Fincantieri to Build Second-Largest Liner for Cunard

The Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has signed an agreement to build the 92,000-gross ton Queen Elizabeth for luxury cruise company Cunard Line. The ship will hold 2092 passengers and will be built at Fincantieri's Monfalcone yard for approximately $700 million. It will be the second largest vessel ordered by Cunard, second only to the Queen Mary 2, and is expected to enter into service in the fall of 2010.

In a Cunard press release, the company's president, Carol Marlow, stated, "Cunard already owns and operates the two most famous ocean liners in the world, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2, and a third - Queen Victoria - is due to be named by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, in December of this year. The decision to order another ship for Cunard Line has been taken as a result of the strong booking response to the new Queen Victoria, and we are extremely pleased that Cunard will once again become a three-ship fleet so soon after the departure of the much-celebrated Queen Elizabeth 2 in November next year. Furthermore, we are delighted that Her Majesty The Queen has given her blessing to our calling this new Cunarder Queen Elizabeth, after our first vessel of that name."

The Queen Victoria, which is being built by Fincantieri, is to be delivered to Cunard at the end of November. Fincantieri's CEO, Giuseppe Bono, is quoted in the Cunard press release as saying, "It is a particularly special moment for Fincantieri to have secured a second order from Cunard at a time when we are nearing the completion of Queen Victoria. Cunard is the most famous name in passenger shipping and we are honoured to have been chosen to build Queen Elizabeth and to continue the tradition and heritage of that great company."

In Fincantieri's own press release, Bono said, "This agreement confirms our world leadership in a sector which has strong growth prospects, and in which, since the beginning of the year, we have gained orders for 8 cruise ships, including 2 options." The Italian shipbuilder has built 41 cruise ships since 1990. And this newest order brings the number of ships being, or set to be, built to sixteen.