I am sure you can easily imagine how thrilled I was when I got invited to a cruise that was so VIP it couldn’t even bee booked; it was an invitation-only thing on the (at this point) totally virgin AIDAperla, the to date newest ship of AIDA’s fleet. The vessel was built in Japan and started its journey on the 3rd of May 2017. After about three weeks on sea it finally arrived at its first European harbour ever: Limassol in Cyprus. Along with my +1 and 598 more invited guests I embarked on the 25th of May. We were the first guests ever. You gotta imagine that feeling of being the first person to use that specific bed, the first group of guests who ever stayed on the AIDAperla. It was a bit weird, but also great fun.
So, first a few words about the ship itself. The AIDAperla is the “sister” of the AIDAprima who is in operation for about a year now. Both vessels belong to the Hyperion class and provide enough space for about 3,600 passengers and more than 900 crew members. All in all there are about 30 bars and restaurants, among them there’s even a brewery. Our favourite restaurants were the French Kiss, where you get excellent maccarons, and the Casa Nova, which serves delicious Italian dishes. But that’s by far not all that was exceptional.
The first goosebump-moment was when we left the port of Limassol. The sun was setting, the loudspeakers on board were blaring Enya’s “Sail Away” and we were having not only fantastic cocktails but also the most breathtaking views of the sunset. So our recommendation for leaving ports is for sure the so-called Lanai Bar. Except for that the Organic Spa and the Sky Walk, who leads you on a glass walk high above the ocean around some parts of the ship, became our favorite spots to hang out.
In the evenings we enjoyed the professional shows; Borris Brandt, head of entertainment, created a program that’s Broadway-worthy. Another place we got to enjoy was our state room. It was of the mid-size category and featuring a small bathroom with shower, bed and couch, TV and a balcony. The coolest thing there was for sure the hammock. It is a very special feeling to softly swing in it while reading and enjoying the amazing ocean view. Did I mention that I saw three dolphins and one turtle? Well, I did see three dolphins and a turtle! 🙂
Now let me say something about the Patio Deck. This is a very exclusive area in the front of the ship, above the bridge. If you book a state room here, you’ll get the more luxury version of a cabin and are also allowed to use the Patio Bar, lounge area and the infinity-pools. But the thing is… it looks good. In fact it’s a windy place and we rather prefered to hang out with the crowds at the Beach Club. All in all the atmosphere is very relaxed though. You don’t have to bring your smoking or evening dress for an AIDA cruise.
We loved everything, from the attentive service to the pool, the nightly entertainment, the crew members, the food and restaurants – we were thrilled. But what I found the most interesting part of the whole cruise were the backstage areas we were allowed to visit, for example the laundry and the galley. We saw where some tons of laundry are washed daily, where thousands of potatoes get peeled, where all the preparations happen to ensure an unforgettable journey for every guest on board.
After only four days we arrived in Naples/Italy, from where we flew back home. The ship stayed there for a few days before it continued its journey towards Palma de Mallorca/Spain, where it got christened by German model Lena Gercke and captain Boris Becker on the 30st of June 2017. I was a bit sad when we left our “swimming home” and I am sure that sooner or later I’ll be back on a cruise. And until then may you always have a hand’s breadth of water under your keel.
Featured image: (c) Aida Cruises