The maiden cruise of AIDAnova, the first LNG-powered cruise ship, has now been postponed until mid-December following delays in the testing and fitting-out process. This forced the last-minute cancellation of the promotional tour planned for 15 November and the inaugural 10-day voyage from Hamburg to the Canaries. According to the group, the cruise itinerary will now start on 19 December, also to the Canaries.
The 184,000-tonne vessel, the biggest cruise ship built in Germany, was originally due for delivery on 15 November, calling at the Port of Rotterdam among other places on a shakedown trip, but the delays forced the cruise line to reschedule bookings. Next, the maiden voyage scheduled for 2 December was cancelled.
Although its timetable was pushed back, AIDANova, which picked up an innovation award from the German gas industry in late November for its ‘green cruising’ concept, will still win the accolade of being the first LNG-fuelled cruise ship to hit the water. The runner-up will be the Costa Crociere-owned Costa Smerelda, due to be launched in 2019. However, the latter vessel will still be the first LNG-powered cruise ship to dock at Cruiseport Rotterdam where it is due on 22 October next year. Both ships are ultimately owned by Carnival.
AIDANova is the culmination of Carnival’s decade-long involvement with LNG, starting in 2011 with ships that could be supplied with LNG at port. The decision to build AIDANova was made in 2015.
The number of LNG-powered cruise ships under construction continues to rise, with 17 taking shape at last count. Carnival alone has commissioned two more vessels from the Meyer Werft yard in Papenburg, due to hit the water by 2023, and in mid-November construction officially began at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland on another LNG-fuelled ship for Carnival, the first to operate in North America, due for delivery in 2020. That as yet unnamed vessel will be followed by one more set for delivery in 2022.