The second Delfin Cruises ship is on schedule, according to a statement from the Rauma yards, which said that the keel laying took place at the end of last month. The Finnish cruise line took delivery of its first vessel, the 5,700-ton, 300-passenger, Delfin Clipper last spring. The estimated value of the second contract is about $50 million.

Construction of the second, as of yet unnamed vessel, began on August 1, and delivery of the slightly larger, 7,000-ton, 330-passenger ship is scheduled for May 1990. Total delivery time, from the signing of the contract, will be 13 months.

The 350-foot ship will have 178 staterooms of which eight will be about 200 sq.ft. suites, each with its own jacuzzi and balcony. Standard staterooms will be about 120 sq.ft. and single cabins 80 sq.ft.

The ship also features conference facilities for 150 persons and a dining room that can accommodate all passengers in one seating.

While the Delfin cruise vessel is intended for the luxury segment of the cruise market in the Baltic Sea and among the islands of the archipelago between Finland and Sweden, plans call for warm water cruising during the winter season.

In an interview with CIN, Managing Director Patrick Donner, said that the Delfin Clipper's inaugural season in the Baltic had been successful with the ship achieving an overall load factor of 75 percent.

Donner would not disclose the ship's winter program, but said that Delfin Cruises was negotiating several options. He said that the company had not had enough lead time to want to undertake its own winter program yet, adding that it had received numerous offers from charters to joint venture operations.

Donner emphasized that the Delfin Clipper has been designed to meet all Coast Guard and U.S. Public Health requirements, and that the ship offers a high standard of service and amenities. He also pointed out that the ship's capacity of 300 matches that of one wide-bodied jet.

The company's contract for the second vessel also includes an option for a third.

Rauma Yards Oy is a new shipbuilding company resulting from the merger of the former Rauma and Uusikaupunkti shipyards within the Rauma-Repola Group and started operations August 1 with some 1,500 employees.