Royal Caribbean Orders Large Cruise Ship

Monday, February 6th 2006, 10:01 am
By: News On 6

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ Royal Caribbean International has ordered the world's largest and most expensive cruise ship, Europe's largest shipbuilder, Aker Yards ASA, said Monday.

The contract price for the new ship, designated Project Genesis, is 900 million euros _ or about $1 billion _ making it ``the most valuable ship ever ordered in the history of commercial shipbuilding,'' the Oslo-based group said in a statement.

The company said the 1,181-foot ship will have a capacity of 5,400 passengers. Its size will exceed by 43 percent Aker's ``Freedom of the Seas,'' which is to be the world's largest cruise ship when it is delivered to Royal Caribbean in April.

The newly ordered ship is to be delivered in late 2009 after its construction at one of the group's Finnish yards, Aker Yards said.

The contract, which is contingent on final approval of financing, includes an option for a second ship.

Aker Yards said it has been building cruise ships for Miami-based Royal Caribbean for 35 years. The Royal Caribbean International brand is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

The shipbuilder's shares rose almost 6 percent to 347 kroner ($52.47) in morning trading on the Oslo stock exchange. Shares of Royal Caribbean rose 3 cents to $44.33 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Aker Yards employs about 13,000 people at 13 shipyards in Norway, Finland, Germany, Romania and Brazil.