Steaming Cruise Ship Passengers

Everyone is in a hurry these days. They are still getting where they want to be, only at 3/4 speed!!
As for being a prisoner on a ship, it goes with being at sea.

Raina Delisle
The Province

Friday, May 12, 2006

Patrick Regan is a prisoner at sea, stuck on a luxury cruise "limping to Alaska."

"I'm on a ship that's not operating at 100 per cent and I want some answers," Regan said yesterday.

"A lot of people want off this ship. I'm upset I wasn't given the option to decide whether or not I wanted to continue this journey."

Regan and his wife, Harriette, of North Vancouver, boarded Celebrity Cruises' Summit in Los Angeles on Sunday for a 13-night cruise to Sitka, Alaska, with stops in Seattle yesterday and Victoria today.

Instead, the ship has skipped Seattle and will skip Sitka to save time because a mechanical problem has cut speed by 22 per cent.

At its first stop in San Francisco, the Summit was met by inspectors from Lloyd's Register -- a maritime classification society that ensures ships meet safety standards.

"Routine maintenance detected premature wear in the propulsion system," said Michael Sheehan, a spokesman for Celebrity.

The ship left port without alerting passengers because "expert analysis" was not complete, Sheehan said. The ship is safe, he said, but going slow to prevent more damage.

Regan, an amateur cruise reviewer who has been on six Alaskan cruises in the last year, said passengers are fuming because they were not immediately notified and given the option to disembark.

"They waited until we were out in open sea before they copped to the problem," he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, guests were called to the ship's theatre.

"The captain admitted . . . he knew of the problem before San Francisco and arranged for the Lloyd's guys to check it out," Regan said.

Sheehan said "nobody is held captive," and passengers can get off today in Victoria.

But getting their money back is another story. Celebrity is offering only a $200 US refund per cabin.

The ship will be repaired in Vancouver.

Its next trip is cancelled.