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P&O sets course for world's biggest ocean liner

PENINSULAR and Oriental, the transport to housebuilding group, has ordered what will be the largest cruise liner in the world from the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, writes John Murray.

The two-ship order, announced yesterday, includes one vessel, costing dollars 295m ( pounds 203m), to complement the 77,000-ton Sun Princess (right), which is already being built by Fincantieri. The other liner will cost dollars 385m. At about 90,000 tons, it will be about one-and-a-half times the size of the QE2.

P&O said British shipyards did not have the resources and capacity to quote for orders of that size.

The ships will be delivered in 1997 to P&O's US-based subsidiary, Princess Cruises. The liners will have passenger capacities of 1,950 and 2,500 respectively.

(Photograph omitted)