AIDA Cruises has announced that its venerable cruise ship AIDAaura will homeport in Cape Town for the 2022/23 cruise season ahead of her retirement from the fleet.
AIDAaura is the first of three ships confirmed by Carnival Corporation to be leaving its global fleet this year. Carnival Corporation is the parent company of AIDA Cruises and eight other major cruise lines.
AIDAaura will be sold out of the fleet in September this year, as Carnival Corporation looks to offload three smaller, older ships, which are less efficient and therefore less profitable than its recent spate of newbuilds.
The cruise giant embarked on a major newbuild program in the years leading up the COVID-19 pandemic, and then took on immense levels of debt during the 2020 shutdown. It’s now looking to cut operating costs across all its brands.
AIDA Cruises has announced a farewell season for AIDAaura, kicking off in Cape Town on January 9th, 2023, when she will sail the first of four roundtrip 14-night voyages on the South African and Namibian coasts.
These cruises will sail from Cape Town and visit Durban, East London, and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, along with Luderitz and Walvis Bay in Namibia. Each itinerary will include an overnight in Port Elizabeth for game safaris in the interior, and in Cape Town on the final night of the cruise.
On March 6th, 2023, AIDAaura will depart Cape Town on a 27-night repositioning cruise to Hamburg, Germany, visiting Namibia, the Cape Verde Islands and Canary Islands, as well as Portugal and Spain.
From April, she’ll then sail alternating week-long cruises to the North Cape in Norway, or to Scotland. These can also be booked as a 14-day back-to-back cruise.
In July and August, the ship will sail from Hamburg and Bremerhaven on 21-day cruises to Iceland and Greenland visiting the glaciers and icebergs in Prins-Christian-Sund or Disko Bay.
AIDAaura’s last voyage for AIDA Cruises will be a European rivers itinerary, visiting the Thames via Tilbury on the outskirts of the British capital London, the Seine in France via Rouen and the Scheldt in Belgium via Antwerp.
Carnival Corporation had confirmed in December that it was planning to sell a further three ships as it looks to cut operating costs in the wake of the pandemic. It said two of the three vessels would be from its Costa fleet but did not name the ships to be sold.
If the remaining two vessels to be sold come from the Costa fleet, they are likely to be Costa Serena, Costa Diadema or Costa Magica, all of which have yet to re-enter service. Costa Magica is the oldest of them, built in 2004, and is the only one without a resumption date.