Carnival Corporation dropped its joint-venture plans with Hyundai last year, but the South Korean industrial giant never stopped planning for its own entrance into the cruise business. On July 29, Star Cruises announced the sale of the 714-passenger Superstar Sagittarius (ex-Sun Viking) to Hyundai for delivery Sept. 20, and the four-year charter of the 1,000-passenger Superstar Capricorn for delivery Sept. 5.

Hyundai had previously announced it would begin cruise service between South Korea and North Korea's Kumkang Mountain region on Sept. 25. The company said it planned to invest $120-$150 million in the historic Kumkang project, with five ships eventually serving the route.

As part of the recently closed deal with Hyundai, Star Cruises will provide hotel and marine personnel through June 1999, and management services on both ships through 2002. CEO Colin Au also stated that Star plans to "strengthen ties with Hyundai in this cruise business in the future."

Star said the sale and charter are part of its previously announced strategy to dispose of its smaller, older ships before delivery of the 75,000-ton, 2,000-passenger Superstar Leo and Superstar Virgo in September of 1998 and August of 1999, and the Libra­ class ships in 2000 and 2002.