Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Litton Industries
, Pascagoula, Miss., and American Classic Voyages Co.
(AMCV), Chicago, have signed a contract for the construction of the first major cruise ships to be built in the U.S. in more than 40 years.
Under the terms of the "Project America" contract, which has a potential value of $1.4 billion for three ships, Ingalls will initially build two 1,900 passenger cruise ships for AMCV, with an option for a third vessel. As many as six ships could ultimately be built in the Project America program
These will be the largest cruise ships ever built in the U.S., with the first scheduled to enter service in early 2003. Ingalls delivered the last American-built large cruise ships, SS Brasil and SS Argentina, both of which are still in service.
Project America is the result of the U.S.-Flag Cruise Ship Pilot Project Statute passed by Congress
in 1997, designed to revitalize the U.S.-flag oceangoing cruise ship fleet.
The ships plan to cruise within the Hawaiian Islands. The design of the state-of-the-art luxury cruise ships, each approximately 72,000 gross tons and 840 ft. long, embraces all the amenities of modern cruise ship luxury. Each vessel will feature a four-deck-high atrium, a 1,060-seat dining room, an 840-seat theater, a 590-seat cabaret lounge, and a uniquely Hawaiian outdoor performance stage.
Ingalls expects to begin construction of the first ship in 2000.