Plans are underway by a Norwegian company, Sea Concepts, for the launch of The World - a luxury cruise vessel that will contain 270 privately owned two- and three-bedroom apartments - in the spring of 1999.

The World, reportedly to be built in Finland, will be 85,000 tons and constructed to the maximum size to transit the Panama Canal.

It is also said that Captain Ola Harsheim, formerly master of the Royal Viking Sun, will assume the helm of The World. The crew contingent is expected to be international in scope.

The living quarters are slated to range in size from 1,100 to 2,100 square feet with some duplexes available. Each apartment will have a complete kitchen and private terrace with Jacuzzi, as well as a full bath in each bedroom. The ship will also have 180 deluxe guest suites that can be purchased or rented.

Other shipboard facilities include a three-deck private club, seven restaurants, a gourmet food and wine shop, a deli, health spa, full-size tennis court, gift and sundry stores, and indoor/outdoor swimming pools.

And, although itineraries have not been set, the vessel will sail on a worldwide basis with extensive stays in major ports. The ship will also travel to major global events, such as the Olympics in Sydney, Australia, the Cannes Film Festival, The Americas' Cup, and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.