Seetours has named its premium-brand A'Rosa, formerly known as Project Tosca, targeting the middle-aged to older and middle-to-upper income German-speaking markets. A 'Rosa starts service with the 1,590-passenger A 'Rosa Blu, currently the Crown Princess, in June of 2002.

To be redecorated at a cost of approximately $21 million (DM 50 million), the A 'Rosa Blu will offer seven- and 14-day cruises from Warnemunde to Scandinavia as far north as the North Cape.

In September 2002, the A'Rosa Blu will reposition to the East Coast of the U.S. offering fall foliage cruises between New York and Montreal before moving on to its winter homeport, Montego Bay.

Sailing from Jamacia, the A'Rosa Blu will offer alternating itineraries to Havana, Mexico and the Cayman Islands or to Aruba, Curacao and South America, according to a statement from Seetours.

In spring of 2003, the ship returns to Northern Europe.

Seetours said that pricing will be at the lower end of the premium cruise market and comparable to its contemporary market brand, Aida.

A $4 million advertising campaign will be launched in Germany with print advertising starting in September, followed by television commercials starting in October. The Swiss and Austrian markets will also be targeted, according to Seetours.

A'Rosa will provide bus transportation for passengers from 18 different German departure points and there will be parking for those who drive on their own. In addition, the company said it is looking into charter flight connections. Pre- and post-cruise hotel stays are offered in all the home ports.

How did Seetours arrive at the unusual name of A'Rosa? Seetours asked its advertising agency to come up with a name that had to start with an A and end with an A (Seetours did not say why) and promise "heaven on seas and rivers." The name must also carry with it attractions and emotions such as yearning, splendor, glamour, fascination and wanderlust, according to Seetours, which asked: "What do you present to your most beloved as a symbol of your passion? Roses!" The A'Rosa Blu will feature a largely German-speaking crew and promises seven onboard restaurants with open seating and 24-hour dining although some of the restaurants will require reservations.

In addition to the traditional variety of entertainment offerings on cruise ships, Seetours also promised that the A'Rosa Blu will offer a variety of workshops on such subjects as beauty, photography, painting, and computers, as well as language classes and what it called "mental training."