Passenger Unrest Aboard Celebrity's Summit

May 11, 2006
The ongoing problems with propulsion systems on Celebrity's Millennium-class vessels -- Millennium, Infinity, Summit and Constellation -- may be an annoyance for Celebrity officials, but yesterday's announcement that Summit is tweaking its current itinerary (and canceling the next voyage) because of new problems is more than an irritation for passengers currently onboard.

There's "trouble in paradise," reports Brian Wilson (also known by his Cruise Critic user name, bigtexxx). Wilson, currently onboard Summit, says that "we had a big meeting in the Celebrity Theater and it was packed with angry guests. The captain squirmed and wormed and tried to answer questions." The bottom line, he adds, is that "if the bearing goes out the cruise is over. And we've just started!"

So, it would seem, has the trouble. In a second missive, Wilson tells Cruise Critic's Carolyn Spencer Brown that "natives continue to be restless. The change in itinerary and Celebrity's reaction to it [Editor's Note: the company is offering a $200 per cabin credit] is all anyone's talking about. Every person we pass in the hallways, dining rooms or public rooms is muttering something about the problem."

It all sounds eerily familiar to the mutiny faced by Queen Mary 2's officers in January when that ship, on its way to South America, also suffered from propulsion problems and canceled ports. Passengers revolted after Cunard made an offer of a 50 percent refund as compensation. They threatened a sit-in, complained to media outlets such as CNN, and asked that passengers spend no money onboard. Cunard ultimately upped the compensation.

Onboard Summit, Wilson notes that "the consensus here is that the compensation offer was a cheap slap in the face and made people more incensed rather than pacified. Knowing that the propulsion system is an ongoing problem makes it even more annoying -- clearly they knew what they were dealing with yet sailed on out of San Francisco, holding us hostage for three days, then hitting land in Ketchikan in the middle of nowhere."

Stay tuned -- we'll keep you posted.