Alexandria may get an even larger cruise ship than it has been bargaining for, city and Nautilus Shipping Line officials have revealed.

A 430-foot, 576-passenger boat, now in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is expected to make the city home port for Caribbean cruises, beginning sometime in April, if present negotiations are concluded successfully.

The city council gave preliminary approval last week to an agreement permitting Nautilus to operate a cruise ship, to be called "e Lady Eleanor," from the city dock. The ship then under discussion was a 300-foot vessel that would draw about 18 feet, or just barely above the muddy Potomac River bottom.

The new ship will draw only about 14 feet, although it is much longer. It will be at least as large as the "Caribe," the German cruise ship that launched a Caribbean cruise from Alexandria's docks last November, and churned up a lot of mud in the process. It drew 17 feet.

"This one won't get stuck in the mud," Nautilus president George Scarborough said.

The proposed cruise ship, offered for sale last summer for $1.2 million, is expected to make one-and two-week cruises to the Bahamas and Carribean. It would charge about $400 for seven-day cruises in second class cabins, and $700 and up for higher class accommodations, Scarborough said.