AIDA believes that there is a close link between acting sustainably and unforgettable holiday experiences. We inform our travel agency partners and guests about our commitment. Furthermore, our range of sustainable excursions, for example, is regularly expanded.
In 2016, we developed a new range of holidays for our guests in the form of AIDA Selections. This range is characterized by exceptional routes to new regions or exclusive ports. Holidaymakers aboard AIDAcara, AIDAvita and AIDAaura will have the opportunity to undertake long and leisurely land excursions to discover sensitive natural spectacles, landscapes and cultures that are worthy of preserving from a completely new perspective. All AIDA Selection holidays are rounded off by an individually designed program of entertainment and edutainment on board, which also refers back to the country-specific culture, fauna and flora of the respective region. Exquisite culinary offerings await the guests in our restaurants, featuring regional specialties that are relevant to each destination.
AIDA bicycle excursions have many advantages: these activities are in especially close proximity to local life at the destination and at the same time it is healthy and environmentally friendly. Bicycle tours have been in our program for many years and we are continually expanding our offering.
These bicycle tours offer especially intensive personal experience of the local areas. Whether undertaking a relaxed tour of discovery or more a more physically active tour: there is an activity for everyone in our range of soft, soft active, active and discovery tours. The e-bike tours of course already have an inbuilt means of propulsion. All bicycle tours are accompanied by professional AIDA biking guides.
The AIDA fleet currently offer over 250 attractive bicycle excursions at every level of difficulty and provide our guests with a great deal of enjoyment. All AIDA ships stock up to 120 bicycles, including e-bikes. The number of AIDA guests making use of bicycles or e-bikes for discovery tours increases every year.
Other alternatives for an environmentally friendly method of locomotion which provide just as much fun are our Segway tours. Should you have any questions regarding our tours please contact the AIDA biking team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We place a great deal of importance on ensuring that any packaging brought along, or other waste generated on AIDA excursions is disposed of in accordance with environmental standards. Should this not be possible then the participants bring the waste back on board. It is then separated, recycled or disposed.
Sustainable shore excursions
Land excursions based on the principle of sustainability not only offer our guests unforgettable experiences but also contribute considerably to regional economic development, the protection and promotion of the environment and cultural heritage as well as the improvement of the livelihood of the local population. In 2012 we signed the UN-WTO code of ethics for tourism which set a clear benchmark for sustainable tourism.
AIDA Cruises is one of pioneers of the cruise industry in regard to sustainable excursions ashore and our range on offer is expanding year on year. In 2013 the standard criteria for sustainable excursions ashore was developed in collaboration with Nachhaltigkeitsinitiative Futouris e.V., the state attorney office of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania as well as the Leuphana University in Lüneburg. Our aim was to create a transparent basis of comparability for sustainability regarding the specific excursions on offer and establish measurable and scientific criteria for an assessment. These criteria also serve as reference points for other companies aiming to design their own sustainable excursions.
In 2014 the Baltic sea region was reassessed on the basis of the criteria catalogue and used as a model. By the end of 2014 the assessment model had been transferred to all destination regions relating to AIDA excursions. Currently there are 155 land excursions as well as 250 bicycle and pedelec tours that have been certified as sustainable. These include also offers such as kayak tours or leisure sport activities like stand-up paddling.
All AIDA excursions fulfilling the social, ecological and cultural criteria are designated by a special tree symbol. Our guests are able to distinguish which offers are especially sustainable before booking the excursion on MyAIDA.
Transport services, content and priorities of the excursion (e.g. culture, nature, etc.) catering and the sustainability commitment of the local partner agency count as four of the main criteria in the assessment of the individual excursions on offer. There are in addition numerous subsidiary items that also influence the assessment. The avoidance of CO2 emissions has priority in the transport area. Bicycle excursions directly from the ship therefore are allocated more points than the use of low-emission busses in the assessment. Should the local partner agency compensate for the CO2 emissions incurred during the excursion, then this also positively influences the assessment. Excursions into nature during which a trained ranger educates the visitors about species protection and distinctive features are classified as particularly sustainable. Catering is also a priority subject. Use of regional projects for local specialties have top priority for sustainable excursions. We place great emphasis on regional products and local specialties in our catering and excursions - we take care to adhere closely to the minimum standards for the employees of local agencies in accordance with the core labor standards of the ILO (International Labor Organization), a subsidiary organization of the United Nations (UN).
Offsetting carbon dioxide
In March 2015, AIDA and the climate protection organization atmosfair began a joint climate protection program which set the benchmark for the cruising industry. It encompasses such aspects as measures aimed at reducing ship CO2 emissions as well as the option for our guests to make voluntary CO2 offsets for their cruises, including their inbound and outbound flights.
AIDA moreover offsets the CO2 emissions of business-related trips undertaken by its employees by plane or rental vehicle via atmosfair climate protection projects.
Animal welfare and species conservation
AIDA Cruises is committed to animal and species conservation, and also raises awareness amongst its guests with regard to preserving fauna and flora all over the world. We therefore do not offer opportunities to swim with dolphins or ride elephants, for example, as in most establishments the animals are not kept in suitable conditions. We therefore decided not to support them in any way. A few selected theme parks that demonstrate their commitment to preserving animal species and promoting conservation through their educational and research work, and which provide the animals with living conditions that exceed the defined minimum requirements, and which are appropriate to the particular species are the exception to the rule.
AIDA is a member of a working group run by the Futouris e.V. initiative, which, working together with environmental organizations and researchers, aims to check and further develop the regulation of and compliance with animal welfare standards. AIDA Cruises encourages those of its guests who are interested in whales and dolphins to observe them in the wild, for example by going on a whale watching excursion.
We promote sustainable tourism and continually expand our range of excursions - as a result, for the last several years we have also been offering our guests excursions on which they can observe whales, dolphins and other species in their natural habitat. In offering these trips, we work together with selected providers who ensure that the animals are not disturbed by the tourists.
It is our aspiration that our guests are conscious of experiencing the many facets of sustainability - during a normal day on board as well as excursions ashore or during informative events on culture and the environment. We aspire to use our offerings in order to motivate our guests to travel in a more conscientious manner. Trained rangers inform our guests about species conservation during excursions into nature.
Training our travel agent partners
The question of how environmentally compatible the planned journey is as a booking criterion has almost the same priority for ever more people as the holiday experience itself. AIDA Cruises informs its sales partners comprehensively about their commitment and are prepared to justify their position enabling customers to be advised accordingly. Every year sustainability is a priority subject on our agenda at travel agency customer events and trade fairs. An online test as part of EXPIdition, our modular training courses, contain questions on the environment for travel agency employees.
We are committed to clean oceans
The preservation and protection of an intact environment and clean oceans are, in our opinion, part of an unforgettable holiday experience. Our employees as well as guests support us in protecting sensitive ecosystems.
The main focus here is on raising the awareness of the threat to the fragile sea ecosystem and making appropriate measures for the protection of the marine habitat are declared publicly. AIDA Cruises would like to fascinate as many people as possible for the life of the ocean and in so doing raise the long-term perspective of protection for our seas and coastal regions. This not only happens as a result the implementation of practical nature conservation projects but also through education and public relations activities.
AIDA Cruises has recently recruited climate expert Professor Dr Mojib Latif. Over the course of a ‘Canary Islands & Madeira 1’ cruise, he informed our guests about interesting findings regarding climate and marine conservation in a range of events on board.
Professor Mojib Latif is a researcher and lecturer at the Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research and at the University of Kiel. He has been Professor of Climate Physics at Kiel University since 2003. In 2015, Professor Latif was awarded one of the most prestigious environmental awards in Europe, the German Environmental Award. He is one of the best-known climate experts in Germany and over the course of many events has made complex issues understandable for a broad audience. Mojib Latif has been the patron of atmosfair since 2005.
In 2016, we moreover assisted the German Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund. For a start, we supported their sighting project for local harbor porpoises and seals. We also became the sponsors of a green sea turtle called Frieda, who is a member of one of the most endangered species of sea turtle.
AIDA Cruises has been a committed opponent to the use of micro plastics for many years. It therefore goes without saying that all of the cleaning and cosmetic products used on board AIDA ships do not contain any micro plastics. To provide a little context, toothpastes, shower exfoliates and other products that are part and parcel of our daily routines contain small plastic beads, which supposedly improve the efficacy of the cleaning product. Micro plastics can be identified on the ingredients list on packaging, and examples include polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
Micro plastics flow from domestic bathrooms through outflows and into our watercourses. These particles are not biodegradable. They not only damage the environment, but are also harmful to birds and fish, the latter of which mistake these particles for plankton and try to eat them. By consuming fish, micro plastics can also enter human food chains.
AIDA Cruises is committed to promoting marine research. This is why in 2016 we began to support the international research and education program GAME, organized by the GEOMAR-Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel. We provided a scholarship for a research project which aimed to investigate the effects of micro plastics and heat stress on mussels. In 2017, we once again supported a student by providing a scholarship.
Over the last year, committed AIDA Cruises employees once again participated in the ‘International Coastal Cleanup Day’ in Hamburg and Rostock by cleaning up the beaches. Furthermore, cigarette disposals were located in Rostock/Warnemünde and all the Baltic sea resorts along the coast of Mecklenburg - West Pomerania in collaboration with the central tourist authority of Rostock & Warnemünde as well as the ‘Mecklenburgische Ostseebäder e.V.’ association. The object was to raise the awareness of the holiday makers and local people for environmental protection and to facilitate the correct disposal of cigarettes when visiting the beach.