Unser Schwester………..Aida

January 27, 2008 -

John Heald

I learned German at school for 5 years. I actually remember my teacher Mr. Mason telling me I was rather good. I studied, listened to tapes and considering the words “could do better” and “needs improvement” and “if he is not careful John will grow up to become a Cruise Director” were used to describe all my other classes it was German where at least I was not at the bottom of the class. However as I sit here typing this blog’s introduction I can only remember a few words. I can say:

Wo ist Das Strassenbahnhalterstella………………”Where is the bus stop?”

Ich hebe ein Kopfschmerzen……………”I have a headache”…………… something my wife can say in 15 languages.

Why am I saying this…..well…………..I really wanted to introduce our guest star in German but unless he has a headache or wants to go on a bus I will have to stick to English.

You are all aware of our sister companies. ……….Princess, Costa, Holland America, Cunard and Seabourn. However, we have a European sister as well and as you might have guessed…………..she is a schwester……….a German sister. Her name is Aida and my friends who have recently returned from a voyage on one of their ships told me quite simply that the ship, the atmosphere in fact the whole package was one of the most brilliant voyages they had ever taken.

I was therefore curious myself……………….I wanted to know more ……………. .so I thought I would go to the top and ask just why this brand is one of Carnival Corporation’s most successful.

Meinen Damen und Herren (Ladies and Gentlemen……Heidi speaks fluent German)…………..please welcome the President of AIDA Cruises….Michael Tamm.

President of AIDA Cruises….Michael Tamm

1. Michael, please can you tell us about your career within the cruise industry so far leading up to your current position?

I started my career at the Deutsche Seereederei in Rostock in 1985. After occupying various positions in the shipping department of the DSR, I joined the cruise division in 1993. From 1994 until 2004 I oversaw the establishment and expansion of the AIDA fleet as Senior Vice President Operations of the company. In June 2004, I was appointed president of AIDA Cruises.

2. For those of us who are not aware of the AIDA’s amazing success, can you tell us about the company’s history.

The German cruise market in the early 1990s was over-aged and stagnating.
We felt that there must be something else beyond the traditional concepts, a product being able to refresh the appeal of cruise ships in Germany.

We had always in mind to build up a strong brand and excellent product for the masses.
With the AIDA concept we created a product that was dedicated to the younger and more active passenger, achievable for those who did not cruise before.

From the beginning the share of passengers without cruise experience – apart from AIDA repeaters – has been in excess of 90 percent. The concept was dedicated for those guests preferring shore based vacation so far – in hotels or resorts – to take them to the cruise market and it works!

AIDA is today the biggest and the best recognised cruise line in Germany.

3. Lets talk about the ships. How many vessels do you have and what does the future hold.

We introduced our first ship in 1996 followed by two sister vessels in 2002 and 2003.
The first ship of the second AIDA generation – AIDAdiva – has been delivered in April 2007. She has been christened in a public event in front of 350,000 spectators – it was just amazing! I think AIDA played a key role to a complete change of perception of the customers versus cruise products. We will keep on growing in the years to come. We have another five 2,500-berth ships on order at Meyer Yard in Papenburg to be delivered from 2008 to 2012.

Despite a significant growth in the past: I am confident that we will see by far more German cruise passengers in future. We counted less than one percent of the German population of 82 million on cruise ships last year – we can introduce many new ships in future!

4. Where do your ships sail to?

Our increasing fleet enables us to enrich the variety of AIDA products with new destinations. We have currently two ships in Caribbean sailing out of Aruba on two different 14-day cruises. AIDAdiva is sailing in the Canary Islands whilst AIDAcara is deployed in the Arabian Gulf.

In summer we will be sailing with three ships in the Western and Eastern Mediterranean
and with two ships in the north of Europe. In fall 2008 we will be sailing first time in our history out of New York to Montreal on a number of 10-day cruises. And in 2009, we will introduce a very exiting itinerary in Asia with destinations from Bangkok to Singapore.

New destinations keep our product fresh and vital and extend the variety of choice for our customers. I am confident we will see many new deployment areas and destinations on the AIDA map in future.

5. Is there such a thing as a typical AIDA guest?

The typical AIDA guest is active, easy-going, young at heart and German-speaking. They enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and a casual style for their holiday. Also we are appealing to families to a wide extent.

6. Let’s chat about the onboard experience. On days at sea what will your guests enjoy and how will they spend their time.

AIDA ships are renowned for their youthful style and casual service. As a seagoing “club resort,” AIDA ships incorporate the successful elements of upmarket clubs and resorts in the premium and four-star range, with a host of on-board amenities and facilities that attract younger, more active vacationers. With no formal dress codes, AIDA’s casual on-board style includes high quality buffet dining as well as full-service restaurants. By day, there is a big emphasis on wellness and fitness activities in the large and popular AIDA Spa & Sports area, and on the expansive open decks. At night, there’s lively entertainment in the theatre, and the well-patronized bars and lounges create a festive, easygoing atmosphere.

7. Can we talk about food and drink? Are there any typical German influences during dining and within the entertainment areas?

Variety is the keyword. Dishes from every corner of the world directly prepared before the eyes of the guest or arranged on varied extensively decorated buffets – on the AIDA ships, each guest’s wishes are satisfied. Our restaurants offer different, international specialities cooked according to German tastes. Italian cuisine and Caribbean food are very popular among or guests. On the last day of the cruise, our guests enjoy a special farewell dinner with lobster and “Kaiserschmarrn” (cut-up and sugared pancake with raisins), which is a very popular Austrian dish. On special occasions like Christmas we serve the traditional German dishes like goose roast or carp and for dessert a stolen.

8. I once had the privilege of hosting a German speaking charter on the Carnival Triumph. We had 3,000 German-speaking guests and German/Austrian entertainment with Karl Moik and Musikanten Stadl. It was fantastic, it was wunderbar and the people were so much fun. I have heard from colleagues who have sailed on your ships that this atmosphere is relevant every night on AIDA ships………………..is this true and if so can you describe the onboard feeling.

The entertainment on AIDA ships is virtually legendary. The shows are especially produced for AIDA and can be exclusively watched only on board the four AIDA ships. The dancers and singers awake emotions that are meant to last. Entertainers, singers, dancers, comedians and the club team, they feel all as hosts aboard the club ships.

The opportunities for entertainment are varied: Beside the shows, there are a lot of activities like workshops, courses and games. Two live-bands and one DJ are always on board to ensure high-quality entertainment. For kids and teens, special activities are provided by the Kids Crew.

With regards to entertainment we have introduced an industry-new concept – the Theatrium – on board AIDAdiva. Three decks high, the Theatrium provides passengers on decks 9 through 11 with the opportunity to watch the ongoing shows as they wish – and if they wish. The Theatrium is in use right through the day, which means passengers can either sit down for just a couple of minutes, or stay and watch an entire show. With a number of bars, restaurants and other public areas adjacent to the Theatrium, the bottom line is that the available space on board the ship is being used more effectively. Even the rehearsals are open to everyone.

9. For people who just love cruising many of which will read this interview will be asking “would I enjoy an AIDA cruise even if I do not speak German?” ………………. how would you answer that?

AIDA offers a cruise experience that appeals too many people, not only German-speaking. Our crew speaks English, so there is no problem in communication.

I think the ingredients of the AIDA concept work not only for Germans. It is less a matter of nationality but expectations on the product. If you are seeking a less formal cruise product with a young and active flavour – than you will be exited about your experience onboard an AIDA ship!

10. Finally and in keeping within tradition on the blog it is time to find out a little bit more about you Michael. You are hosting a table onboard one of the ships and therefore please can you fill in the blanks.


I would suggest a menu from our gourmet restaurant ROSSINI:

APPETIZER – Scallops on orange-couscous

MAIN COURSE – stewed veal on celery mash with thyme froth and Barolo sauce

DESSERT – Spicy cherries with polenta ice cream

WINE SERVED WITH DINNER – Silvaner, Q.b.A. dry, winery Hans Wirsching, Franken / Germany




A POLITICIAN: Nelson Mandela

A COMEDIAN: Steve Martin

A SPORTS PERSONALITY: Juergen Klinsmann (German Football-Trainer)


Danke Schoen Michael for that great insight to what sounds a fantastic product. So, when you see the AIDA ship alongside you will know that aboard are fun-loving people enjoying great food, entertainment and one day I hope Michael will invite me to sail so I can see for myself just why Aida is so successful…………….that would be wunderbar……………..and I can tell the crew that I have a headache.

Gute Nacht
Ihren Freunden
Johann und Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.