Celebrity Cancels Millennium Cruise

March 12, 2004

Celebrity Cruises announces today that, in a wacky ship swap, it is canceling Millennium's March 28 Eastern Caribbean sailing. This is because sister ship
Infinity has developed pod-propulsion problems and requires an emergency dry
dock repair. As a result, Celebrity is assigning Millennium to take over for

In a nutshell, here are the details:

Guests booked on the canceled cruise will receive a full refund, plus a
voucher for a free Celebrity Caribbean sailing of seven nights or less.

Millennium will take over Infinity's next two Panama Canal itineraries
(March 28 and April 11).

After leaving dry dock, Infinity will assume Millennium itineraries for
three Caribbean sailings (April 4, 11 and 18).

Both ships are expected to resume their regularly scheduled itineraries
April 25; Millennium will return to its seven-day Eastern Caribbean
sailings while Infinity will resume 14-night trans-canal sailings in the Panama Canal region.

Celebrity has established a special help desk for impacted travelers; call

In this case, Celebrity’s rationale for swapping the two vessels -- instead of just canceling Infinity’s next two cruises (14-night Panama Canal itineraries) -- was that the repairs at the Grand Bahamas shipyard in Freeport will only take a week. A spokesman also said that because the line offers comparatively fewer trans-canal trips than Caribbean voyages, it would be easier for Millennium's displaced passengers to find a comparable sailing.

The pod-propulsion units on all of Celebrity's Millennium-class ships have experienced numerous problems that have resulted in a half-dozen cruise cancellations on Millennium, Infinity and Summit -- and delayed the launch of Constellation. For Infinity, this is the seventh cruise that Celebrity has canceled because of the balky units (there were two in June 2001, two in April 2002, and two in February 2003).

Celebrity had announced last summer that it had developed improved bearing units in conjunction with manufacturers Rolls Royce and Alstom Power Conversion, which developed the technology. Ironically, Infinity is the only ship in the fleet to have had them installed.

The company has also filed a $300 million lawsuit against Rolls Royce and Alstom over the consistently problematic "mermaid pods." A trial date has not yet been set.