Friday, October 15, 2010

'Tis The Season of Ship Happening: Celebrity Century Cancels Cruises - Updated

Celebrity Cruise's Century has just cancelled its October 13, 2010 cruise after sailing out of Barcelona, apparently due to loss of some control with its rudders (not sure if it is one or both).  (It is has traditional propellers and rudders, rather than azipods like the under-repair Regent Seven Seas Voyager.) 

I have also heard, but cannot confirm, that Celebrity may also be cancelling its October 25, 2010 transatlantic crossing.  (HINT:  There will be a crossing at some point, so there probably will be some incredible deals out there shortly!!!) Century will be back on schedule for her October 25, 2010 cruise.


As I understand it, Celebrity is allowing its guests to stay onboard the ship, which is presently at or near Villefranche, France, until Saturday and will then (due the obviously unavailability of flights from there) bus guests back to Barcelona for flights home.  Do remember that France is "on strike" so flying out of Nice would be an issue...even if there were more flights.

In any event, Celebrity is doing far better at taking financial care of its guests than the pseudo-luxury line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is for it stranded Voyager guests.  (Haven't I repeatedly said that Celebrity provides better service than Regent?!)  Celebrity is providing a full refund of the cruise fare and a future cruise credit equal to 25% of the amount paid for the cruise...not Regent's average of slightly more than 10%. 

As for those flights, I understand that Celebrity has flown over support staff to assist and is, as of now, paying the estimated change fee for any guest's return flight ($250-$300) and making arrangements for anyone who booked air with Celebrity. 

Yes, ship happens, but it is how the cruise line responds when it happens that can truly make a difference.  Celebrity, not a luxury line, is doing more (or, most certainly, no less than) for its guests in the way of compensation than the pseudo-luxury line, Regent. It understands that in the end, it will be the service and the appreciation of the guest's dollars and inconvenience that will be remembered, not the "beans counted".

When there are no good solutions, you have to go with the best reasonable solution available. But when you signal not that you are going to throw money at people, but the other extreme:  that you are "cheaping out" it is another thing. 

As I have repeatedly said, Celebrity provides "the best bang for the buck in the business" and this, unfortunately, is just another example of when comparing it to Regent and its pricing, I am hard-pressed to find a good reason to endorse Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

I will keep you posted on the status of the Celebrity Century as well.