January 13, 2001

Tourism officials say a record number of cruise ships docked in

                  ORANJESTAD, Aruba (AP) -- A record number of cruise ships docked in Aruba
                  last year, tourism officials said.

                  The 331 cruise ships that docked on the Dutch island in 2000 represented a 40
                  percent increase over the number the previous year, the Cruise Tourism
                  Authority said on Friday. The previous record of 273 ships was set in 1996.

                  The ships brought 490,005 visitors to the Caribbean island with a population of
                  100,000 people. Nearly half the population is employed in tourism-related work,
                  according to official government statistics.

                  The authority had worked to attract cruise lines to Aruba after Carnival's
                  Fascination and Premier Cruises' Seawind Crown dropped the Dutch Caribbean
                  island from their schedules in May for unspecified reasons.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.