Following an electrical issue, Celebrity Cruises cancelled what was remaining of the ship’s Alaska season, refunding passengers and looking into repair solutions following a second failure in two weeks while in Alaska.
Currently, the ship is en-route to the Grand Bahama Shipyard, where Royal Caribbean Cruises (Celebrity’s parent company) has a 40 percent ownership stake.
The brand investigated shipyards down the West Coast, in Russia and even in Asia, according to Michael Bayley, president and CEO, speaking on a call on Wednesday to media.
Also leading to the yard decision was the sheer mass of Celebrity’s replacement pod, which was sitting in Europe (based on deployment), and getting it to the ship.
“We have to get a 250-ton pod from Northern Europe to the Bahamas, that is a tricky piece of work,” said Bayley. “We did end up chartering a ship exclusively to sail to Rotterdam to pick up the pod and bring it across the Atlantic.”
Bayley explained there was no aircraft available to fly the pod across the Atlantic, and the biggest Russian cargo jets – developed for a space program – were limited to 190 tons across the Atlantic Ocean and could not land on the runway in Freeport regardless.
The ship will be in drydock for a quick six days, and the old pod will go back to Europe on the same cargo vessel the company chartered, presumably to be refreshed for future use.
Senior Vice President of Operations Greg Purdy explained that electrical coil problems led to the pod issues and the decision to take the ship out of service, replacing the entire unit. Purdy later underscored that the problems were not related to bearings, a known issue with early-generation pods.
As for the one-plus-month out of service, 843 crew remain onboard, which Celebrity will provide more specific training to, while they perform a deep-cleaning of the ship.
The ship will sail from the Bahamas back to San Diego in-time for a Sept. 22 cruise departure.
That sailing, right now, is scheduled to go ahead without passengers but Celebrity is looking into options, Bayley noted.
“On Sept. 22, our goal is to delight our guests and customers with a truly outstanding experience,” added Bayley.