Celebrity Pres Weighs In On Tragedy

March 23, 2006

(8:30 a.m.) -- In a note meant for travel agents and other partners, Celebrity president Dan Hanrahan last night addressed the tragic bus crash that killed 12 passengers sailing on Celebrity's Millennium and injured two others, along with the driver and tour guide, during an independently arranged shore excursion.

Hanrahan notes that the incident occurred at 4:30 p.m. local time, that the injured were taken to a nearby hospital, and that a doctor, nurse and concierge from the ship went to the hospital to assist. John Krousouloudis, the cruise line's vice president for marine operations, flew to Chile to lead a "special assistance" team to help, and the company has alerted the U.S. Consulate, U.S. Coast Guard and Bahamian authorities. "The company is working in close coordination with those organizations and Chilean authorities to assist the injured and those onboard the ship," says Hanrahan.

Celebrity has notified all the emergency contacts provided by the affected guests and is flying family members of those killed and injured to Chile Thursday. The ship will remain in Arica until issues are resolved.

Celebrity has established two toll-free phone lines for family members of guests sailing on this cruise. Callers in North America should dial 1-888-829-4050. Callers from outside North America should dial the following number collect: 305-539-4050. These numbers are for family members only, and the company requests that the general public not use these numbers so family members of those onboard the ship may receive information in a timely manner.

The cause of the accident has not been determined, and Celebrity will be actively involved in the investigation, according to Hanrahan's statement.

It's important to point out, though, that while this indeed is a tragedy, Celebrity Cruises has neither "official" responsibility nor liability for the accident, as the trip was arranged independently and was not a ship-sponsored shore outing.