(6:50 p.m.) -- Celebrity Cruises has announced that the December 10 sailing of its 91,000-ton, 1,950-passenger Millennium has been canceled. The ship needs to dry-dock to replace a port thrust bearing in its propulsion system.
Guests booked on the canceled cruise will receive a full refund as well as a free Celebrity cruise of equal value departing from North America; the sailing can be up to seven nights, and must depart on or before December 31, 2007 (holiday season and Celebrity Xpedition sailings are excluded). The December 10 voyage was to be a seven-night Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale.
Bearing-related pod propulsion issues have long plagued Celebrity's Millennium-class ships; in August, two pods were replaced on sister ship Infinity. The line has actually filed a $300 million lawsuit against Rolls Royce and Alstom Power Conversion over the problematic pod propulsion system.
The issue with this particular pod "has arisen recently," according to a spokesman for the line. The ship is operating safely. However, the November 24 sailing from Europe to the U.S. will drop one port of call (Naples), providing an additional day to complete the ocean crossing; passengers will receive onboard credit as compensation, which will vary based on fare paid.
The cruise line has set up a special help desk to assist affected passengers (and travel agents); the toll-free number is 888-281-9343.