Norwegian Cruise Line has reached an agreement with German shipyard Meyer Werft to build two new 143,500gt ships for delivery in April 2013 and April 2014. They will be the largest passenger vessels ever built in Germany and together will cost around €1.2 billion.

The 4,000-passenger ships will be smaller than Norwegian Epic (155,873gt), which was delivered last June by STX Europe’s French shipyard at St Nazaire after a dispute which subsequently led to the cancellation of a sistership and an option for a third. The German yard most recently built NCL’s four Jewel class ships Norwegian Jewel (2005), Norwegian Pearl, Pride of Hawaii (now Norwegian Jade) (2006) and Norwegian Gem (2007) and before that Norwegian Spirit (1998), Norwegian Star (2001) and Norwegian Dawn (2002).

NCL is owned equally by Genting Hong Kong (formerly Star Cruises) and private equity groups Apollo Funds & TPG Viking Funds, which paid US$1 billion for their stake.