Royal Caribbean International (RCI) has made a bid to purchase Prickly Pear, a privately owned island situated six miles off the southern coast of Anguilla, according to industry sources.

It is believed that RCI has imposed a Feb. 1, 1998 deadline for finalization of the deal, which has been plagued by a complex network of ownership, and reportedly by a significant measure of fear on the part of island officials and resort owners that cruise tourism could negatively impact Anguilla.

Meanwhile, to hedge its bets RCI has begun preliminary discussions to buy another out island, also situated off Anguilla, but on a less-traversed side.