Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: Aida, Ibero & Paquet

Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review:  Aida, Ibero & Paquet

AIDAsol on trials, Courtesy of Meyer Werft

Aida Cruises took delivery of their newest ship, the 2,192 passenger AIDASOL in the first quarter of 2011.  On April 1st, it had the distinction of being the first vessel to use the new Hamburg Cruise Center Altona on the banks of the Elbe.  Also in port was the 1996-built AIDACARA (ex AIDA) the original ship of the line.  The new ship then proceeded to Kiel, Germany for her April 9th christening.  Chosen from a field of contestants, Bettina Zwickler was Godmother in a ceremony that everyone in Kiel was invited to attend.  Carnival Corporation surprised the industry by ordering two additional 125,000 gross ton, 3,250 passenger ships for Aida that are slated for delivery in 2015 and 2016.  The new ships will be built at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan, rather than the traditional European yards they have favored in the past.  Within five years, it is predicted that Germany will surpass the U.K. as the largest source of passengers from Europe with 2.28 million.  Aida Cruises, as part of the Costa operation, keeps their ships registered in Italy, despite being the most important German cruise brand.

GRAND HOLIDAY, aerial view Ibero Cruceros

Ibero Cruceros, already among the smallest divisions within the Carnival Corporation, shrunk by half, with just two ships dedicated full-time to the Spanish cruise market.  The 46,052 gross ton GRAND HOLIDAY (ex  HOLIDAY) completed its first full-year with the line after rejoining near-sister GRAND CELEBRATION (ex  CELEBRATION) in 2010.  These ships were built in 1985 and 1987 respectively and carry just under 1,500 passengers each.  The line retains the 1998-built GRAND MISTRAL, but as noted below, that vessel now caters to the French-speaking market.  The GRAND VOYAGER remained with Ibero Cruceros until November, before being transferred to Costa as the COSTA VOYAGER.  Like the French Paquet Cruises, this Spanish brand is controlled by the Italian Costa Crociere, which, in turn, is fully owned by Carnival Corporation.

GRAND VOYAGER Ibero Cruceros

Paquet Cruises’ reintroduction to the French market was so successful in 2010 with the COSTA ALLEGRA (ex ANNIE JOHNSON) that a larger ship, the 48,206 gross ton GRAND MISTRAL (ex MISTRAL) was substituted for 2011.  Carrying 1,196 passengers, this ship will continue to expand Carnival Corporation’s presence throughout Europe.  Both ships are managed within the group by Costa Crociere.

GRAND MISTRAL Photo by Johan Fredriksson. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Next up: Royal Caribbean International



Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake

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