The Summit Saga ... Continues

May 12, 2006

(5 p.m.) -- Despite ball-bearing problems in its propulsion system that have resulted in cancellation of ports on the current Los Angeles to Vancouver cruise -- and a complete kibosh of the voyage scheduled to depart on May 20 -- Celebrity's Summit soldiers on.

But the saga continues.

Special correspondent Brian Wilson (Cruise Critic member bigtexxx) reports "from Deck 4 of the troubled Summit" that there's more news today. According to Wilson, the captain has announced that two Celebrity representatives would be meeting the ship in Ketchikan and staying onboard for the duration of the trip. He said, continues Wilson, "they'd do a big meeting in the Celebrity theater, as well as meet with all of us individually. My sense is they'll be busy!"

Today, says Wilson, the bigger news was that the home office had approved a port charge refund for the two skipped calls, Sitka and Seattle. The amount? A whopping $15.68 per person! "That's about eight bucks a port," Wilson says.

The offer wasn't warmly received.

"I think this was a lame attempt to pacify one guy who spoke up at the group meeting. He said he was staying in a suite and paying $13,000 for the trip! In any case, I still don't think Celebrity is getting the scale of the problem, if they think another $15 is going to pacify anybody. Especially some dude paying 13 grand for his vacation!"

The real crux of passenger complaints, according to Cruise Critic's Celebrity board and other media reports, is that the captain was aware enough of the problem with the propulsion system that has cut speed some 22 percent, before the ship left San Francisco, its first port. Wilson and others wonder why then passengers weren't at least informed and given an option to debark.

"This whole issue of our reduced speed and where it allows us to visit is very confusing, further adding to passenger frustration," Wilson notes. "Full speed is about 21 knots. With our bad bearing, the captain said yesterday we'd be at 17.5 knots. Now today, he said we were doing only 16 knots! Is that just headwind? Or is that going to further reduce where we can visit, but they're not telling us yet? Who knows?

"All in all, the proceedings and how they've been handled has cast a pall over the cruise. Virtually everybody is grumpy, and knowing that the bearing could fail in the next five minutes gives the whole cruise an air of uncertainty."

We'll keep you posted.