Holland America Line has signed agreements with Italian shipyard Fincantieri Cantieri Navali S.p.A. for the construction of two new 84,000-ton vessels expected to enter service in 2003 and 2004. The new 1,800-passenger ships will cost approximately US $400 million each and will be constructed at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard.
The new vessels will include a unique propulsion system that includes a full-scale diesel-electric power plant, backed up by a gas turbine as an additional power source. The vessels will be able to operate on either diesel or gas turbine power. The ships will use the Azipod propulsion system, allowing for greater maneuverability and enhanced operating efficiencies. Carnival Corporation announced earlier that it was working with Finnish diesel engine manufacturer Wartsila, NSD to develop a smokeless diesel-electric propulsion system for its future newbuilds.