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PHOTO: AIDA Cruises
Meyer Werft's Tim Meyer hands the delivery papers to Capt. Boris Becker. Looking on, from left, are AIDA's Felix Eicchorn, Costa Group's Michael Thamm and Meyer Werft's Bernard Meyer

Meyer Werft delivers world's first LNG-propelled cruise ship, AIDAnova

Following two delays, AIDAnova—world's first LNG-propelled cruise ship—was delivered to AIDA Cruises by Meyer Werft Wednesday morning.

Deadheading to Tenerife

Prior to the handover, AIDAnova had moved from Eemshaven in the Netherlands to Bremerhaven, Germany, where she docked at the Columbus Cruise Centre. The ship was due to sail from Bremerhaven for southern Europe without passengers later on Wednesday and call at Lisbon on Sunday before continuing her repositioning voyage to the Canary Islands.

The first passengers are scheduled to embark Dc. 19 at Tenerife, where Carnival Corp. & plc is operating the new LNG-ready cruise terminal.

During the rest of the winter, AIDAnova is going to sail seven-day itineraries between Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura as well as Madeira. AIDAnova will cruise the Mediterranean in the summer.

Cruising milestone

The delivery marks a milestone not only for Meyer Werft and AIDA Cruises, but for the cruise industry as a whole.

On Wednesday mornining Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia, joined Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises, Bernard Meyer and Tim Meyer of Meyer Werft and AIDAnova Capt. Boris Becker for the handover ceremony on board.

'I am so pleased about this extraordinary ship, which is another milestone on our steady path to providing sustainable cruises,' Eichhorn said. Further LNG-fueled ships are due to join AIDA's fleet in 2021 and 2023.

Technical challenges and fire

Meyer Werft went to great efforts in recent weeks to hand over AIDAnova before Christmas. The delivery, originally set for mid-November, was pushed back twice. An obvious reason was the complex propulsion plant, which constitutes a real industry first and cannot be compared with ferry LNG propulsion plants that have been in the market for some time.

Additionally, a fire broke out on board while the ship was being outfitted in Eemshaven. This incident is still under investigation, and arson cannot be ruled out.

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