The two ships under construction by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at Nagasaki in Japan for Aida Cruises will be designed for year-round operation from German ports, it has been revealed. They will run on diesel fuel rather than the more widely used heavy fuel oil and will be equipped with an air bubble system that will reduce the friction between the hull and the water, leading to improved fuel economy. Fuel consumption will then be about one litre per passenger per 20 miles.

ABB will supply the podded propulsion systems for the new ships in a deal worth around $60 million. In addition to the pods, ABB’s role includes the supply of generators, bow thruster motors and a whole host of electrical control gear.

Aida Cruises still have to take delivery of the final two ships from the seven-ship order with Meyer Werft. AIDAmar will enter service after a naming ceremony in Hamburg on 12 May and her sister, AIDAstella will follow in the springof2013.

The spectacular growth of the Aida Cruises fleet reflects the growth in German cruising generally, with the German market set to overtake that of the UK in the very near future. In 2011 the German source market grew by more that 17 per cent to 1.4million passengers.

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