Fincantieri to Build Liner For British Market

Cunard Line's parent company. Carnival Corporation, has signed a letter of intent with Italian shipyard Fincantieri for the construction of a new 1,968-passenger liner to serve the British market. The ship, which will cost approximately $400 million.

will be delivered to Cunard in January 2005. just one year after the launch of the line's much anticipated Queen Mary 2.

The order solidifies Cunard's strategicinitiative, announced earlier this year, to play a more significant role in the growing British cruise market.

The yet-unnamed vessel will be based in Southampton, and will be built to Panamax standards so it can be deployed on a variety of worldwide itineraries.

"We are thoroughly committed to expanding our presence in the U.K.," said Pamela Conover, Cunard's president and COO.

In the tradition of its Cunard forbearers, the new ship will boast a covered promenade deck encircling its entire exterior, a forward-facing observation lounge and a large Lido pool with a retractable magradome for inclement weather. Innovative exterior elevators with glass walls will uniquely tower 10 decks high on both sides of the vessel. A wide range of accommodations will be available, with 67 percent of outside staterooms and suites offering private balconies.

The ship's powerplant will feature lowemission, diesel-electric motors, and the ship also will employ the Azipod propulsion, which enhances operating efficiencies and environmental benefits.

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