Questions continue to surround the proposed cruise venture Canyon Ranch at Sea following the bankruptcy of Societa Esercizio Cantieri (SEC). In August, Canyon Ranch signed a firm contract for two 25,000-ton, 320-passenger ships, the Quest I and Quest II, priced at around $135 million each, with construction originally set to begin in November 2000 and to be completed in the third and fourth quarters of 2002. But earlier this month, a court in Italy forced troubled SEC into bankruptcy. SEC is appealing the ruling and hopes to be back in business by Jan. 2001.

"We understand that SEC is in financial trouble, and we don't quite know yet what that does to our schedule," said Gary Milner, Canyon Ranch's director of new project development. "Buf we are still interested in proceeding with them, and our information is that they will get past their temporary problems."