Royal Caribbean is pushing back to late June final decisions on building two new 2,100-passenger ships costing about $500 million each.
The move by Royal Caribbean, which is based in Miami and has a 19-ship fleet, comes amid a dramatic expansion of cruise ship fleets. The industry last year added 11 percent to passenger capacity and is scheduled to add 55 ships over the next four years.
Royal Caribbean announced on Tuesday that the Meyer Werft shipyard
in Papenburg, Germany, had extended to June 27 options on two new Radiance-class ships for the cruise company.
One option was to have expired last month, with the delivery of Radiance of the Seas, now sailing out of south Florida ports before heading to North America's west coast for summer journeys. Another option was to have expired on Monday.
The options on the two ships, which would be the fifth and sixth in the Radiance style, call for delivery in 2005 and 2006. Royal Caribbean is scheduled to take delivery of other Radiance class ships in 2002, 2003 and 2004.