OREANDA-NEWS. Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world's largest travel and leisure company, today announced its AIDA Cruises brand will sail AIDAbella out of Shanghai all year round starting in Spring 2017, making it the first German cruise ship to have a homeport in China and on a year-round basis.
Two of Carnival Corporation's brands – Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises – already have a strong presence in China, and in 2017, two more of the company's brands -- AIDA Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line – will operate out of China. This will make Carnival Corporation the first to operate four brands in China – expected to eventually become the world's largest cruise market based on surging demand for cruise vacations by Chinese travelers.

"AIDA would not be so successful today if we had not constantly ventured into new territory in the 20 years since we commissioned our first new ship," said Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises. "Now we are taking another important step. With AIDAbella, we are exporting our successful concept – "Made in Germany" – to China, the world's strongest growing market for cruises. With our lifestyle-oriented and innovative product, we will be providing powerful momentum to the emerging Chinese vacation market and captivating completely new guest groups."

While AIDA's on-board services have been geared to German-speaking guests, with AIDAbella the company will be addressing the needs of the Chinese market.

"The essence of our product, for which AIDA stands, will still be preserved. However, we have taken a very close look at what connects the Asian guest with Germany," said Eichhorn. "What premium products does he or she prefer? What cultural differences, including those relating to consumption habits, do we need to keep in mind? Since we are part of Carnival Corporation'sCosta Group, which includes AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises, our colleagues at Costa Asia will be supporting us with their know-how, particularly in the area of sales and human resources."

The cruise ship AIDAbella – 826 feet long and 105 feet wide – has 1,025 staterooms, 457 of which are balcony staterooms and suites. The ship was christened by top model Eva Padberg on April 23, 2008. It will be ready for deployment in China when it goes to dry dock at the beginning of 2017.

One of the ship's most striking features is the Theatrium, the vibrant heart of AIDAbella, which will feature popular shows. There are also bars, the casino and various stores carrying premium German and international brands. In the seven on-board restaurants, Asian cuisine will come together with high-end German dining. The restaurants all merge into a single, unique sensory experience across three decks.

The youngest guests will have a dedicated area with a pool and separate sundeck at the supervised AIDA Kids Club. AIDAbella caters to teenagers as well. They will have an area of their own with state-of-the-art digital entertainment technology.

The company will announce further details in the near future.