German shipbuilder MEYER WERFT held a steel cutting ceremony on February 21 in Papenburg marking the ceremonial start of construction for the newest cruise liner for Rostock-based cruise company AIDA Cruises. The new cruise ship will be the world’s first capable of operating completely on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Felix Eichhorn, President of AIDA Cruises, pressed the start button of the computer-controlled cutting machine to commence work on the first steel plate for the next generation of AIDA cruise ships. The first ship in this new class will be delivered at the end of 2018, and the second in spring 2021.
With these two new vessels, AIDA will become the first cruise shipping company in the world with the capability to operate its ships using 100 percent LNG.
The ships will be powered by engines made by Caterpillar / MaK which fulfill the strictest environmental regulations. Energy efficiency was the key focus of the entire engineering work, the shipbuilder said. The planning and design activities gave priority to heat recovery, innovative electric motors, LED lighting, ship automation geared to energy efficiency, optimized underwater paintwork to reduce resistance, weight-optimized material selection and many other topics.
“We are very pleased that we can break completely new technological ground with AIDA in this way. AIDA and Carnival now lead the way for establishing LNG as the fuel of the future,” said Tim Meyer, CEO at MEYER WERFT.
“AIDA will be giving the German holiday market a completely new impetus with the new Helios Class,” said AIDA President Felix Eichhorn.
The new ships are also equipped with features tailor-made for the destination and for a first-class cruise experience. The ships will set new standards, not only in terms of their 183,900 gross tonnage and space for 2,500 cabins, but also in terms of design and environmental compatibility.
The project continues AIDA’s partnership with MEYER WERFT; from 2007 to 2013, the Papenburg shipyard produced seven Diva Class cruise liners that operate today in the market for AIDA cruises.