The contractual dispute threatening the future of F3, Norwegian Cruise Line's innovative new-build, has now been publicly confirmed.
Prior to today, both Aker Yards, the shipbuilder, and NCL have refused to issue public statements about the status of the F3 project, which has been reported to have hit dire straits. So Aker's announcement today -- admitting to a dispute with NCL over the costs of the construction of the first of two 150,000-ton, 4,200-passenger F3 vessels -- was certainly an affirmation that the conflict is serious.
The builder is claiming that the dispute only affects the first of the two ships on order; the first as-yet-unnamed vessel was slated to debut in early 2010. The second is scheduled to launch summer 2010.
Aker's press release was vague. It did not respond to rumors, as reported on Cruise Critic and in other media outlets, that the deal had fallen through completely and that the vessel was being shopped to other lines.
According to the builder, work will continue on F3 while the two parties seek a resolution. The vessel is under construction at Aker France in Saint Nazaire's and is roughly 25 percent complete.