New Firm to Build Residential Ship

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NASSAU, Bahamas -- A company headed by former cruise line executive Knut Kloster Jr. said it signed a letter of intent to build the first cruise ship whose accommodations are owned by the guests.

The 85,000-ton vessel, to be built in Germany and delivered in 2000, will have 250 "homes" of 1,100 square feet to 3,200 square feet each, ResidenSea Ltd. (Bahamas) said. In addition, the $500 million vessel will feature a 180-suite "hotel-resort."

A spokesman for the company said that arrangements for the participation of travel agents in the rental of unused "homes" or the suites had not been worked out.

The vessel, which is expected to sail with 600 to 700 residents and guests at any time, will operate throughout the world for 250 days of the year, spending the rest of the time in ports of call.

ResidenSea is a project of Kloster, whose family founded Norwegian Cruise Line and who once chaired that line as well as Royal Viking Line and Royal Cruise Line. Other investors in the project include Norwegian financial and shipping companies, according to ResidenSea.

The company signed a letter of intent to build the luxury residential ship with the German shipyard Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG in Kiel, a press release said.

ResidenSea said that before 2000 it expects to sell accommodations valued at a total of $550 million, of which $120 million already has been committed by clients. A spokesman said that accommodations will be sold "by invitation only" at prices ranging from $2 million to $5 million each, depending on size.

Owners, who would have possession of the accommodations year-round, would have access to the vessel's restaurants, bars, cinema, theater, casino, sports facilities and a business service center, according to ResidenSea.

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