Viking Line Abp (Finnish Ferries, not the riverboats) have ordered a large new cruise ferry from China. They signed a letter of intent with Xiamen Shipbuilding on 23rd November 2016, for delivery in the Spring of 2020. The final agreement is expected to be signed in Spring 2017, and will include an option for a second vessel.
The vessel will be 218 metres long, with 63,000grt. It will operate on the Turku, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden route, via the Åland Islands, and will carry 2,800 passengers. The intention is for the vessel to run on LNG (liquefied natural gas), and it will be designed to have maximum energy-efficiency with minimal impact on the environment.
Rumour has it that the Chinese yard will receive just enough money to cover material costs. Labour costs and overhead will not be covered, let alone provide a profit, so the yard will lose money from day one. Xiamen Shipbuilding is state-owned, and China is able to offer export credits with extremely long maturities and very low interest rates. Chinese financing instutions are also buying market share with very competitive ship financing.