Norway's Aker Kvaerner group finalized a contract with Royal Caribbean Cruises to build the world's largest cruise ship. The company said the ship would be built at its Masa Yard in Finland for delivery in May 2006. It also said Royal Caribbean signed an option for a second ship to be delivered in 2007. The new ship, called the Ultra Voyager, at just under 160,000 gross tons, will be 1,112 feet long with accommodation for 3,600 passengers. It will require a crew of 1,400.
The ship is expected to be about 15 percent bigger, and have space for 500 more passengers, than the line's five Voyager class ships, currently the largest cruise ships in service.The shipyard and the cruise line signed a preliminary agreement in June. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but Royal Caribbean estimated that the total cost of the project, including engineering, construction and fitting the ship, would be about $200,000 per passenger bed, or about $720 million based on 3,600 passengers.