ROYAL CARIBBEAN GENESIS
Royal Caribbean via PRNewswire
An artist's rendition of Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, developed under the project name Genesis. The cruise ship, expected to be the world's largest, will accommodate 5,400 guests and will weigh 220,000 gross registered tons.
updated 2/6/2006 4:09:23 PM ET 2006-02-06T21:09:23

Royal Caribbean International on Monday ordered the world’s largest and most expensive cruise ship, a $1.24 billion vessel that will hold up to 6,400 passengers.

The ship, dubbed Project Genesis, is set to be delivered to the world’s second-largest cruise operator in fall 2009 by Oslo, Norway-based shipbuilder Aker Yards. It will be 220,000 gross registered tons and weigh in at about 100,000 tons based on displacement — a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier comes in at about 97,000 tons.

Aker said its contract price of 900 million euros — about $1 billion — would be “the most valuable ship ever ordered in the history of commercial shipbuilding.”

The $1.24 billion figure includes all expenses for the ship, “from forks and knives and sheets to artwork and everything else,” said Harri Kulovaara, the Miami-based cruise line’s executive vice president of maritime operations.

Aker said the contract is contingent on final approval of financing and the ship will be built at one of its Finnish yards. The cruise line, a unit of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., has an option for a second ship.

“Project Genesis truly is a remarkable ship. Its bold design, daring innovations and technological advancements will delight our existing cruisers and help us draw in new ones,” Richard Fain, the parent company’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The announcement also steals some of the spotlight from rival Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise operator. Carnival has studied building a ship about the same size, but its Pinnacle project is “on the back burner” because of its prohibitively high price, spokesman Tim Gallagher said.

Kulovaara said in a phone interview that the new ship will be more fuel efficient than current vessels, but he declined to give a specific figure. He said plans for the types of onboard amenities were being finalized. Royal Caribbean has been an innovator in featuring ice skating rinks, rock climbing walls and surfing pools.

Royal Caribbean’s ships are typically more upscale than the bargain Carnival Cruise Lines’ vessels, but they aren’t as traditional as those of luxury carriers such as Cunard.

Project Genesis will carry 5,400 passengers based on two people per cabin, Kulovaara said. But as most cruise cabins can accommodate more than two people using cots or other beds, that number rises to a maximum capacity of 6,400.

Ray Weiller, an owner of discount online travel agency Cruisequick.com, said many of his clients are drawn to the ever-growing size and number of amenities of ships, but others tire of waiting in long lines to get on and off the vessels. Many complain about the large ships overwhelming some ports of call with too many people trying to visit, he said.

Royal Caribbean still offers a variety of ship sizes, so customers who don’t like larger vessels will have other options, Kulovaara said. The ship will sail in the Caribbean, where many ports already handle megaships, but ports will need some infrastructure impovements to handle it, he said.

Carnival Corp.’s Cunard Line currently has the world’s largest cruise ship — the Queen Mary 2 — at 151,400 gross registered tons. But Royal Caribbean is scheduled to get an even bigger ship in June, the 160,000-ton Freedom of the Seas. It will carry 3,600 passengers double occupancy and 4,370 maximum.

Both will be eclipsed by Project Genesis, which will be 1,180 feet long, 154 feet wide at water level and 240 feet high.

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

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 4.87%
$30K home equity loan FICO 5.22%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.66%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.21%
13.21%
Cash Back Cards 17.69%
17.69%
Rewards Cards 16.96%
16.96%
Source: Bankrate.com