This follows Carnival Corp. & plc’s December announcement that three more older, less efficient vessels — two of them Costa’s — would go, and the exit of AIDAaura’s older sister, AIDAvita, which ceased operations three years ago and today remains idle in Tallinn.
The future of the AIDA pair is yet to be revealed.
Together with AIDAcara and AIDAvita, AIDAaura launched the product ‘AIDA Selection,’ first presented in Hamburg in September 2016 and kicked off in early 2017. It was the beginning of a new cruise concept that focussed on destinations off the beaten track using smaller ships and which included world cruises — considered innovative for AIDA at that time.
In 2018/19, AIDAaura sailed around the world, visiting 41 destinations on four continents within 117 days.
A changed cruise landscape
Since then, and in the wake of the COVID pandemic, the line has phased out its smaller vessels.
AIDAcara was sold in 2021 and last June, AIDA Cruises revealed AIDAvita would not resume operations.
AIDAmira, acquired in 2019 to strengthen the AIDA Selection program, operated commercially for just three months due to the pandemic and was eventually sold last year.
AIDAaura’s exit as the last of the four smaller vessels leaves the operator’s remaining fleet composed strictly of large vessels.
800 cruises, 1m passengers plus goodbye sailings
This winter will see AIDAaura continue fortnightly cruises in South Africa and Namibia, prior to a repositioning journey to Hamburg starting March 6.
April will see the ship operating cruises to Norway and Scotland, ahead of a series of itineraries to the UK, Ireland and France in May and June.
Twenty-one-day cruises to Iceland and Greenland are scheduled for July and August, before AIDAaura embarks on its very last commercial voyage from Bremerhaven on September 9. Ports of call will include London Tilbury, Rouen and Antwerp, among others.
The voyage concludes September 21 when the vessel returns to Bremerhaven, ceasing operations after more than 800 cruises and 1m passengers in the slightly more than two decades it has spent under the AIDA flag.