First Dual-Fuel, Air Lubricated Cruise Ship Delivered


Published Mar 15, 2016 4:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

AIDA Cruises took delivery of its first new generation ship from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki during a formal ceremony on Monday. After the ceremony the AIDAprima set sail from the Nagasaki Shipyard heading to Hamburg, Germany.

The AIDAprima is the world's first cruise ship equipped with the Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS), Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's proprietary technology that enhances fuel efficiency. The system forms small air bubbles which cover the bottom of the vessel and reduce friction between the hull and seawater when sailing. MALS reduces carbon dioxide and fuel consumption by approximately seven percent.

Other cutting-edge technologies that save energy, increase automation and reduce manpower needs include a podded propulsion system, LNG fuel system, the latest exhaust gas emissions treatment system and a new air-conditioning system that saves on energy consumption by using waste heat. AIDAPrima is the first cruise ship that has this combination of a shore power connection, a comprehensive system for exhaust after-treatment and a dual fuel engine. The vessel may, depending on availability, be operated on LNG fuel while sailing or in port.

The AIDAprima has 18 decks, is 300 meters (980-foot) in overall length and has a gross tonnage of 125,000 tons. Among its numerous indoor public amenities are a three-story multi-purpose theater in the center of the ship's atrium, 12 restaurants, 18 bars, shops, a 3,100 m2 "Body & Soul" area, discotheque, casino and micro-brewery. The uppermost deck has two swimming pools under large foil domes (one with a water slide) and an ice skating rink. The ship has a total of 1,643 staterooms, making it the most expansive ship in the AIDA Cruises fleet.

The AIDAprima is scheduled to commence its first regular cruise from Hamburg on April 30, including port stops in Rotterdam (Netherlands), Zeebrugge (Belgium), Le Havre (France) and Southampton (United Kingdom). Its official public presentation in Europe will take place at a christening ceremony to be held on May 7 as part of the 827th Hamburg Port Anniversary celebrations taking place from May 5 through 8.

AIDAprima, the 11th ship in the AIDA fleet, will be christened by Emma Schweiger on May 7 in front of an audience of millions as the climax of the anniversary celebrations.
Felix Eichhorn, President AIDA Cruises: "20 years ago, AIDA launched its concept of modern cruising. With our new flagship and the three newbuilds to follow, the company will continue to provide important growth impulses for the German cruise market. We are once again charting new territory by being the first German cruise line to offer cruises starting from Germany the whole year round. I am convinced that we will reach new guest groups with our unique variety of offerings aboard AIDAprima."
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was awarded a contract to build two new generation Hyperion Class cruise ships for AIDA Cruises in August 2011. Mitsubishi booked a loss of $500 million for the two vessels of the AIDAprima's class in 2014, citing “difficulties involved in the construction of the prototype.” The firm also noted that “the volume of design work relating to the cruise ships cabins and other areas has been vast and significant design changes have been made,” which translated into further procurement and construction delays.

Shunichi Miyanaga, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry President and CEO, commented: "We are proud to deliver AIDAprima, the first of a new generation of energy-efficient cruise ships superbly equipped to provide a fantastic cruising experience. Given the cutting-edge nature of the ship, construction was challenging but ultimately we built a cruise ship of the very highest quality, offering superior comfort and entertainment features for passengers. It provided us with many key learnings to enable a smoother construction process for future vessels - starting with AIDAprima's sister ship."

By 2020, the AIDA fleet will grow to 14 ships.

Technical data AIDAprima
Shipyard: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Nagasaki
Keel laying: June 30, 2013
Commissioning: March 14, 2016
Length: 300 meters
Width: 37.6 meters
Max. draft: 8.00 m
Gross tonnage: 124,100 GT
Number of staterooms: 1,643 
Restaurants: 12
Bars: 18
Crew members: over 900
Passengers: 3,300
Classification: DNV GL