Captain Ola Harsheim, senior vice president of newbuilding and ship operations for Utopia residencies; Young Ryeol Joo, vice president of the cruise and ferry team at Samsung; and Jaytee Jung, general manager, marketing and sales at SamsungThe residence-ship Utopia is moving toward a firm building contract with Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea, according to Captain Ola Harsheim, senior vice president of newbuilding and ship operations for Utopia Residences. The estimated construction cost for the 105,000-ton ship is $1.1 billion and delivery is slated for 2014.

 According to Harsheim, the Utopia is much different than the first and so far only residence-ship, the Norwegian-built World. The new ship will feature 200 private residences from Deck 8 and up and a boutique hotel with 200 rooms on Decks 6 and 7.

As itineraries will be “100 percent event-driven,” Harsheim said that hotel cabin rates will be comparable to room rates ashore during such events as the Carnival in Rio, the Running of the Bulls in Spain or the Monaco Grand Prix.

Harsheim said he soon expects to announce a hotel chain that will operate the hotel and related services on the ship.

While Samsung has not yet built a cruise ship, it is no newcomer to cruise. The Korean builder has had a dedicated cruise team for the past 10 years, working on new designs and prototypes and competing for contracts.

“We can build everything on a (cruise) ship, except the hotel accommodations, where we will bring in European subcontractors,” Young Ryeol Joo, vice president of the cruise and ferry team, told Cruise Industry News. The added cost factor incurred by outsourcing to European companies will be offset by what Joo said was the yard’s better productivity in steel work and efficient manufacturing practices. 

 (For the complete report from Utopia and Samsung, please see the upcoming fall issue of the Cruise Industry News Quaterly Magazine - click here to subscribe!)