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CRUNCHING END TO CRUISE

Passengers aboard the Royal Viking Sun, a Cunard Lines ship, had their round-the-world cruise rudely interrupted earlier this month when the ship struck a reef in the Red Sea, tearing the hull and disabling the liner. None of the 527 passengers was hurt, but it took about 19 hours for tugs to move the ship to Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

For 79 of the passengers, it was a case of deja vu: They'd been on the Sagafjord, another Cunard ship, in late February when an engine fire left it adrift in the South China Sea. Cunard gave passengers on the disabled Sagafjord the option of continuing their cruise aboard the Royal Viking Sun, also on a round-the-world itinerary.

Egypt impounded the Royal Viking Sun and announced it would not release it until Cunard paid $23.5 million for damages to the reef. A Cunard spokesman said the firm would keep the ship at Sharm el Sheikh "as long as it takes to complete the repairs and fulfill all the obligations."

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