STAR Cruises has announced plans to build two 110,000-tonne ships costing $500m each for delivery in 2003 and 2005.

The company claims that at 316 metres they will be the longest cruise ships in the world.

The two vessels will be built after the forthcoming 89,500-tonne SuperStar Libra and SuperStar Scorpio, which are due in 2001 and 2002 respectively.

Meanwhile, Star Cruises has just taken delivery of its new $380m ship SuperStar Virgo, a month earlier than scheduled.

The ship was recently displayed to a group of UK tour operators before it left the Meyer Werft shipyard at Emshaven in the Netherlands.

The 75,500-tonne SuperStar Virgo has a capacity of 2,000 passengers. It includes a seven-storey atrium and a variety of restaurants with Japanese, Chinese, southeast Asian and Italian cuisine. Its week-long maiden voyage from Bombay to Singapore starts on August 20.

Thereafter it will carry out year-round itineraries out of Singapore, replacing its sister ship SuperStar Leo, which is being moved to Hong Kong.

President and chief executive Colin Au said: “The arrival of SuperStar Virgo means that Star Cruises can position two mega-ships in the key cruise hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong, covering southeast Asia and North Asia.”

Meanwhile, Star Cruises has announced a net profit of $20.7m for the second quarter – up from $2.9m in 1998. Revenue rose from £54.5m in this period last year, to $85.1m this year.