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FAQ Answers to questions on environmental issues

Table of contents:

  • Sustainability report
  • Diesel particle filter
  • Low-sulfur fuel
  • Emissions
  • Dual-fuel engines
  • Drive system on AIDA ships
  • Shoreside power supply
  • Fuel saving measures
  • Reduction of energy costs in the hotel area
  • Water savings
  • Waste avoidance
  • AIDA participation in research projects

Does AIDA have a sustainability report?

Yes. We communicate our commitment to sustainability in a transparent and accessible way. Wehave been publishing the “AIDA cares” sustainability report annually since 2007. That makes uspioneers and an example to follow in the German cruise industry. The latest report is available online at


Why aren’t diesel particle filters installed on ships yet?

The installation of diesel particle filters is currently not possible, as filters for cruise ships of this size are not yet ready for series production. However within the Carnival Group, we have been working intensively for years on developing a solution to reduce our emissions with as large a scope as possible. To date, well-proven and tested filter solutions that truly eliminate both sooty particles and nitrogen oxides (NOx) do not exist in practice. In addition to the technological requirements, a particle filter also requires a certain amount of space on board. It is yet not possible to simply retrofit a filter. Furthermore, clarification is also required on where and how the filtered particles can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. At AIDA, our objective is to implement a comprehensive solution as quickly as possible. We are convinced that a holistic solution is best for the environment.


Why isn’t only low-sulfur fuel used for operation?

Low-sulfur fuels have been used for years now on major navigable routes. Since 2007, we have been using only low-sulfur fuel as a matter of principle, in line with the legal regulations for the North and Baltic Seas. Since 2010, engines have been operating exclusively on diesel with a maximum sulfur content of 0.1% in all European ports. AIDA had already been doing this in the Port of Hamburg since 2007. Sulfur emissions have thus been cut by 90%. This is a tangible result, and we’re proud of it. Our engines can already process high-quality fuels such as low-sulfur HFO and marine gasoil (marine diesel).

However, low-sulfur fuel is not available everywhere. According to experts from the CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), demand cannot yet be met today. Therefore, the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) has decided to introduce a plan that will be phased in gradually.

Refineries will have to update their equipment in order to be able to produce the required amounts. AIDA supports this phased plan. In line with the plan, AIDA has also been using fuel with a low sulfur content of maximum 1.0% along the coast of North America since August 2012. From 2015, we will only use marine diesel in the SECAs, the Sulfur Emission Control Areas (e.g. the North and Baltic Seas and a zone of 200 nautical miles in North America). This means that we will increase the proportion of marine diesel used to 40% of total consumption.


Is it true that AIDA fleets produce the same amount of emissions as all of the cars in Germany?

No. Once again, the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Naturschutzbund Deutschland, NABU) made use of incorrect facts and inappropriate comparisons in its “Mir stinkt’s” (That smells) campaign. The NABU says, for example, that a cruise ship generates the same amount of emissions as five million modern automobiles over the same distance. This comparison is not only misleading, it is also untrue. This has been proven by independent experts such as Prof. Dr. Ing. Holger Watter from the Maritime Center at Flensburg University of Applied Sciences.

Besides transport, cruise ships also provide hotel accommodation, catering and infrastructure for leisure activities. These additional services are included in the evaluation of power use. Clearly, the NABU’s campaign against cruise travel has been guided by emotions, rather than by the objectivefacts about emissions.

It has actually been proven that cruise ships represent one of the most efficient means of transport with regard to CO2 emissions. Per person, a cruise ship emits around six times less CO2 than an automobile.

Prof. Dr. Ing. Holger Watter from the Maritime Center at Flensburg University of Applied Sciences is a renowned expert in sustainable power systems. He says: “Just 3% of CO2 emissions are generated by maritime shipping and travel. Ships are the most efficient means of transporting goods and people. They have emissions rates that are a fraction of those of other methods of transport (automobile, train, airplane). Maritime “power stations” achieve degrees of efficiency that are above those of shoreside stations. We’re not against environmental protection. Sea travel is – when considered objectively – economically and ecologically highly efficient. But when simplistic solutions are suggested and risks and secondary effects are ignored, then we need to take a closer look.”


Does AIDA use dual-fuel engines?

Dual-fuel engines can be operated with all ship fuels or with environmentally friendly liquefied gas. Our next generation of ships will be equipped with dual-fuel engines from 2015. We would have liked to have started using these engines even sooner. Unfortunately, however, to date the appropriate shoreside infrastructure has not been in place and there are no clear statutory guidelines.


What propulsion is used in AIDA ships?

The majority of our ships have a diesel-electric propulsion system. This means that the ship’s diesel motors are physically separate from the propeller’s drive shafts, which are turned by electric motors. The ship diesel engines operate power generators. The power generated in this way is fed into the onboard grid. This means that only as much energy as required is generated, and our ships are highly efficient at all sailing speeds. The use of a diesel-electric drive system also reduces the emission of pollutants.


What about supply with shoreside power?

<p>All AIDA ships put into service from 2007 are equipped for supply with shoreside power. Worldwide, a shoreside power supply is only available in a limited number of ports, and in Europe it is not yet possible to supply cruise ships with shoreside power. From an environmental point of view, it is essential that shoreside power generation be cleaner and more efficient than generation with the very modern systems on board the AIDA ships themselves, which means via green electricity.</p><p> For years, we have campaigned for the introduction of shoreside power supplies in ports. What’s more, AIDA has made concrete proposals. We are working together with the city of Hamburg to find the best solution for the introduction of shoreside power for cruise ships in the port. AIDA experts are advising the city of Hamburg of the technological options and will be supporting the project until it is viable for implementation, as soon as the Senate of the Hanseatic City has given it the green light.</p>


How does AIDA Cruises save fuel?

The best tonne of fuel is the tonne that we don’t use. On average, an AIDA ship today consumes just three liters of fuel per person over 100 kilometers. This was confirmed by experts from Germanischer Lloyd in an independent report. Since 1990, we have cut fleet fuel consumption by 70%. AIDA has reduced fuel consumption per guest and per voyage by 18.2% since 2007. For a long time, we have been cruising many routes at a considerably lower speed: An opportunity for even greater fuel savings. Furthermore, efficient route management and the optimization of scheduling and laytime are also methods of saving substantial amounts of fuel. Propulsion power can also be saved by optimized hull and propeller design. Furthermore, all AIDA ships are given an underwater silicone-based coating. This reduces drag during the voyage – and thus also cuts down on fuel consumption and emissions. It goes without saying that this paint is free from polluting toxins. Last year alone, the engines of our silicone-coated ships consumed 3% less fuel for propulsion overall.

The AIDA ship generation that goes into service from 2015 will be the first cruise ships in the world to be equipped with Mitsubishi Air Lubrication Technology (MALS). This system will allow future ships to be lubricated with a kind of air bubble cushion. This reduces drag, saves propulsion power and reduces fuel consumption by 7%.

Today, all ships in the AIDA fleet built since 2007 are equipped for an environmentally friendly shoreside power supply during their port laytime. AIDA expressly welcomes initiatives to create the necessary infrastructure.

However, we don’t want to rely solely on equipment for shoreside power being made available. With the LNG Hybrid Barge, AIDA Cruises and Becker Marine Systems have, in collaboration with other partners, developed a pioneering project. It will make it possible to supply cruise ships with shoreside power during laytime in the Port of Hamburg in a more energy effective way, with fewer emissions. With this new system, the power necessary for operation of the cruise ship is no longer generated on board with the diesel engines. Instead, it is generated with environmentally friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG). This once again reduces emissions and sooty particles. In comparison to conventional marine diesel with a sulfur content of 0.1%, in the future, no more sulfur oxide (SOx) will be emitted during port laytime. Emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) are reduced by up to 80%, and emissions of carbon dioxide by 30%.


What strategies does AIDA employ to save power in the hotel area?

The use of innovative lighting equipment and a comprehensive light management system makes it possible to save around 30% of the connected load for lighting on AIDAsol, for example. To prevent light and air conditioning systems operating unnecessarily, AIDAsol also has key card switches. When guests enter their cabin, they slip their key card into the purpose-built holder. This automatically switches on the lights and the air conditioning. And when they leave, they take their card with them and the lights go out. Furthermore, unlike in many shoreside hotels, the air conditioning is also turned down to a lower level. All cabins in the new ships are also equipped with a modern air recirculation system which includes waste heat recovery. This saves energy as the temperature in each cabin is controlled separately (HVAC control system). This modern technology reduces energy consumption in the cabins by up to 20%. For the air conditioning, we use refrigerants which do not damage the ozone layer that protects the earth. This has allowed us to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting refrigerants to zero. 


How are water savings made?

Switching to water-saving appliances such as special shower heads, flow regulators on wash hand basins and showers, and timer and infrared switches in washroom areas has made it possible to continually reduce the amount of fresh water consumed per person. Our research shows that AIDA has the lowest per capita consumption in the entire cruise industry. A vacuum system is used to operate toilet flushing. This saves water, meaning that only one liter of water is used per flush. We also use a vacuum food waste system on our new builds. This uses considerably less water than standard food waste disposal systems. Conventionally, food waste is pumped through pipes – so with the help of the innovative vacuum system, the water required for this can be saved.


On board the majority of our ships, waste water is treated in a biological-mechanical purification facility. After treatment, its quality approaches that of drinking water in accordance with WHO and MARPOL standards.


What measures are taken to avoid waste?

We employ a systematic waste management system on board our ships. All waste is presorted and compacted on board, and disposed of ashore in line with the most modern of standards. Metal and glass are broken down and pressed to save storage space. Food waste is pressed and dehydrated in the Water Treatment and Food Waste system. The result is a biologically degradable substance that is disposed of ashore. Efficient waste management and the systematic use of recyclable materials allowed us to increase our recycling quota from 23.3% in 2009 to 27% in 2012.


In which sustainable research projects does AIDA participate?

We are involved in various research programs. For example, we are involved in the e4ships project launched by the federal government for the development of fuel cells on board cruise ships. In 2010 – again within the framework of the e4ships project – we developed a pioneering process, the Heat Recovery System, which has been used on AIDAmar since 2012. The system helps to reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling purposes. The use of particularly low-emission, gas-powered onboard motors is a project that can be implemented more quickly than fuel cells. GasPax is the name of the nationally funded research project in which AIDA is involved along with shipyards, machine manufacturers, etc. In 2015, we will be equipping our latest generation of ships with dual-fuel engines for the use of environmentally friendly liquefied gas. Within the framework of the EU’s BunGas project, we are committed to finding a way of developing safe and secure gas tanks for cruise ships. We are currently working on a catalog of criteria for more sustainable shoreside excursions with our partner Futouris.