Cunard Line says it has five bids from European shipyards to build the Queen Mary
2, a rare new transatlantic liner that will rank with the world's largest passenger ships upon its completion in 2003. Cunard’s president Larry Pimentel
was quoted as saying the a letter of intent should be forthcoming in the next few weeks, or month. All of the shipyards bidding are reportedly based in Europe.
The original Queen Mary, built in a British shipyard, is now a floating hotel in southern California.
Pimentel said at the news conference the Queen Mary 2 would carry 2,500 passengers, would be extremely long and built along sleek lines to speed voyages across the northern Atlantic.
Cunard's parent, Miami-based cruise giant Carnival Corp., operates 45 ships under the Holland America, Carnival Cruise and other names and is spending billions on new ships to meet growing demand for sea-going holidays from North America and Europe. Carnival on Monday ordered a $375 million ship from Finland's Kvaerner MasaYards, source of 11 of the company's new vessels.