(1:11 p.m. EDT) -- Larger-sized cruise ships could be on the horizon if buyout negotiations continue to progress between German shipbuilding giant Meyer Werft and the STX shipyard in Turku, Finland. The former company confirmed talks could be concluded within a "short period."
A release on the company's website stated progress has been made on the main terms of the agreement, although a number of open issues still need to be solved.
Known for building such ships as Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, as well as all Celebrity Solstice-class ships, Meyer Werft is currently building Quantum and Anthem of the Seas. Each of the Royal Caribbean International ships will measure 167,800 gross tons.
But Meyer Werft's facility in Papenburg, Germany, can't build ships that are larger than those Quantum-class vessels, said Teijo Niemela, editor of Cruise Business Review.
STX turned out Oasis and Allure of the Seas, each measuring more than 225,000 gross tons, a size the Meyer Werft shipyard cannot handle. "Meyer does not want to lose their customers looking at bigger ships, so buying the Turku shipyard makes sense," Niemela added.
Having the capacity to build larger ships is especially important, as persistent rumors have Norwegian looking to contract for at least one ship of more than 200,000 gross tons in the near future, both Cruise Business Review and Cruise Industry News report. Norwegian has used Meyer Werft for 10 of its ships, and the upcoming Norwegian Escape and Bliss will be built there, as well.
--By Dori Saltzman, News Editor