Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Aker Yards have signed a letter of intent (LOI) for the order of a third ship in the Freedom class - the world's largest cruise ship. The contract value is at the same level as the second vessel in this class, ordered last fall. The agreement is subject to certain conditions, including RCL and Aker Yards board approval. The LOI is valid until the end of March 2005.
Aker Finnyards, which is a part of Aker Yards, has two of these record breaking cruise ships under construction at its yard in Turku. The first cruise ship in this class - Freedom of the Seas - will be delivered to RCI in April 2006 and the second ship will be ready for delivery in spring 2007. This third vessel is scheduled to be delivered early 2008. These new ships are some 15 per cent larger in space and passenger capacity than the earlier Voyager-class vessels.
"We are extremely proud of building these three giants for the cruise market," says Yrjö Julin, President of Aker Finnyards. "This ship will provide our client with a unique revenue platform, creating value for Royal Caribbean going forward."
"We have said all along that the continued success of our brands will depend on the steady, sustained growth of our fleet," said Chairman and CEO Richard Fain, "We are pleased to reaffirm that pledge today, and are excited about the enormous possibilities inherent in these new ships."
The new Freedom class vessels will be 126 feet by 1,112 feet (38.6 meters by 339 meters), and will stand 18 decks high. Their gross tonnage is 158.000, which make them 6 % larger than today's largest cruise ship. The ships will carry 3,600 guests, some 500 more than its predecessors in the Voyager-series, and 1,400 crewmembers.
Being the world's largest cruise ships, the Freedom class will offer even more room for passenger facilities and amenities and will provide even greater economies of scale than their predecessors.
For further information, please contact:
Tore Langballe, SVP Communications and Investor Relations, tel. +47 90 777 841
Yrjö Julin, President, tel. +358 40 751 7940
Sinikka Railo, Communications Manager, tel. +358 40 5120253
Aker Yards is an international shipbuilding group focusing on sophisticated vessels and is one of the world's five largest shipbuilders. The group has a strong position both in terms of innovation, product range, technology, experience and capacity. The product range includes cruise vessels and ferries, merchant vessels, offshore and specialized vessels. Aker Yards, with a turnover of NOK 12.5 bn. in 2004, comprises 13 yards in Norway, Finland, Germany, Romania and Brazil and has approximately 13,000 employees. www.akeryards.com