Celebrity Millennium Hitch Costs Port Calls

July 5, 2007
While anchored in Villefranche on Monday, Celebrity Millennium's propellers struck a rock, causing enough damage to result in a series of missed port calls. First to go was a stop at Livorno (for Florence and Tuscany); instead, the ship sailed directly to Civitavecchia, the port for Rome.

Celebrity Millennium is on a 12-night cruise that departed from Barcelona on June 30.

Thanks to BerryHappy29, who is onboard the ship and is offering live reports in the Celebrity forum. She noted:

    "Yesterday while we were in Villefranche the boat drifted towards shore and ended up hitting submerged rocks. (Someone wasn't doing their job.) Most people felt a shudder about 5 p.m. last night, then noticed something was wrong when the cooks and mechanics were looking over aft Deck 10. If the cooks are looking over, it really must not be normal.

    "Well, after a night of silence from the bridge, we discover through a letter slipped under our door at 6 a.m. that three of the four blades on the propeller on the starboard side were damaged. We were supposed to leave port at 8 p.m., but didn't leave until 11 p.m. Because of the damage, the ship can only travel at 11 knots instead of 22. They tried to go faster, but the ship was rocking so bad it felt like a fast rolling earthquake. We're still rocking pretty good, a mechanical rocking, not wave rolling. We are going to have to pass up Florence today and travel straight to Rome so they can attempt to fix it. They did give credit to our shipboard account because of the missed port, but it doesn't really make up for not seeing Florence. There are some very unhappy passengers here today, including myself."
Upon reaching Civitavecchia, efforts there to repair three of the four blades on the starboard propeller and two on the port propeller took longer than anticipated. As such, the ship is still at Civitavecchia, although at this point Celebrity says it will leave today.

More, this from a post yesterday, from BerryHappy29:

    "The captain was pretty vague, we may have more info before the evening is over. Because of a quiet bridge, the rumors have been flying. Everything from the firing of the captain to canceling the cruise all together. I'm only reporting what I've heard.

    "People are understandably upset, including myself. I did plan this trip for a while and was really looking forward to Florence and Pompeii. This is my first trip to Europe and didn't expect to spend most of it on the water.

    "The staff is doing their best to keep their spirits up, but as reported by our bartender, they're very upset with the captain."
The revised itinerary will feature the cancellation of calls at Naples, Santorini and Athens. Instead, Millennium will go to Corfu, a new addition to its itinerary. It will finish out the cruise with an unscheduled visit to Dubrovnik and then wind up in Venice.

Meanwhile, there's been no official word from Celebrity about compensation for missed ports, though member PGH did post a note saying a friend onboard was given a $750 per- stateroom credit. In its most recent corporate statement -- dated yesterday -- Celebrity notes that Millennium will be "finishing its sailing as scheduled," but does not comment on any issues related to the ship's next cruise, scheduled to embark from Venice on July 12.

Kudos to HostAndy who pretty much sums up the criticisms we're hearing, both onboard and off, about the handling of this situation:

    "I have been keeping quiet as we wait for more details, but I have been watching this thread actively. I agree that it's very premature to say that Celebrity is not being honest, but I totally agree that they should keep the passengers onboard informed. There is nothing worse that letting speculation run the ship. I totally understand that Celebrity may not have ALL of the answers right now, but they should be forthcoming about what they do know, and what they don't know."
We'll keep you posted.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor