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.