Meyer Werft Floats AIDAnova, the World’s First LNG-Powered Cruise Ship

AIDANova pictured Tuesday, August 21, 2018, after its float-out from Meyer Werft’s covered building dock. Photo: Meyer Werft

German shipbuilder Meyer Werft has floated out the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ship from its covered construction dock in Papenburg.

The float-out of AIDAnova took place Tuesday evening from the shipbuilder’s 504-meter building dock II. The vessel was then berthed at the outfitting pier, where its mast and funnel cladding will be fitted.

AIDAnova is scheduled to make the trip down the river Ems to Bremerhaven in late September. There, the cruise ship will undergo final outfitting and interior fittings, while further testing will be performed on the ship’s LNG-powered engines followed by sea trials. 

AIDAnova is the first of three LNG-powered ships planned for Carnival Corp.’s AIDA brand. The ship is scheduled to join AIDA Cruises’ fleet this Fall as the first-ever cruise ship in the world to be fully powered by LNG. The AIDAnova will have over 2,600 passenger cabins, a gross tonnage of over 180,000, a length of 337 meters and a width of 42 meters.

The second ship in the series will be christened in the spring of 2021, followed by the third in 2023.

As of earlier this year, Carnival had agreements in place with Meyer Werft and its Finish sister yard Meyer Turku to build nine LNG-powered cruise ships across four of Carnival’s nine global cruise brands with delivery dates between 2018 and 2023

A video of the float-out is below:

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Carnival line’s largest ship going to Port Canaveral

Image result for carnival horizon

Carnival Cruise Line said it reached an agreement with the Canaveral Port Authority to build a new terminal for the 5,286-passenger ship Carnival plans to deploy in 2020.

The 180,000-gross ton ship is 34% larger than Carnival’s most recent vessel, the 134,000-ton Carnival Horizon.

Carnival noted that the vessel will offer “an array of groundbreaking, never-before-seen features and attractions,” while also being the first North American-based cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas.

Further ship details, along with itineraries from Port Canaveral, are expected to be announced in 2019.

The ship is the second recent newbuild set to debut outside of Miami, where Carnival’s newest ships are typically based. Next year, the Carnival Panorama will debut in Long Beach, Calif., which will be its year-round homeport.

Carnival said it currently has three year-round ships based in Port Canaveral carrying upwards of 650,000 passengers a year. In October, the six-year-old Carnival Breeze will be repositioned from Galveston to homeport at Port Canaveral as well.

Royal goes big with Mariner of the Seas’ makeover

The Skypad is a new bungee/trampoline/virtual reality attraction on the top deck of the renovated Mariner of the Seas.
The Skypad is a new bungee/trampoline/virtual reality attraction on the top deck of the renovated Mariner of the Seas. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst

Royal Caribbean International is raising the bar on short cruises from South Florida, starting this summer with the Mariner of the Seas, fresh off of a $120 million Royal Amplified refurbishment.

The upgrades mean that not only will the 3,114-passenger Mariner be the largest ship in the three- and four-day market, it will be one of the most full-featured.

Previously, Royal Caribbean devoted ships such as the Majesty of the Seas to the short-cruise product. These ships were generally among the smallest and least modern in its fleet. Although guests rated the Majesty well, it wasn’t because of its hardware.

“Majesty was older, and it didn’t have the chills and the thrills this one does,” said Christina Pinto of Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Boca Raton, Fla., after a tour and ice show on the Mariner for travel agents last month.

The package of improvements had already been in the market for several weeks by the time the launch took place.

“I’ve had good feedback from people who have sailed already,” said Roberta Schwartz, a Cruise Planners franchisee in Plantation, Fla.

Among the new features, one of the most visible is the Skypad trampoline/bungee/virtual reality combination on the top deck that figures to be Royal’s rock climbing wall for the coming decade.

Housed in a 30-foot, perforated sphere made of marine-grade aluminium, the brightly painted Skypad is an intriguing structure to anyone seeing the ship from a distance, especially lit up at night.

Within the Skypad are four bungee harnesses fastened to the sphere and suspended over one-person trampolines. Riders can bound up and down on the trampolines safely guided by the harnesses, either with or without a set of virtual reality goggles that add a fourth dimension to the already rich experience.

The Skypad is part of a makeover of the rear of the sports deck that also includes the addition of waterslides and a FlowRider surfing simulator.

Another attraction at the top of the ship is the Observatorium, an escape room game in the former chapel that gives groups a limited amount of time to decipher clues and get out of a locked room.

Farther down, the Mariner has gained two new bars. One, Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade, is a version of a feature first added to the Symphony of the Seas, a newer, larger ship. The other, unique to the Mariner for the moment, is the Polynesian-themed Bamboo Room, a tiki bar on the Royal Promenade. It’s a retro hangout with umbrella drinks to spare and certainly an upgrade over the retail space previously there.

The Mariner of the Seas features a new ice show, “Ice Under the Big Top,” in Studio B.
The Mariner of the Seas features a new ice show, “Ice Under the Big Top,” in Studio B. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst

And in the depths of the ship, in Studio B, Royal has developed Escape From Planet Z, a laser tag game. That’s in addition to a terrific new ice show, “Ice Under the Big Top,” excerpts of which were previewed for agents.

Before the show, Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales, trade support and service, said the Mariner is positioned to draw more new-to-cruise guests. “We need to get people who have never thought about a cruise vacation to kind of take a test drive with us, and we thought to put this magnificent hardware in the short-cruise market would do exactly that,” she said.

After three weeks in service, Royal was sourcing a higher percentage of first-time cruisers on the Mariner than on any other ship, she said.

Part of that might have to do with pricing and perceived value. “It’s almost like having a brand new ship but at old prices,” said Kyle DeDomenico of Cruise Planners in Boca Raton.

Beyond attracting those new to cruise, another function of the Mariner is to serve as a delivery vehicle for Royal’s vastly improved CocoCay private island, which is being upgraded with a waterpark, a pier, a wave pool and several other attractions.

Freed warned that the prices won’t last.

“Right now the prices are very low for all of the ships that are calling at CocoCay, but once we start to ramp up, the prices will go higher because it’s such a great attraction,” Freed said. “So if you have clients that are thinking about 2019, book them now because they won’t find prices like you currently see.”

The Mariner will be the short cruise offering from Miami through May when the next ship to receive Royal Amplified upgrades, the Navigator of the Seas will take its place. The Mariner will then be redeployed on short cruises from Port Canaveral.