Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) completed delivery of the AIDAprima, the first of two large cruise ships being built for AIDA Cruises at MHI’s Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works. A ceremony to mark the occasion was attended by Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group, and Felix Eichhorn, President of AIDA Cruises, representing the new owner, and Shunichi Miyanaga, President and CEO, and Yoichi Kujirai, Senior Executive Vice President and President/CEO of Commercial Aviation & Transportation Systems, representing MHI. The parties signed the formal delivery documents, and the national flag at the ship’s stern was changed from Japan’s Hinomaru to the Tricolore of Italy.
After the ceremony the AIDAprima set sail from the Nagasaki Shipyard heading to Hamburg, Germany. The AIDAprima is scheduled to commence its first regular cruise from Hamburg on April 30, including port stops in Rotterdam (Netherlands), Zeebrugge (Belgium), Le Havre (France) and Southampton (United Kingdom). Its official public presentation in Europe will take place at a christening ceremony to be held on May 7 as part of the 827th Hamburg Port Anniversary celebrations taking place from May 5 through 8.
Construction of the second of the two ships will now be streamlined leveraging the knowledge gained from building the AIDAprima.
“AIDAprima is the first ship of an entirely new AIDA product family. With creativity and great innovativeness, our team has managed to implement our high standards in terms of product quality and environmental friendliness in an exemplary and impressive way. We are extremely pleased with the successful design of the ship, and look forward to welcoming guests aboard her, who are going to be equally impressed,” said Michael Thamm, CEO Costa Group, on the occasion of the ship’s handover.
Felix Eichhorn, President of AIDA Cruises, speaking at the AIDAprima’s delivery ceremony, stated: “20 years ago, AIDA launched its concept of modern cruising. With our new flagship and the three newbuilds to follow, the company will continue to provide important growth impulses for the German cruise market. We are once again charting new territory by being the first German cruise line to offer cruises starting from Germany the whole year round. I am convinced that we will reach new guest groups with our unique variety of offerings aboard AIDAprima.”
Shunichi Miyanaga, MHI President and CEO, commented: “We are proud to deliver AIDAprima, the first of a new generation of energy-efficient cruise ships superbly equipped to provide a fantastic cruising experience. Given the cutting-edge nature of the ship, construction was challenging but ultimately we built a cruise ship of the very highest quality, offering superior comfort and entertainment features for passengers. It provided us with many key learnings to enable a smoother construction process for future vessels – starting with AIDAprima’s sister ship.”
The AIDAprima has 18 decks, is 300 meters in overall length, and has a gross tonnage of 125,000 tons. Among its numerous indoor public amenities are a 3-story multi-purpose theater in the center of the ship’s atrium, 12 restaurants, 18 bars, shops, a 3,100 m2 “Body & Soul” area, discotheque, casino and micro-brewery. The uppermost deck has two swimming pools under large foil domes (one with a water slide) and an ice skating rink. The ship has a total of 1,643 staterooms, making it the most expansive ship in the AIDA Cruises fleet.
The AIDAprima is the world’s first cruise ship equipped with the “Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System” (MALS)1, MHI’s proprietary technology that enhances fuel efficiency. Other cutting-edge technologies that save energy, increase automation and reduce manpower needs include a pod propulsion system2, liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel supply system, the latest gas emissions treatment system, and a new air-conditioning system that saves on energy consumption by using waste heat. The AIDAprima is also equipped with state-of-the-art technologies to ensure safety onboard. Together these features make the AIDAprima a next-generation large cruise ship sure to make every AIDA cruise a unique and special experience.
1. Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS): An innovative system in which air blown out from the vessel’s bottom produces small air bubbles that cover the vessel bottom like an “air-carpet,” reducing friction between the hull and seawater during navigation. MALS also enables a significant reduction in energy usage and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
2. Pod propulsion system: A propulsion system whereby a ship’s propellers are turned by cocoon-shaped attachments called “pods” that have built-in electric motors. The advantages of a pod propulsion system include its ability to reduce fuel consumption, outstanding steering performance because the pods rotate, low noise and vibration because there is no propeller shaft, and greater freedom in the system’s placement within the ship.
Main Specifications of the AIDAprima
Gross tonnage: Approx. 125,000 tons
Length overall: 300 meters
Width: 37.6 meters
No. of decks: 18
No. of staterooms: 1,643 (accommodating up to 3,286 passengers)