Italian state-controlled shipmaker Fincantieri has signed a contract with MSC Cruises to build two cruise ships with an option for one more in a deal worth a total 2.1 billion euros ($2.87 billion), the companies announced on Thursday.
The two new ships, with a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and capacity to accommodate up to 5,300 passengers and 1,413 crew, will cost 700 million euros each, they said in a statement.
The first vessel will be delivered in November 2017, with the second due in May 2018.
Fincantieri is expected to list a stake of around 50 percent as the government reduces its holding as part of its efforts to cut Italy's huge public debt.
Reporting By James Mackenzie