Reports indicate that Cunard will likely sign the deal to build the world’s largest and most costly cruise ship this week, and it is believed that either France’s Chantiers de l’Atlantique or Northern Ireland
’s Harland and Wolff will be beneficiary of the contract to build the ship, which has been estimated at $600 million.
Five European shipyards have been in the running for the massive Queen Mary 2. The cruise industry is convening in Miami this week at the annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping event, and the table seems perfectly set for meetings – which would include Micky Arison, chairman of Cunard parent Carnival Corp.
– for the historic announcement.
Carnival, the world's biggest cruise group with 45 ships at sea and 13 new ones backordered at a cost of nearly $5.1 billion, bought control of the fabled Cunard in the late 1990s and spent $18 million refurbishing the line's flagship, Queen Elizabeth 2. While detailed plans of the ship have yet to be announced, it is known that the vessel will carry between 2,500 to 2,800 passengers, will be sleekly designed for speed in the often-tempestuous North Atlantic, and will be among the biggest cruise ships, in terms of gross tonnage.