Speaking to Seatrade Insider after being re-elected chairman of theAustralian Shipbuilders Association at its agm in Sydney yesterday, Austal Ships md Bob McKinnon said he expects to ratify the contract for the 2,677-ton sister ships Tia Moana and Tu Moana before the end of the year.
They will each have 37 outside cabins, two bars, a dining room, library,lounge, showroom and cinema and will join the French Polynesian company's existing vessel Haumana that operates three, four and seven-day itineraries around the Tahitian islands.
McKinnon, who signed a A$47.5 million contract last month with New WorldFirst Ferry of Hong Kong for three 416-passenger high-speed (42 knots)catamarans to operate between Hong Kong and Macau, with an option foranother four, believes ultra-luxury hotels and resorts are a potentialmarket. He said a number of hoteliers have expressed interest in owningexclusive five-star mini vessels as value-added extras for guests. Theconcept is to put together packages that include a few nights on board for local sightseeing or diving excursions, he said.