AIDAbella was named by German supermodel Eva Padberg at the Port of Warnemunde-Rostock this past week. Entertainment for the event was provided by AIDA singers and dancers who performed an original musical created for the cruise line, accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Guests included other German entertainers and pop stars, as well as politicians and business leaders.

Also attending was the artist Feliks Buettner who created AIDA's unique kissing lips and eye logo.

The christening was celebrated with fireworks, while local residents lined the shoreline of the picturesque port, as the AIDAbella sailed a one night cruise, before starting her Baltic summer season from the seaside resort town of Warnemunde-Rostock, which also happens to be AIDA's hometown.

Area and local newspapers welcomed the new ship to Warnemunde with front page coverage.

The 69,200-ton, 2,000-passenger AIDAbella features very original design by German PartnerShip, allowing a multitude of public rooms in the relatively small ship by modern cruise standards. One result is that the AIDAbella feels much bigger than she is, and very spacious.

The public areas are mostly on the upper decks and include a variety of restaurants, sometimes restaurants within restaurants, offering passengers several casual as well as more formal dining options. Altogether there are seven restaurants onboard, several of which also feature open galleys.

Entertainment is focused around AIDA's unique Theatrium, a three deck atrium mid-ship with a stage on the first deck and seating on the first and second levels with bars and other entertainment venues, including the casino, adjacent.

Other features include a 4D cinema and a large Africa-themed wellness center.

Classed with Germanischer Lloyd, the AIDAbella has a diesel-electric MAK Caterpillar powerplant with four main engines.

The AIDAbella is the second of five new AIDA ships being built by Meyer Werft and sister ship the AIDAdiva, which entered service last year. The AIDAluna is next, scheduled to enter service in 2009.

True to its original club-ship concept, introduced in 1996, AIDA has been able to keep its unique character and design within the Carnival family of brands.

AIDA, which is the fifth largest Carnival brand, and dominant in the German market, will be able to carry some 360,000 passengers in 2008, growing its passenger capacity to nearly 800,000 by 2012, according to estimates by Cruise Industry News.