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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's Official: New NCL Cruise Ship Has Hit a Snag

The shipyard building the next generation of Norwegian Cruise Line vessels has confirmed recent media reports that the project has hit a snag.

A statement issued Monday by Aker Yards France says the shipyard is in a dispute with the line over construction costs, and is in the process of trying to find a solution.

"The dispute relates to the ongoing construction of the vessel currently named C 33," the statement says, using the shipyard's code name for the first of two vessels ordered by NCL in 2006. "The dispute is not related to the second of the two ships, named Hull D 33."

The two 4,200-passenger vessels, code-named F3 by NCL, are designed to break new ground for the line both in size and features. At 150,000 tons, the ships will be around 60% larger than the line's biggest ships today and boast innovations such as curved-wall cabins and an ice bar. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2010, and for now, at least least, there's no word of a delay.

"While the process to find a solution is ongoing, Aker Yards France aims at continuing the ongoing work on the C 33 vessel, which is approximately 25 percent complete," the yard notes in its statement.

"We regret that we have a situation with a dispute," Jacques Hardelay, president of Aker Yards France, says in the statement. "While we are in the middle of this process, it would not be correct to speculate on the outcome, or on possible alternatives. Our focus is to find a solution, including continuing the planned activities at our yard in Saint Nazaire." The Aker shipyard began work on the first vessel in October 2007 after a ceremony between Aker officials and NCL executive Andy Stuart.

NCL has said it would not discuss the matter.

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