Norway's shipbuilding giant Aker Yards has won a contract from Royal Caribbean to build the world's largest cruise ship, carrying 5,400 passengers.
Aker has sites in Norway, Finland, Germany, Romania and Brazil
At about 900m euros ($1.1bn; £615m) the vessel will be the "most valuable ship ever ordered in the history of commercial shipbuilding", Aker said.
Under the name "Project Genesis" the ship will be built at Aker's yards in Finland for delivery in late 2009.
It will measure 360 metres (1,181 feet) in length and 47 metres across.
Royal Caribbean estimates the total cost of the ship to be about $230,000 per berth, which is roughly comparable to the cost per berth of other large vessels.
"It is exhilarating to take such a giant step into the future", said Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain.
"Project Genesis truly is a remarkable ship."
Aker Yards has already built 11 ships for Royal Caribbean and three more are currently under construction including the Freedom class cruise vessels, to be delivered in 2006, 2007 and 2008.