AIDAaura Cruise Review by AntjeG
- Sail Date: September 2011
- Destination: Canada & New England
I went to Canada to visit my Canadian friends. My German friend and I went on the cruise after I finished my visit to the Canadian friends.
Sorry no hotel information pre- or post cruise as I stayed at my Canadian friend´s house and went home the day of disembarkation.
On-board language is German. Although all Crew members do speak English it might be difficult to get along without some German language knowledge. All the information sheets, entertainment, menus, anouncements are in German only (except safety anouncements which are also in English).
Passengers: 1200 mostly from Germany, Austria, Switzerland but also from other - mostly European - countries
AIDA offers freestyle cruising with no dress code (except that they ask for long pants in the evening and no swim outfit in the restaurants). There are no formal nights.
Gratuities are included in the cruise fare and service charge is included in your beverage purchases and spa treatments. GST is included in the prices for everythig you buy on board.
Activities & entertainment:
Broadway style shows in the theatre which I liked
Laser Show on the first evening is great
lots of parties with different mottos/themes both inside and on the pool deck (for example sailor´s Party, Bavarian Party, officers shaking cocktails and many more)
great live music bands
lots of sports including diving lessons, shuffleboard, workout in the gym, different gym classes (some of them you have to pay extra for), volleyball, yoga etc.
there is no casino on board (which is great for me as I don´t like casinos and in my opinion they only take space which can be used for other venues) but they offer bingo games
On our cruise there was a lecturer on board who was good. Not all AIDA cruises have a lecturer on board, it depends on the itinerary.
Various bars & Lounges - we expecially loved the nightfly bar
lots of workshops & cooking classes for an upcharge
great spa with relaxing treatments and ocean view sauna (note: sauna is German/Scandinavian style - nude with only a towel, no swimsuits allowed)
Crew is very friendly & helpful
self service laudry for a small fee is great if you travel for a longer time
port & shore excursions
see port Reviews
Please note that shore excursions booked with AIDA have German speaking guides normally. They don´t offer any other language.
travel to embarkation port:
We took the Montréal Airport bus from Airport to Lionel Groulx Metro Station and from there the Metro to Square Victoria which is near the port. You could easily walk from there to the port if you don´t have to manage luggage. A taxi from Square Victoria to the port was less than 10 CAD. The bus/Metro ticket is valid for 24 hrs and can be used for city sightseeing, too.
We had an inside cabin on deck 4 in the back of the ship. I liked the design. Enough storage and the bathroom was nice, too. AIDAs cabins are smaller than on most cruise lines (approx 13.5 square metres for an inside cabin, balcony cabins are bigger). AIDA provides shower gel, shampoo and hair dryer in the cabin.
Sometimes some noise from the engine but not too much. As the cabins in the back are sold for a lower price it is o.k.
AIDA has buffet as their main dining. I absolutely love their buffets. The presentation/decoration is wunderful. You find fresh sliced fruit for every meal and a wide selection for soups, salads, entrees, desserts. The restaurants are styled almost like the main restaurants with service on other ships - there is no "buffet lunch at work" feeling which I experienced on other cruise lines.
Drinks with your meal are included in the cruise fare (except champagne, upscale whine etc).
Specialty dining with service at the table is available for an upcharge - we didn´t try it as we were very happy with the buffets.
Buffets tend to be crowded in the first 15 minutes or so after the restaurants open. We went later and had no issues.
Only a few tables for 2 or 4, mostly 6-10 to a table. AIDA wants their passengers to meet other passengers.
is offered (in German) but as we didn´t travel with kids I can´t rate it
As we disembarked in N.Y. we had to store our luggage outside the port until we went to the airport. This can be an issue. We booked storage separately and went there by taxi.
You don´t get a set disembarkation time Slot with AIDA. You just walk off any time you want. You must leave your cabin by 9 AM and the ship by 11 AM in the US (you may stay on board after 11 AM on disembarkation day for an upcharge in European ports).
great itinerary, nice ship which only feels crowded if you want to dine at 6 PM
very friendly crew
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Bar HarborPlease note it´s a tender port and if you go from Canada to the U.S. you go through U.S. imigration here. Don´t think the day is yours.We had a bus tour pre booked and didn´t make it ashore on time. The operator was great and exchanged our tickets to their next tour at no additional costs.Lovely city and great views in the surrounding National Park. Worth every minute.View All 461 Bar Harbor Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Bar Harbor Cruise Port Review
Old Town Trolley TourWe had a day ticket for a funny HoHo tour operated with converted trams. Good value for money. Also went to the old states house museum which was interesting.View All 32 Old Town Trolley Tour Reviews
Acadian Maple ExperienceThe guide explained how maple syrup is made and we were able to try some of their products & buy them. Nice treat.View All 5 Acadian Maple Experience Reviews
City TourWe had a combined tour that included a short City tour and visit to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery (Titanic burial site). It was nice.View All 47 City Tour Reviews
Peggy's CoveLoved this - esp. as we had sunny weather and were the first tour bus that day. Lovely Little village and to get there you drive through nice countryside.Warning: tends to be extremely crowded later in the day. Noticed at least 5 busses going there when we left.View All 197 Peggy's Cove Reviews
City TourExplored the city using a public transport day ticket. Great City to explore and Park Mont Royal not to be missed. Loved Montreal and will certainly be back.View All 10 City Tour Reviews
Old MontrealNice part of the city easily to be explored just Walking off the ship. Visit Notre Dame church is a must.View All 1 Old Montreal Reviews
Central ParkHad a short walk at Jacqueline Kennedy Reservoir which was nice.View All 4 Central Park Reviews
City TourWe had a HoHo Bus pass which was great. Ticket included a city map. Great value. Guides friendly and with great knowledge and stories to share with their guests.View All 29 City Tour Reviews
Metropolitan Museum of Arttime on a cruise visit is not enough - you need a week to explore allif you love art from all over the world it´s still worth to take a breath of itView All 1 Metropolitan Museum of Art Reviews
Rockefeller Centerit was raining and very cloudywe were told at the ticket Counter to come back when the weather is betterdid go in the bad weather and it was a great experience with the clouds hanging between the big housesView All 8 Rockefeller Center Reviews
The Statue of LibertyLong time to wait for the ferry at Battery park to be boarded because of security check (similar to Airport security)lovely ferry ride with great view on Manhattan Skylinestatue of liberty is impressive even if you don´t get a ticket for inside visit (sold out - no chance to get a ticket the day we where there)lovely park to walk aroundView All 6 The Statue of Liberty Reviews
Times Squareonly a short walk from Manhattan cruise terminaloverwhelming experiencebusy, colored, noisy but - greatView All 7 Times Square Reviews
City TourWhat a lovely City! But a city tour really is not nessessary as you can easily get around walking and using the elevator that connects the lower and upper parts of the city. However, the guide was knowledgeable and friendly and we enjoyed the tour.View All 44 City Tour Reviews