Construction is now well under way at Sweden's Kockums shipyard on Carnival Cruise Lines' two new 1,800-passenger ships.

"The whole yard is at present filled to capacity with sections for the ships," explains Leif Jungestad, Public Relations manager at Kockums. "The third section is in the building dock right now, and the hotel sections are presently under construction, he adds, noting that the ships will consist of 22 pre-outfitted sections each, which will be assembled in the building dock.

The first ship, ready for delivery in May/June 1986, marks Kockums' first attempt at modern passenger ship construction, having a past history of crude carriers and gas transport ships.

"Although our costs are high, we can compete in the construction of cruise ships because of our ability to specialize in technically advanced ships. There is an enormous overcapacity of shipyards across the world in competition for the construction of less advanced bulk carriers, tankers, etc., and thus costs are kept down. Relatively few yards are capable of building sophisti­cated tonnage such as cruise ships, and thus costs are much higher," says Junge­stad. "We would like to get more involv­ed in passenger ship construction, and are spending a lot of money on research and development, to increase efficiency and to develop our own designs, he adds, explaining that Carnival supplied their own design for the new ships.