Celebrity Cancels One Summit Sailing

May 10, 2006
Celebrity Cruises is canceling one sailing on its Summit -- a seven-night Alaska cruise from Vancouver to Seward that was slated to depart on May 20 -- as a result of problems with the ship's propulsion system. Specifically, Summit will have to dry-dock at Victoria Shipyard to replace the starboard thrust bearing. According to a Celebrity spokesman, 2,077 passengers were booked on the now-canceled cruise.

The company expects that Summit will return to its regular schedule on May 27.

Passengers booked on the canceled sailing will receive a full refund, and a free cruise from North America (seven nights maximum) that must be taken on or before September 30, 2007. Holiday and Celebrity Xpedition cruises are not part of the offer. The company has set up a "help desk" to provide assistance to impacted passengers; call 888-281-9343.

Summit is currently sailing a 13-night repositioning cruise. It left from Los Angeles on May 7 and is expected to arrive in Vancouver, as scheduled, on May 20. In between, the ship has already visited San Francisco, its first port. The rest of the itinerary has been tweaked, however, because the ship has had to drop its maximum speed from 22.5 knots to 17.5 knots. Its call at Seattle has been canceled and replaced with a sea day. The ship will also skip Sitka. All other ports of call are still on (including Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria), along with sailings along the Inside Passage and to Hubbard Glacier.

Believe it or not, an almost identical incident involving Celebrity's Summit occurred a year ago -- check out our report on the cancellation of the June 3, 2005 voyage -- as a result of problems with the propulsion system. In fact, balky pods have resulted in so many voyage cancellations aboard Millennium-class ships, including Infinity and Constellation, that Celebrity filed a $300 million lawsuit against the pods' manufacturers: Rolls Royce and Alstom.

Andy Geller (also known as Host Andy) reports that while Celebrity did settle the lawsuit with Alstom a few months ago, the company is still in litigation with Rolls Royce. He notes that in its February 2006 earnings statement, Royal Caribbean International reported that "in late January 2006, the company partially settled its previously announced lawsuit against Rolls Royce and Alstom Power Conversion, co- producers of the Mermaid pod-propulsion system on its Millennium-class ships, for the Mermaid pod problems. Under the terms of the partial settlement, Alstom paid the company $38 million, or $0.16 per share, and the company released Alstom from the suit which remains pending against Rolls Royce. The partial settlement will be recorded in the first quarter of 2006."