AIDAblu (AIDA Cruises) - Photos and reviews
Image gallery with photos of the cruise ship AIDAblu of the shipping company AIDA Cruises - taken during a Western Europe cruise from Germany to the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and the Netherlands in 2011
After several cruises on ships of Costa Crociere, MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), it was time to gain new experiences with other cruise operators. When speaking in Germany with other people about the topic cruise, AIDA Cruises is often praised to the skies. In many cases, the brand of the British-American group Carnival Corporation & plc, which specialises in guests from German-speaking countries, is even presented as having no alternative. We wanted to test this and booked a 7-night cruise on board the ship AIDAblu to the metropolises of Western Europe.
The cruise at a glance
Hamburg (Germany) - Day at sea - Le Havre (France) - Dover (United Kingdom) - Antwerp (Belgium) - Amsterdam (Netherlands) - Day at sea - Hamburg (Germany).
Due to a heavy storm, Rotterdam (Netherlands) was called at short notice instead of Amsterdam. As compensation AIDA Cruises paid for a 1st class rail journey to Amsterdam and return. Free shuttle buses were provided for the transfer between the cruise terminal near the Erasmus Bridge and the Rotterdam Centraal railway station.
Until now, we have booked all our cruises with various online travel agencies that specialise in cruises. Our experiences so far have been positive without exception. However, a local travel agency offered this cruise at a very attractive price, which could not be found cheaper anywhere else. Several travel agencies had jointly purchased a large contingent of staterooms from AIDA Cruises. When handing over the travel documents, the employee made a hint in this regard, because the documents were issued to a travel agency from Magdeburg (Germany) that was unknown to us.
For the journey to the embarkation port Hamburg (Germany) we decided to travel by car. Cheap train tickets at a discounted price were already sold out and unfortunately FlixBus was not available in 2011. First we headed for Hamburg main railway station to hand over our suitcases to the AIDA Cruises luggage transport service. We parked our car in the underground car park "Hauptbahnhof Centrum am Hühnerposten" (address of the entrance for the navigation system: Hühnerposten 1-2, 20097 Hamburg). With ~7 € per day (2011), the fees here were significantly lower than in the parking garage directly at the Cruise Center Altona. For the trip to the berth of the AIDAblu in the Altona district we used the free shuttle bus from the Central Bus Station (ZOB) which is only a few minutes' walk away.
As as mentioned before, the price of the cruise was quite cheap, we had no right to choose a specific cabin. Only the category "balcony stateroom" was guaranteed. We were a bit worried, because on the AIDAblu there are some unpopular balcony staterooms: For example with a balcony parapet made of steel plates instead of transparent glass. Also the staterooms on the very low deck 4 are not ideal. But we were really lucky with the stateroom assigned to us. We got the stateroom # 8140, located high up on deck 8 and in the middle of the AIDAblu. Especially the position amidships was later very advantageous on the North Sea with wind force 10 and high waves.