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.