Great Caribbean Cruise Deals ... on Canceled Sailings?

June 2, 2010
(6:30 p.m. EDT) -- Today's savvy travelers no doubt receive tons of e-mail from cruise lines and online agencies, touting great deals on a variety of voyages. But wait a minute: Did we just see a promotion for a sailing that will never set sail?

Last week, Celebrity Cruises announced it would be transferring Celebrity Mercury out of the fleet and over to Germany's TUI Cruises, necessitating the cancellation of previously scheduled cruises from Charleston. The ship's last cruise for Celebrity will depart on February 14, 2011; passengers booked to sail after that date were given the option to cancel for a full refund or transfer to another select sailing.

So folks on Celebrity's opt-in e-mail list may have been surprised to find seemingly canceled sailings being promoted as on sale in its latest mailer, which arrived in our inboxes last night. Cruise Critic contributor Glenn Tucker was the first to point out the discrepancy, which led us to take a deeper look.

The e-mail blast -- sent with the subject line "New sailings. New sweepstakes. New venue. June is a big month." -- teases 10- and 11-night Eastern and Western Caribbean Celebrity Mercury cruises from Charleston from $699. However, the "View Sailings" button links over to a page on that, at press time, was displaying Celebrity Mercury itineraries for late February and even March and April. (Click on the image above -- our on-screen capture showing both the e-mail ad and the target page -- to see a larger version.)

Celebrity spokeswoman Elizabeth Jakeway was unable to share specifics by press time, but did tell Cruise Critic "if the deals are linked to canceled sailings, there is almost certainly an error." (Interestingly, this isn't the first Web "whoops" for the line; in 2005, a clerical error on Celebrity's site listed weeklong Celebrity Xpedition cruises from a whopping $100,000 per person.)

Hey, mistakes happen to all of us -- even here at Cruise Critic! But alas, the bottom line is that you won't be able to snag a deal on Mercury sailings beyond the February 14, 2011, departure because there simply shouldn't be any.

--by Melissa Paloti, Managing Editor

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