Watch: Quirky cruise ship AIDAluna sails into Portsmouth for the first time as AIDAmar replacement

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A lavish cruise ship which carrying hundreds of passengers has sailed into Portsmouth for the first time today.

AIDAluna travelled past The Round Tower in Old Portsmouth at approximately midday today. The 252 metre long vessel is the fourth AIDA ship to stop off at Portsmouth International Port, with AIDAsol, AIDAbella and AIDAmar previously visiting the city. AIDAmar had previously planned to visit the city, but this was cancelled at the last-minute due to rough weather. Its quirky design with a face and lips stood out as she sailed through the rough seas.

AIDAluna sailing into Portsmouth this morning for the first time. The previous ships from the same company include AidaSol, Aidabella  and AidaMar. Picture: The NewsAIDAluna sailing into Portsmouth this morning for the first time. The previous ships from the same company include AidaSol, Aidabella  and AidaMar. Picture: The News
AIDAluna sailing into Portsmouth this morning for the first time. The previous ships from the same company include AidaSol, Aidabella and AidaMar. Picture: The News | The News
AIDAluna will be sailing away from Portsmouth this evening. Picture: The NewsAIDAluna will be sailing away from Portsmouth this evening. Picture: The News
AIDAluna will be sailing away from Portsmouth this evening. Picture: The News | The News

Jerry Clarke, Portsmouth International Port pilot with AIDALuna pilot Captain Sven Gärtner handing over a plaque to mark her first visit.Jerry Clarke, Portsmouth International Port pilot with AIDALuna pilot Captain Sven Gärtner handing over a plaque to mark her first visit.
Jerry Clarke, Portsmouth International Port pilot with AIDALuna pilot Captain Sven Gärtner handing over a plaque to mark her first visit. | Contributed

The 69,203 tonne vessel is the latest in a long line of small to medium size cruise ships to visit Portsmouth International Port, with this year's cruise schedule being the busiest it has ever organised. Andrew Williamson, Portsmouth International Port’s head of cruise and ferry said: “We pride ourselves on excellent customer service so when brands like Aida need a port at short notice, they know we’ll do what we can to accommodate. Having welcomed three of their ships before we’ve built a good relationship with the Aida team, whose passengers really enjoy visiting Portsmouth and the close proximity we have to famous UK attractions so they can explore further afield.

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“We’re building on our position to become a destination for medium-sized ships, who want their guests to have memorable experiences, and Portsmouth offers that and more. Even when calls are at short notice we have world class attractions on the doorstep so there is plenty to do. With previous calls from AIDAsol, AIDAbella and AIDAmar means passengers have had a positive time, which means the cruise line keeps coming back.” AIDAluna can carry 2,050 guests in sumptuous comfort. She was built in 2009 and was recently modernised in 2019.

The Sphinx-class vessel sailed across the Caribbean and South America, giving tourists the chance to explore several countries and beauty spots. She is stopping off in Portsmouth on her way back to Hamburg, Germany. The ship has several different buffet restaurants - including a steak house and a sushi bar - bars, lounges, an outside sports area, three saunas and a sap, among many other features.

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