SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- Princess Cruises canceled the first four cruises on its upcoming Sapphire Princess, which will now debut June 13, about a month later than planned.

A Princess spokeswoman said the ship is still slated for an on-time delivery, but Princess had been too optimistic about an early delivery when it put together its 2004 schedules.

"It became apparent as we draw closer that an early delivery will not be possible," she said.

The line is automatically moving passengers to sailings of the identical Diamond Princess, which offers a similar Sapphire itinerary -- seven-day roundtrip Alaska sailings from Seattle -- but with a departure on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Passengers will receive a $50 onboard credit; agents will receive a rebooking bonus.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].

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