First cruise ­liner for the New Year calls

The 48 200-ton, 1 600-passenger AIDAmira became the first cruise liner to call at the Port of Walvis Bay on 2 January 2020.

07 January 2020 | Infrastructure

The 12-deck 216 m vessel is currently on a 14 day round-trip South African and Namibian “New Year” cruise that began in Cape Town on 23 December and ends there again on 6 January 2020.

AIDAmira is the AIDA fleet's 14th vessel and joined the AIDA Selection liners AIDAcara, AIDAvita and AIDAaura in 2019. These fleet mates are AIDA's smallest and operate on longer itineraries with more unusual cruise routes.

AIDA is Europe's largest German cruise line (followed by TUI) targeting younger and active travellers. The company was founded in 1960 (as Deutsche Seereederei) and in 2000 was acquired by P&O Princess Cruises, which merged with Carnival Corporation (ship-owner) in 2003.

AIDA's first World Cruise (AIDAcara) was in 2017-2018 (October-February) with a 116-day roundtrip from Hamburg, Germany.

Prior to its AIDA service, the AIDAmira which was formerly known as Costa neoRiviera was drydock refurbished and remodelled. The swimming pools were reduced from three to two (larger) with two large whirlpools on the sundeck.

Of the 624 staterooms on the vessel, 96 are suites (80 with balconies). The refitted ship now has six restaurants and six bars.

Besides the ship's staff and crew, AIDA cruise passengers are served by Peper robots. This is the latest cyborg technology implemented fleet-wide in 2016. Pepper robots are mobile and communicate in three languages (English, German, and Italian). They can also interpret human emotions by analysing voice tones and facial expressions. These humanoid robots greet and guide passengers upon embarkation.

They also assist throughout the cruise by providing information and tips on on-board dining, entertainment, the enrichment program (workshops, pre-scheduled events), casino and shopping promotions, shore excursions and tours.

The vessel departed on its inaugural cruise for AIDA on December 4, 2019 (leaving from Palma, Mallorca) to South Africa.

AIDAmira visited Port Elizabeth on 27 December, East London on 28 December and Cape Town on 30 December before sailing to Namibia where it spent 2 and 3 January in the Port of Walvis Bay.

It then set sail for the Port of Lüderitz, arriving at 18:00 on 4 January.

The AIDAmira arrived back in Cape Town yesterday at 04:00.

Other cruise liners heading to the Port of Walvis Bay include the MS Nautica (8 January), Artania (12 January), MSC Orchestra (19 January), AIDAmira (19 January), MS Nautica (22 January), Marco Polo (25 January) and AIDAmira (30 January).

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