higher. When we were in Brazil the cutlery suddenly disappeared from the tables, because of the hygienic conditions of Brazil. If you were too late to join lunch, there was the possibility to eat a piece of pizza or a salad in the “pizza corner”. The pizzas were good, but for one or another reason there were no more drinks available to drink with your pizza. In terms of the food my impression is: nice try, but try it again because it’s worthless.
We joined a wine tasting on board. I’ll never do another wine tasting when being surrounded by Germans. 90% of the tasted wines were German wines. I expected some high quality. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to happen on this ship.
We spoke to other guests that already made a couple of cruises with AIDA, and every single person told us the same: this boat is the crappiest one of the entire AIDA float.
The cruise like we did it (Buenos Aires – Santos), will be deleted from their programme. We heard a couple of explanations, but we don’t know for sure what to believe. It’s a shame, because although the boat isn’t that good, the different locations are worth visiting.
If you don’t have too high expectations, and if it’s your first cruise, this ship might be ok.
I will however never go again on a cruise with the AIDAcara, and I’m not sure if I will ever book again with AIDA.