Fearnley & Eger, which has an eight-ship building program underway at the Cantieri Navale Ferrari yard in Italy, has not yet determined whether also to establish a new cruise line for the operation of the ships, or enter into a leasing agreement with an established cruise line.

The company is presently leasing the Starship Explorer to Exploration Cruise Lines.

Each of the new ships will be about 3,000 tons and accommodate 110 passengers. The eight ships will be built in two groups of four identical ships. The first will enter service in the second quarter of 1989; delivery of the other seven ships will follow at three month intervals.

The ships, which will be marketed as "yacht ships," will cater to an upscale audience, according to Johan Lyng Olsen, President of Fearnley & Eger. Per diems will be in the range of $350 to $450.

Fearnley & Eger is overseeing the construction of the ships, which are formally owned by Italian companies and will fly the Italian flag. The Italian companies are held by a Panamanian holding company with 40 percent Norwegian and 60 percent American ownership interests.

Fearnley & Eger is also considering rebuilding the sister ship to the Starship Explorer, the Gardinia. A decision is expected within the next 30 to 45 days.

At the same time, it is reported that Exploration Cruise Lines has ordered two 50,000 ton ships from Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft for delivery in 1990. CIN was unable to obtain comments from the cruise line.

Industry sources also say that Premier Cruise Line will expand its fleet with two additional ships, due to enter service in 1988; and that Windstar Sail Cruises plans to exercise its option to build a fourth vessel the Wind Song.