Cruise Line’s Ships to Undergo Major Modernization

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AIDA, in partnership with its parent company, Carnival Corporation, has unveiled plans for a significant upgrade of its Sphinx-Class fleet. The ambitious initiative, called “AIDA Evolution,” represents the largest modernization effort in the company’s history.

Focusing initially on the first three vessels of the class, it is designed to enhance passenger experience and environmental efficiencies. Amongst other things, the interior spaces, such as cabins, restaurants, and public areas, will be upgraded, and AIDA will be introducing fuel-saving initiatives.

AIDA Evolution Includes New Interiors & Public Areas

The first three cruise ships in AIDA’s Sphinx Class will receive an extensive overhaul starting in 2025 and will be completed by 2026. The AIDAdiva, AIDAbella, and AIDAluna, all launched between 2007 and 2009, are by no means ancient cruise ships but are ready for an upgrade. 

“AIDA Evolution” is the most extensive modernization effort in the history of AIDA. The Rostock, Germany-based cruise line will significantly update the interior design of the Sphinx-Class ships. All staterooms will be receiving an upgraded interior, and there will be an increase in the number of suites available onboard.

Felix Eichhorn, President of AIDA Cruises: “As the market leader and pioneer in the industry, we are committed to constantly rethinking cruising. The ships of the Sphinx series have written cruise history with their innovative space concept and colorful design. The AIDA Evolution program will further develop these fantastic ships.”

As has been the norm lately with ships in Carnival Corporation, exclusive areas and services will be introduced, catering to suite guests in particular. The culinary experience onboard will be further elevated through more dining options, signature bars, and improved onboard services.


The centerpiece of the Sphinx ships, the Theatrium, known for its light-filled ambiance, will see enhancements with comfortable seating and a cohesive color scheme. Additionally, new activity zones specifically designed for families with children will be introduced, enriching the onboard experience for younger guests.

What exact dates the overhaul will begin is unclear at this time. While AIDA and Carnival have announced a start date for the program in 2025, all three ships have cruises scheduled through September and October 2025.

Future-Proof and Sustainable Cruising

In addition to the interior spaces of the three cruise ships, technical equipment, and systems will be updated to bring the vessels up-to-date when it comes to sustainability measures. As part of Carnival Corporation, the cruise line has a goal to reduce its carbon intensity by 20 percent by 2026 compared to 2019, a goal that the cruise company has had considerable success in.

AIDA itself has been one of the most advanced cruise companies in the world when it comes to using and trialing sustainable measures. As far back as 2004, when the first of the Sphinx-class cruise ships was commissioned, the cruise line had set the goal to start using shore power.

AIDAluna Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Photo Works / Shutterstock

Since then, AIDA has tested fuel cell systems, battery power, and LNG propulsion, and actively retrofitted these systems onboard its older ships, as it is doing with the three Sphinx-class ships. The upcoming retrofit of technical areas onboard AIDAdiva, AIDAbella, and AIDAluna will be focused primarily on fuel consumption, increased energy efficiency, and resource conservation. 

So far, Carnival and AIDA have not made any announcements of any upcoming overhauls of the four newer Sphinx-class cruise ships, AIDABlu, AIDAMar, AIDASol, and AIDAStella, more commonly known as the Ikarus-Class ships.

Read Also: What Is an LNG-Powered Cruise Ship?

At 71,304 gross tons for the Ikarus-class ships versus 69,203 gross tons for the original Sphinx-class ships, the Ikarus ships are slightly larger, have an extra passenger deck added, more cabins, and an expanded wellness and spa area. In terms of public spaces and food and beverage options, the Ikarus class and the Sphinx class are very similar. 

It could be that the Ikarus ships will be covered in a second stage of the AIDA Evolution program. 

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