When in Rome Germany … Porthole cruises as the locals do on AIDA perla.
Those smiling red lips and exotic Cleopatra eyes on the bow make AIDA’s cruise ships the most strikingly dramatic-looking ships in any cruise port, from China to Miami to the Mediterranean. Yet outside of Germany, AIDA is almost unknown, even amongst cruise-lovers.
Iwas the only American, and the only non-German speaker on my weeklong cruise on AIDA’s newest ship
AIDAperla … and it was one of my best and most unique cruises ever.
“Aren’t you worried that no one will speak English?” a friend asked me before I left.
“Well, not speaking German wouldn’t stop me from visiting Germany,” I explained. “So what’s the difference?”
More than 95 percent of AIDA guests are German speakers, but all of the crew speaks English, and very well too. In fact, it’s the official language the crew uses to communicate since they are from all nationalities. All of the major announcements are made in German, but most are repeated in English. If you are an experienced cruiser, you won’t have any difficulties.
In fact, being on a German line while cruising through Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Belgium (plus a day in the UK) made the cruise more immersive in the European experience, both in the shore excursions and then back on board. I had all the cruise advantages — not having to unpack and repack for each destination, no worries about transportation — yet the ship was like a beautiful small German town. I could take a leisurely walk around the sophisticated little town each evening and try a different international restaurant, check out what was happening in the town square, watch the cabaret show perhaps, have a drink at an outside terrace bar to catch the sunset, and afterwards enjoy the beach party under the stars on the top deck. There was even a late-night takeout currywurst (curry-flavored pork sausage) stand and a tapas bar outside the disco where revelers could take a break from the loud dance music and neon lights to have a snack and hang with their friends on the street outside.
And just like a real town, the guests were a mix of families, groups of friends, couples, and people of all ages.
But the differences on AIDAperla go well beyond language.