LONDON: Princes Cruises, the US subsidiary of Britain's Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co (P & O), has placed a US$680 million order for two superliners. The ships, with passenger capacities of 1,950 and 2,500, will be built at Italy's Fincantieri yard and serve the North American cruise market, the company said. P&O said the North American market has grown at nearly 10 per cent a year for the past 10 years, with Princess Cruises the leading line in the premium sector. Deliveries will take place in 1997, with the smaller of the two ships to be delivered first. It will be a sister ship to P&O's 77,000-tonne Sun Princess, due to be delivered by Fincantieri in January 1996. The other vessel will be in the range of 90,000 tonnes, and will be dedicated to the Caribbean market. The vessels are being financed on standard terms of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - eight per cent over 81/2 years. Fincantieri is a unit of Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale SpA.