STX France SA has received an order to build two luxury cruise ships from Viking Ocean Cruises, an affiliate of Viking River Cruises.

The vessels will be delivered in spring 2014 and spring 2015, respectively, and will be part of Viking's new Ocean Cruise brand. An option for a third ship is being considered.

The vessels will be operated primarily in Mediterranean and be dedicated mainly to Viking's US, British and Australian customers.

The vessels will have a length of 230m and a width of 26.5m. Passenger capacity will be 888 passengers in 444 cabins with 444 crew members.

The contract will represent about 2.5 million man-hours. Construction is expected to start in mid-September 2012 for the first vessel and in mid-September 2013 for the second vessel. The contract is subject to financing.

Well known as the world's leading river cruise company Viking ranks as an upscale owner. Viking River Cruise currently operates a fleet of 23 river vessels, and has 8 river cruise vessels under construction. River cruising is destination oriented and the two ocean going vessels will similarly be designed with destination cruising in mind.

"We are proud to have been selected by Viking to build their new series of ships and delighted to contribute to their expansion into a new market," said Jacques Hardelay, General Manager of STX France.