MHI Nagasaki floats out first of AIDA Cruise duo

MAY 4, 2014 — The first of two 124,000 grt, 300 m, 3,300 passenger cruise ships under construction for Carnival Corporation's AIDA Cruises has been floated out of the building dock at the Tategami Plant of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki Shipyard in Japan.

After float out, the ship, the AIDAprima, was towed to the Kojagi Dock on the outskirts of Nagasaki. Before docking for further fitting out work, various technical systems will be extensively tested in the next days.

AIDAprima and its sister ship incorporate a number of innovative features, including the first cruise ship application of air-lubricated hull technology and an exhaust gas treatment system able to reduce emissions of soot particles, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxide by between 90 and 99 percent.

For passengers, the highlights of these first ship of a totally new AIDA generation include a Beach Club housed beneath a weather-independent transparent dome, the "Four Elements" with water slide and climbing walls, and a new AIDA Mini Club providing childcare for young children 6 months and older.

All of this innovation has proven expensive for MHI. In March, the shipbuilder said that it would book an extraordinary loss of about $585 million from its cruise ship business in its financial results for FY 2013 (ending March 31, 2014).

Among the reasons it cited for the extraordinary loss are that, as work proceeded in the actual construction phase of the project, difficulties involved in the construction of these prototype new generation ships became apparent. It said the volume of design work relating to the cruise ships cabins and other areas had been "vast," requiring significant design changes. The resulting delay in the design work  translated into not only increased design costs but also negative factors in terms of additional material procurement, construction schedule, etc.

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