Viking Ocean Cruises and Fincantieri today announced the signature of a Memorandum of Agreement for the construction of two more ocean cruise ships with an option for another two.

The new ships will be twins to those ordered earlier this year.

In line with Viking’s intimate, destination-focused approach to cruising, the ships will be small by today’s standards at approximately 48,000 tons. The related ship contracts will be completed subject to the customary closing conditions.

The Agreement, which strengthens the preferred relationship between the two companies, also includes a series of joint initiatives to the study of liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion.

Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking, commented on the announcement: “This additional order indicates just how strong early response has been to our ocean cruise concept which focuses on small ship destination cruising at a great value.”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: "We are very pleased to intensify our collaboration with Viking and this new agreement demonstrates our ability to compete in the market. We have done our part and we hope that the institutions responsible for supporting exports will continue to sustain those in this strategic industry for the national economy." Bono concluded: "We also hope that the unions and workers feel confident about the future by giving their utmost commitment to making our company ever more competitive. Without this determination, the excellent results achieved this year, namely acquisition of basically all the new prototype cruise ships projects in 2012, will be hard to maintain."