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Royal Caribbean orders world’s largest, costliest ship

MIAMI: American cruise line Royal Caribbean International has ordered the world’s largest and most expensive cruise ship and Finnish shipbuilder Aker Yards of Oslo will build this $1.24-billion vessel, which can accommodate 6,400 passengers.

The ship, to be built under the name Project Genesis, will be 220,000 gross register tons when it is delivered in 2009. A gross register ton is a unit of volume, which is equivalent to 100 cubic feet.

Royal Caribbean is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises, the world’s second-largest cruise operator.

The ship, if it stands on is bow, will be as tall as the Empire State building. It will have on board, ice rinks, rock climbing walls, gyms, theatres, lavish restaurants and such other amenities.

The contract price for the ship is 900 million euros (approximately $1 billion). This makes the ship the most valuable ever ordered in the history of ship making, according to Aker Yards, which will build it at its Finnish yard. The total price quoted includes other expenses on the ship.

Aker Yards has 13 shipyards in Norway, Finland, Germany, Romania and Brazil. It employs 13,000 people. There will be some 2,000 contractors who would be involved in the building of the ship, including Rolls Royce, which will be mostly providing the engines for the ship.

The biggest ship in the oceans now is Queen Mary 2 at 151,400 gross register tons, owned by Cunard Line, a unit of Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise line.

Royal Caribbean’s chairman Richard Fain said that the new vessel would provide “bold design, daring innovation and technological advancements” all of which will add to the value of holidaymakers.

Harri Kulovaara, Royal Caribbean’s executive vice president of maritime operations, said the ship will be more fuel efficient than current vessels.

Royal Caribbean is scheduled to get another ship in June, the 160,000-ton Freedom Of The Seas. It will carry 3,600 passengers with double occupancy and will be bigger than Queen Mary 2.

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