Delivery of the world's largest cruise ship, the 2,766-passenger Monarch of the Seas, will be delayed until November because of damage by fire last month in the French shipyard where she is being built.
The ship ordered by the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line was to have begun cruises in the Caribbean in May.The delay has forced Royal Caribbean to cancel its 1991 European cruise program to maintain its presence in the Caribbean and to Alaska and Mexico.
It has also affected the traveling plans of thousands of people.
Damaged cabins on several decks in the forward third of the ship are being replaced at the yard, the Atlantique in St.-Nazaire, said a Royal Caribbean official.
The bridge and part of the hull are also being repaired. At the time of the fire on Dec. 3, construction of the vessel had been substantially completed, and sea trials were to have begun Dec. 21.
Royal Caribbean's 1,000-passenger Song of Norway is remaining in San Juan, P.R., and continuing seven-night cruises to Barbados, until the Monarch of the Seas is ready to take over the route toward the end of the year.
The Song of Norway was to have moved from San Juan to the West Coast in April to operate seven-night Alaska and Mexican Riviera cruises.
The line's Sun Viking, which holds 728 passengers, was scheduled to cross the Atlantic in April to begin a season of cruises in Europe. She will now transfer instead to the West Coast to operate the Alaska and Mexico programs.
A spokesman for the cruise line said passengers had reservations for the Monarch for as far as a year beyond its originally scheduled maiden voyage from San Juan in May.
Passengers who had reserved cabins are being offered cruises, often at discounted fares, on other Royal Caribbean ships or a cruise, at a reduced fare, on the Monarch in late 1991 or in 1992. The line hopes to resume operations in Europe next year.
The Monarch of the Seas is the second of three megaships ordered by Royal Caribbean. The first was the Sovereign of the Seas, delivered in 1988; she can carry about 2,500 passengers and does one-week Caribbean cruises from Miami. The third is the Majesty of the Seas, due to be completed in 1992; she will carry up to 2,766 passengers.