A steel cutting ceremony was held on February 21, 2017 for the world's first cruise ship that will be run completely on LNG.
The ceremony was held at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg. AIDA ordered two vessels from Meyer Werft in 2015. The vessels, with a size in excess of 180,000 GT and around 2,500 cabins each will enter the AIDA fleet in the fall of 2018 and spring 2021 respectively.
AIDA Cruises will thus become the first cruise shipping company in the world with the capability to operate its new generation of ships using 100 percent LNG.
The new Helios Class ships will be powered by LNG engines made by Caterpillar / MaK which fulfil the strictest environmental regulations. Energy efficiency was the key focus of the entire engineering work. The planning and design activities gave absolute 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 features.
The first seven-day cruises on the first of the LNG-fuelled newbuilds, the 13th member of the AIDA fleet, will take guests to the Canaries from December 2018. AIDA Cruises will announce further details of the new generation of ships over the coming months.
Last year, AIDA made the headlines with the AIDAprima - 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.