Celebrity Summit Engine Problems and I Am Booked to Sail in Two Weeks

The Millennium Class Celebrity ships have had a bit of a curse since they were built. The Rolls Royce Mermaid propulsion pods had problems with their bearings:

eBearing News Article from 2004

Celebrity filed suit against the manufacturer in 2003:

Marine Link Article

I have been watching the internet for reports of new pod problems since last winter, when I booked my Transatlantic cruise on the Celebrity Summit, which leaves in less than two weeks. For months, the line went with no reports of problems with the propulsion pods.

However my luck ran out yesterday. I signed on to my frequently visited site, Cruise Critic, and found thread reporting that there was trouble on the Summit. It seems that the cruise starting on 11/1 of 2008 experienced some sort of engine problem. They had to drop the port of Split, Croatia during that 14 day Mediterranean cruise. With the current problem, the ship could not exceed a speed of 15 knts, verses the ships regular top speed of 24 knts. Celebrity has dropped another port on its current Nov 14th sailing as well

What we don’t yet know is this: Is the problem with an easily replaceable gas turbine engine or a pod that requires a dry dock to fix?

If the problem is related to a gas turbine, then repair options may be able to be completed while the ship is in regular service. This machinery is internal and easily accessible within the ship. However, if the problem is with the pod propulsion module, these parts can really only be fixed in dry dock because access is below the water line.

So here’s my concern. We are booked for a 15 day Transatlantic cruise departing on Nov 29th. I really don’t’ see any possibility of the pods being fixed with out a dry dock. It is my understanding that the ships can sail at a partial speed of 15 -18 knts with a pod problem and then get them fixed at the next scheduled dry dock. When I called Celebrity today they would not inform me as to the nature of the problem, but they did tell me that they are actively working to fix it and that they expect no interruption or change to my cruise plans.

So I am hoping for the best, but I have always said that I am a “Go with the flow” kind of person who can always make lemonade out of life’s lemons. A fellow cruiser booked on this cruise is also experienced sail boat captain. He looked at the distances we have to cover on our cruise and the current schedule. At the 15 knt speed we will not be able to keep our current schedule, perhaps needing to drop one of our scheduled stops either just before or just after our Atlantic crossing. Trading an extra day at sea for a stop is certainly within my lemonade making ability, but a shortened cruise or cancellation may really test my “go with the flow” abilities.