Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Cruising with children

“The landscape is so beautiful that it hurts inside” Liv Ullmann once described the Norwegian fjords. One might immediately agree with her. The abundance of water, the mountains, the green, mostly untouched and deserted landscape, is indeed beautiful. And I am now firmly convinced: the best way to travel this landscape is by ship. Only on the water you can feel the size of the mountains, the many narrow turns of the fjords that want to be slowly circumnavigated to reveal the view of the next kilometers of coast. The many waterfalls, which even in late summer still have enough water to testify to the power and height of the mountains from which they spring.

For me, the 10-day trip around Norway was not just about the scenery, it was also about the question of how suitable a cruise actually is for children (and their parents)?

I first had to do some convincing with my son(9), with whom I started the trip. At first, he couldn’t really imagine spending his vacation on a ship. Pretty much the only pictorial idea of a ship’s voyage was the motif of the stranded ship off the coast of Giglio, which had been adequately imprinted by the news. But thanks to the detailed information material that you get sent by AIDA before you start your trip, we were able to quickly replace these images with other, much more positive ones and look forward to and prepare for the trip to the north together.

Ever since I moved to Hamburg, I’ve been wishing I could leave my home port on one of the big ships and have my vacation start virtually on my doorstep (or at least a short cab ride away). And that’s really fabulous. In less than ten minutes you are at the port, all the luggage is immediately received by eager helpers and you can immediately start relaxing, at least a first drink on deck. And from there, witness the ship leaving the cruise terminal and the surprisingly swift journey up the Elbe. Along the way we ventured out for a first trip to the pool, after all we left Hamburg on a fantastic summer weekend.

AIDA offers childcare on all ships, divided into a total of five age groups: seahorses (3-6 years), dolphins (7-9 years), sharks (10-11 years), orcas (12-13 years) and for teens from 14. The centerpiece of this is the KidsClub, a separate area on the ship, including. private pool and outdoor deck.

We were lucky enough to be able to move into a cabin with an amazingly large balcony at the stern of the ship. From here, you not only had a fabulous view of the sea and the fjords, but equally a view from above of what was happening on the outside deck of the kids club a few floors below.

And just as with the rest of the program, we also handled the childcare: the little man took advantage of some of the offers, but not everything and not every day. After all, we also wanted to spend time together, go on excursions and, of course, eat the numerous meals together. But, through a well and above all regularly organized children’s program, the kids naturally get to know each other quickly and also arrange to do activities together outside of the social program. Of course, it is essential for children to always have playmates of the same age in between.

So this assumption was confirmed directly during the first days of travel: A trip on a club ship like the AIDA is ideal for children without question, also outside of the KidsClub almost everything is adjusted to the young guests.

By the way, also in culinary terms. Basically, there are a variety of restaurants to choose between. Usually divided into buffet restaurants and smaller á la carte restaurants. Even in the former, product quality is sometimes surprisingly high. In particular, the selection of fresh fruit and the numerous stations where this is individually cut and arranged for the guests is exemplary. But also at the classic and quite large buffet stations could be eaten sometimes really good. However – and you know this for sure when you set sail with a ship like the AIDAluna, these are of course then rather mass events, which are in no way inferior to a (admittedly, very good) canteen at 12:30. It is crowded and bustling, the great openness to children is also evident here. Which, for once, is not exclusively positive. It goes without saying that appropriate clothing is requested for dinner on the AIDA as well. Controlled this is obviously not, or a new regulation of etiquette, hitherto hidden from me, recently recommends adults shorts and sandals evening events.

Thus, we retreated (planned and expected) rather to the á la carte restaurants and also made more frequent rests in the almost continuously open pizzeria. A fair compromise, we both thought.

The Rossini, i.e. the gourmet restaurant on board, unsurprisingly met with my greatest approval. Here we ate and sat very well indeed. A serene and truly beautifully styled ambiance throughout, along with a small and attentive service team, saw us through numerous good courses. However, out of consideration for the little man, I skipped both the eleven course menu and a Nordic Cuisine menu at the end of the trip. Instead, we had pizza and red wine from the carafe. Also fine. So is the Buffalo Steakhouse and the small sushi bar. However, the many legal and hygienic requirements for kitchens of this size became particularly apparent here. After all, more than 130 team members work at the various posts – and feed 3,000 hungry mouths every day. Thus, almost everything that is even remotely raw is nevertheless very cold. Both the sushi and the carpaccio, tartar – everything actually. However, after a few days and a few conversations about it, we found a way around this too and just got my dish ready a little sooner so that they came up to temperature.

In addition to the numerous excursions to the mainland and the many events on board, the restaurants also offered very different courses. The spectrum ranges from fruit carving to the correct development of sauces, from the perfect frying of steaks to the preparation of sushi. We chose the latter course and were instructed in the art of rolling perfect makis by the very friendly team of the sushi bar.

Of course, not all that glitters is gold. Some not even precious metal. The AIDAluna cannot compete with ships of the premium category. Nor does it want to be, just like the nine other ships currently in the fleet. It addresses a different audience. And another cost center. Nevertheless, even on such a large and bustling ship you can travel very comfortably and discover new regions of the world. Also with children. Maybe even especially with children. I can only urgently recommend the choice of a cabin that is not too small, ideally with a balcony. In any case, we both enjoyed using the retreat area created in this way from the sometimes very varied life on board very much and frequently. And there, lying in the hammock, spending time with the little man in peace, watching waterfall after waterfall pass by, thinking together about where we’re going to dock the next day, where we’re going to eat, and if and what show we might see, that is utterly fabulous. Ultimately, however, a voyage on the AIDA offers almost countless opportunities to design it entirely according to your own interests and focus.

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A guest at Dom Pérignon

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