Short Circuit Holds Up Celebrity's Infinity in Vancouver

July 17, 2006

Passengers booked on the July 16 sailing to Alaska onboard Celebrity's Infinity are going nowhere fast. The ship is currently delayed in Vancouver due to a mechanical issue. Repairs are being finalized and the ship is expected to depart Vancouver at 4 p.m. today -- a day later than scheduled.

According to a statement from the cruise line, the issue is a "short circuit in the electric motor that turns its port propeller. Use of the port propulsion system was temporarily discontinued until the motor could be repaired while docked in Vancouver." The short was discovered during the July 9 voyage; the ship skipped its scheduled call in Sitka on Friday (July 14), and instead sailed straight for its seasonal homeport, Vancouver, for repairs -- arriving five hours late. This week's call at Sitka will also be canceled, due to the shortening of the itinerary.

Celebrity has confirmed that this electrical malfunction does not fall into the same category as the bearing-related pod propulsion issues that have plagued its Millennium-class ships -- most recently onboard Summit in May. (The line has actually filed a $300 million lawsuit against Rolls Royce and Alstom Power Conversion over the problematic pod propulsion system.)

Cruise Critic member 3FCC, just back from last week's Infinity cruise, shared this story: "We did start to experience trouble on Thursday night when the ship dropped anchor about 2 a.m. and determined that there was a short circuit in the propulsion system which reduced our cruising speed from 22 to 17 knots ... later that day, they indicated that they would be arriving in Vancouver at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday instead of 7 a.m. as planned. Since we live close to Vancouver, we did not need to reschedule flights, but I'm sure that was a challenge for many.

"Overall, we had a great time and the compensation for missing Sitka seemed appropriate ... I know there were people who left the ship before their luggage color was called and had to wait for their luggage in the terminal, and others who likely raced to the airport or missed their [flight], since we were told we would be disembarking shortly after 12:30 and it was after 2 pm before we were cleared to begin."

Passengers on both sailings were or will be compensated $500 onboard credit per stateroom for the inconvenience, a spokesman for the line tells us. Each guest will also receive a $200 discount on a future Celebrity sailing.