Renaissance Cruises has finalized the sale of half its fleet, accordmg to Execunve V.P. Sales and Marketing Frank Del Rio.

"Renaissance I through IV were sold in the fourth quarter of 1996," he announced, "while we will continue to operate Renaissance V through VIII." In the future, he added, these vessels may also be sold off as well. "As we bring in the new ships," he explained, "we will eventually wean ourselves off the smaller ships entirely at some point. And we will continue to build the larger ships."

Renaissance Cruises currently has two 690-passenger newbuildings on order from Chantiers de l'Atlantique, to be delivered in 1998 and 1999.

The overall shift of Renaissance's fleet from 100- and 114-passenger vessels to 690-passenger vessels is necessitated because "the customers are demandmg more on-board amenities and the cruise line is demanding more efficiencies," Del Rio explained. Of the new class of ships, he noted, "They will be more efficient and therefore they will cost less to operate. So we will be able to charge the customers less for what is for all practical purposes the same product that we are delivering now."

Del Rio would not disclose who purchased the four Renaissance vessels, or the sale price.