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3 AIDA Family Cruise Reviews

I had experience on Costa and NCL before this cruise. So, I was comparing with that lines. We decided to choose Aida this time as we wanted to experience German style cruising and found a good price for transatlantic cruise with return ... Read More
I had experience on Costa and NCL before this cruise. So, I was comparing with that lines. We decided to choose Aida this time as we wanted to experience German style cruising and found a good price for transatlantic cruise with return flight to Germany. Also, I liked itinerary with stops at: Hamburg, Southampton, La Coruna, Lisbon, Tenerife and several Carribean islands. Before the cruise, Aida sends you a small book with all tickets (flight, stateroom, transfers) and baggage strips. Very nice. Also, they send you a book with short description for port of calls and another book about the ship. Very nice as well. But all in German (but it possible to understand most of the information) Embarkation: it happens in Hamburg in Steinwerder terminal. This terminal is located in industrial zone without good public transport connection. But, you have an option to choose Aida transfer from rail station for 6 euro per person. Or choose taxi (Uber or Free-now) for approx 13-15 euro from city center. Embarkation time is assigned to you and it is in range of 1 hour. So, there is no big queue in terminal as everyone have it's own time. Disembarkation: this process was combined with registration for return flight from Barbados to Germany. This process was not organized well. We stay in huge queue in old warehouse for 1 hour. There are was no place to sit or no water to drink, no air-conditioning as well. Everyone was upset with this process. All tickets were pre-printed and we stay only to but luggage tags and get our boarding pass. I think this all can be done on the ship. Transfer to airport was ok: small bus but with air-conditioning. And return flight was nice: blankets and pillows for everyone, water was served often, we got food 2 times during the flight. Ship. Ship feels new. All environments are in good condition. Dining space is in great condition and designed well. A lot of fast elevators on the ship. Having the ship was full we didn't experience any issues waiting for the elevator like on most of the ships. Pool area is very small but there are a lot of places on sun deck with sun beds. No problem to find a place to sit. What I didn't liked in the ship: on most of the decks it is very narrow. Even inside cabins doesn't exist on most of the decks. You simply do not feel that you are on the quite a big ship (~3200passengers). It feels very small. Around exhaust pipes always bed smell (like on other ships, but I think more here). Also, a lot of small black exhaust from the pipes. All this goes on the railings, on the floor, on the sun beds and is not cleared by personnel. Dining. Aida gives a different experience in dinning options comparing to the most of the cruise lines. Probably dining was what we liked the most. One disadvantage: there are some gaps in time (half or hour in the morning and around 2 hours in the evening) when all buffets, except of Fuego, are closed. I didn't liked that. You can get food in 1 of 5 different buffet: Eastrestaurant, Bella-Donna restaurant, Market restaurant, Weite Welt restaurant and Fuego restaurant. They all have a similarity and some difference. First 3 are main buffets, Fuego is located close to Lido deck and provides quick snacks (burgers and pizza and pasta) and drinks Breakfast in main buffets offers: eggs in all forms (all have egg station where you can request type of egg you want and select additional ingredients: ham, cheese, onion etc), sausages, beans, cheese, great selection of yogurts (including natural), cereals, juices (orange, apple, tomato, grapefruit) etc. Starting from the lunch you can get alcohol: good beer (Berliner) and good white or red whine. For the soft drinks you can get: sparkling water, water, cola, cola zero, fanta, sprite and selection of juice. Soft drinks are available during the whole day in buffets (when they are open) For lunch pretty standard selection of food everywhere: soups, meat, fruits, desserts. On dinner selection of food differs in each restaurant. In Bella Donna you can find grilled shrimps everyday, grilled pork liver, lasagna, pasta of the day and italian salams. In Market buffet you can find better selection of fruits (it have whole wall of fruits which you can pickup), fish from ship own smokery, red caviar and lobsters on pre-disembarkation day, grilled stakes, selection of marinated vegetables. In Weite Welt you can find grill as well, pasta, soups. But nothing extra comparing to other buffets. In East restaurant you can find soup station where you can ask to prepare soup with ingredients of your choice and what they teppanyaki station where they can grill what you want (you can pickup meat, shrimps, calamari, noodles and vegetables). In each buffet you can find selection of 1-2 desserts (unfortunately, on Aida you will not have a great selection of dessert, only a couple and they almost do not change during the cruise), carved fruit, ice cream with toppings. There is 3 restaurants where you can get free food but you need to pay for drinks: French Kiss, Casa Nova and Brauhaus. Drinks are from 2.50e for lemonade and 3.90e for 0.5 beer. In French Kiss and Casa Nova you get standard a la cart selection from 5 course menu. Meals are good, but nothing special. In Brauhaus you can get half of duck or traditional pork knee. Not the best I've eat. They try to serve food fast so it is pre-cooked. But beer in this place is awesome. They serve Aida brewed beer which is on top with best Germany private breweries. And cost is 3.90E for 0.5. Also, there are several paid restaurants. We didn't visit any as selection of the food was amazing. Entertaiments. I didn't like that Aida Perla doesn't have normal theater like on other ships. It have so called "Theatrium". Which means they made area in Atrium to be the main place for all the shows. This area too small. Probably can fit not more that 500 peoples and some of the places on 2nd and 3rd level even don't have direct view on scene, guest must look onto TV screen. All entertainment are in German (of course some live songs are in English). Scene too small. So, no Broadway shows. Just mall entertainments: comedians, live singing, Voice of the Sea, Who wants to be a billionaire and so on. For non-German speaking guest I think there is nothing to watch during evenings. At 10PM there is live music on top deck. Different styles (rock, pop etc). Good to spend some time at night. Also, there are was some coaches on the board who had private sessions for guests who willing to pay extra. Service. Service on the ship is bad. And this is not because of bad personnel. There are just not enough peoples to serve such a big ship. Perla have 900 crew for 3200 passengers, comparing to 1700 crew for 4100 passengers on NCL Epic which I sail before. So, on perla, for 1 crew 3.5 passengers, and on Epic for 1 crew 2.5 passengers. This results in: - tables are not cleared promptly (especially in Fuego) - room service happens 1 time per day. Steward starts clearing in 9 at the morning and finish all his duty at 16-00. So, of course he don't have enough time for towel animals, to organize your cables and other handy things that you may find on other ships. - towels and linens are not changed every day - sun deck is not cleared at all. If there are was rain - water on the floor remains until everything become dry naturally. The same with black exhaust from pipes. Sometime you can't seat on sun bed because it is in black spots on it. I saw one case: there is a board on the floor for some game similar to cerling (don't know the name). And there are was a water licking from somewhere. Guests was not able to play. And no one from crew helped with this except they gave a cleaning tool to one of the guest so players can help themselves. - In restaurants crew pay more attention to older peoples. Don't know why, may be they are tipping them. Language on board. It's easy to cover what you can get in English: safety announcements, menu in specialty restaurants. Some messages to cabin related to visa processing on shore. Once i've contacted service desk to change the room as there are was an issue with balcony. I've got refuse letter in German! Disappointing. Disembarkation instruction was in German as well. And it was including instruction for the flight. 2 sided A4 paper. A lot of information. It was tricky to translate without internet. Conclusion. I've tried to cover negative more so everyone will be prepared and will enjoy all nice aspects of this company and this ship. Definitely it was a great experience for my family. For us it was a great value for the price of 100E for Balcony room per person per day with return flight included. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Today we came back from the cruise on Aida Perla. We had 7 days cruise starting from Hamburg. It was our third cruise. Two previous were on Italian ships. The first on Costa Fascinoza and the second on MSC Precioza. The Aida Perla is new, ... Read More
Today we came back from the cruise on Aida Perla. We had 7 days cruise starting from Hamburg. It was our third cruise. Two previous were on Italian ships. The first on Costa Fascinoza and the second on MSC Precioza. The Aida Perla is new, modern and well maintained ship. We came to the port by a shuttle from the Central Bus station. We booked it via AIDA site. The same was on the way from the port. An embarkation was well organized. The dinner is different from the Italian ships. There are few buffet restaurants in various styles. First two days we got upset searching a free table (they don't set you in 1st or 2th dinner shift. You come when you want). But then we learnt to check via screens on every deck, indicating where are free tables. Also you may come after the planned break and to have free tables abound. The food is hot, not like sometimes on Italian ships. You have real abundance of food and they always add after it ends. The cuisine is German cuisine but plenty and variety may supply every taste. Red and white wine and beer are free. I very liked a possibility to prepare a tea with big choice of various kinds either in bags and either in boxes but they provide paper bags to fill with a tea you choose. The water for tea is very hot (again, it is not similar to Italian ships). Twice we ate a dinner in restaurants requesting to made early reservation. You pay for drinks but don't pay for the food (you commit to order the drinks). But the service was excellent. You feel as VIP, not like one of hundreds in crowded restaurant we were accustomed of it in previous cruises. We had a balcony cabin on 14th deck. The cabin was excellent. I especially liked big closet and also enjoyed wooden floor in the bath room. There is a folded hammock on the balcony. The cabin is equipped with two USB connections to charge your devices. I appreciated that smoking was limited to few areas (in my review for MSC last year I wrote the it was the ship stinking with cigarettes due to almost free smoking). You don't need to pay automatically tips. Even if you want to pay, you hardly have to whom you may pay. We left banknote for our room servant despite I didn't meet him. In the buffet restaurants you take a food by yourself and there is now your own waiter. A swimming pool is big and clean (essentially bigger than on Italian cruises and the water is warm. On Italian ships you have to be a hero to immerse in the cold water of the swimming pool. Also an aqua park for children is located in close space and it creates good vibe in Northern waters (our last cruise also was in the Northern Sea and nobody dared even to look at open aqua park exposed to wind and cold). I have to say that nobody touts on AIDA and photographers don't hunt you. It is big advantage. Spa prices are the same for every day. They don't raise the price for a sea day. Wi Fi works excellent in every spot in the ship. And now that's a time to count few downsides. The most frustrating is that the ship is oriented to serve only German-speaking clients. Almost every letter (including daily on board newspaper) comes in German. I appealed to reception and asked to have the same in English. It was not possible but they invited me to come with the message or newspaper ant to get their translation. I suppose it's not a solution. Very often they announce something in German but it is not followed by the same in other languages. I felt not important and not valued guest. Stew names in the buffet are written in German. We paid for musical party in the evening but left disappointed after they had started to manage it in German only. Ship shows looked poor in comparing to Italian ships. The best were on Costa Fascinoza. And if you don't come at least a half an hour before, you don't have any chance to find a seat. The theater is small and it isn't built as amphitheater. So a back of a person sitting in front of you avoids you to see. Also the theater is not built as a separate department in front of the ship. It is located in the middle and people walk freely via both sides of every theater deck. Dancing parties were boring. A folk hardly danced and nobody tried to pull them for dancing. Last year on Precioza guys and girls from entertainment team knew how initiate the dancing. There was no discipline of disinfection. Nobody verifies usage of hand sterilization devices at entries of dining rooms. Sometimes there is no sanitation liquid in the devices. Also the trash is built so that you can't litter the paper into and not to touch it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
AIDA Prima Western Mediterranean Of course you have seen these outrageous looking ships with eyes and a huge kiss mouth right on the bow, and you might be a little curious to find out what on earth it's about. I decided to find out ... Read More
AIDA Prima Western Mediterranean Of course you have seen these outrageous looking ships with eyes and a huge kiss mouth right on the bow, and you might be a little curious to find out what on earth it's about. I decided to find out for myself, and I went straight ahead for the flag ship herself. AIDA isn't like anything else that I've experienced on the seven seas. This is possibly as far away from classical cruising that you can get right now. If you love the freedom to do your thing, and have it your way then you're in for a good time. I actually can't remember standing in line a single time during this cruise. Some things that stand out is the multitude of buffet restaurants on the ship. Together with the restaurants featuring table service they offer excellent food in nice environments. The variety should cater for most tastes . You can choose between European, Italian, Venetian, French, Oriental, gourmet, a steak house, a cooking studio an Alpine brewery and a couple of fast food places. In the buffet restaurants you can help yourself to water, soft drinks and good enough beer and whine. The restaurant experience is an important part of cruising for a lot of people, and the buffet options on a ship doesn't seem to appeal to most review writers, but AIDA certainly challenges any pre-conceived ideas about grabbing your own food on a cruise ship. My wife was concerned about this, since she really enjoys being served at the table, but the quality, variety and environments in the different restaurants pleased her to the degree that she never even went to any of the restaurants with table service. However I did so. Out of pure curiosity I tried out French, Venetian and Alpine cuisine without getting disappointed. Even so, the impression was that people abandoned these venues going for the buffets instead. Another feature that makes AIDA stand out is the Theatrium. It doesn't offer as many great seats as a theatre, and it's nowhere near as fancy as a classical atrium, but it's extremely (multi-) functional. For a family where everyone is an individual with his and her own way of enjoying a cruise it's ideal way to come, go and regroup during a show in a way that you seldom can do on a cruise. If the Prima has a theme it has to be innovation. The Theatrium isn't the only multi-purpose venue onboard. In the aft you'll find a kind of water playground that turns into a movie theatre at night. In case of a big televised event, like world cup football this will be the place where the passengers can enjoy watching a game on an enormous screen. The beach club is a kind of hybrid between indoor and outdoor that changes according to the climate, and it becomes a nightclub and event space in the late hours where you can actually swim up to the action. The Lanai deck is a delight. It's a wide out door deck that runs around a large portion of the vessel. Here you will find fancy stairs, classical German beach baskets, an aft bar with great views, the outflow of a restaurant, and infinity pools. And who said that exit passages have to be horribly industrial in their appearances? Here AIDA got themselves a game changer with stylish venue design, plenty of interactive screens, a reception area, a cafe' where lots of items like fruit and sandwiches for your time in port are free of extra charge. And as if this wasn't enough there is a robot to play with while you wait to get off the ship. Like other great cruise lines there is no baksheesh nonsense /gratuities/ service charges. The ship is well kept right through, and all crew are totally cool- just the way I like it. Of course this shoe does not fit everyone. If the classic design of ships, service, musts and don'ts is your thing then you may not be so impressed with AIDA. Another odd thing for most cruisers is the FKK-Bereich, a nude section right up up the top of the centre of the ship. Certainly not for everyone, but for the few a way to get away from the crowds and get a nice place in the sun at the same time. And the flip side. AIDA is all in for the German speaking market. So you either need a working command of German or you need to be cool about not always knowing what's goin on. Since you really don't have so much interaction with the crew you don't get any extra attention for being the odd ones. We were about 60 people from outside the main target group so the ship put on an international English language gathering with free drinks in one of the night clubs. The tiny little outdoor pool area is far from sufficient. The hours you when you can serve yourself alcoholic beverages in the restaurants are limited and strictly kept. It's not the most generous cruise line when it comes to the port chuttles, but not among the worst either. Access to the Sauna is only at a surcharge. Our kids liked the cruise, but they enjoyed most other cruise lines better because AIDA really does not cater specifically for kids who do not speak German. The ports were well chosen. Ajaccio on Corse is a delight. If you pass on a trip on this beautiful island and stay in the capital you can enjoy a pretty town and the beaches after a lunch onboard. Civitaveccia is for a visit to Rome and not much more. Livorno is definitely nicer than Civitaveccia, but you'r better off if you choose between Florence, Lucca or Pisa. The last stop on the cruise, Barcelona offers something for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
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