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Summit Alaskan cruise disappointment (MERGER OF 5 THREADS ON THIS TOPIC)


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Alan --

 

Thanks very much for correcting me and educating us - now i understand that it is much more difficult as you say. Tell me, are the affected bearings the ones that turn the pod on the hull, or are they the bearings for the spinning propeller?

 

Still, I also completely understand how frustrated those passengers are - first being told that all they'll get refunded is port charges, then $200/pp - it's like RCCL is playing "Lets-Make-a-Deal" At least they've sent executives out who can make some decisions on the matter.

 

BTW -- Cool website - it's been on my favorites list for years.

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Following are excerpts from an e-mail I received from a dear friend who is aboard Summit for this cruise. She asked that if I found a thread pertaining to the issue to post some of her comments to hopefully clarify situations aboard the vessel.

 

Since I don't see any other posted comments from those actually on board, I'll post hers:

 

"On the way out of San Pedro on the start of our Alaska/Vcr portion of the trip, we were sitting on our balcony watching the wake when a large shudder and drastic zig zag took place. This was only a very few minutes after the ship started to pick up speed from dropping off the pilot. We knew right away something had happened but we continued blissfully along until the next day (Monday) when at noon the Captain announced over the PA that we would be arriving in San Francisco that evening around midnight instead of the next morning at 7:00 a.m. He said this was to have a maintenance check up and inspection. We were late leaving SF (about 3 hours) and nothing more was said except that we had passed a safety and maintenance inspection and were safe to carry on our journey. Today (Wed) at noon the Capt announced that due to a “pod” bearing problem we would have to cruise at 17.5 knts instead of the usual 22.5 knts and would have to miss the ports of Seattle and Sitka but that in compensation we would all receive a $200 shipboard credit. An hour later he said over the PA that we could go to the large theatre on board and he would answer any and all questions. Wow, some people want to mutiny, are demanding a full refund, one man from Israel said he doesn’t feel safe and wants to be sent home immediately at the ship’s expense!"

 

"They had a meeting in the theatre at which John Howell and the Captain answered to the best of their ability all questions. There had been a large group gather at the bottom of the main staircase, deck 3, with one man leading the charge. He wanted everyone to stick together in their demands for a full refund, larger shipboard compensation, green cheese from the moon for dessert tonight etc. etc. We thought the Capt handled the whole thing very well, he had to remind everyone many times that he was being a gentleman and respectfully trying to answer their questions and he would like to be treated with the same courtesy. The Capt was on the stage for well over an hour. One man wanted to take a “vote” to demand the ship go to Seattle so frightened passengers can get off of this terrible ship. The Capt politely informed this man that “he” is in charge, not the passengers so the vote was therefore stopped."

 

"We feel things happen, we aren’t thrilled about the changes but 1.) we are on a cruise, 2.) we are having fun, 3.) they are feeding us, entertaining us, serving us…. So we are going to take our $200 and enjoy ourselves at the Martini Bar! There is a possibility that if the bearing goes completely and we are reduced to one “pod” we will have to end the cruise wherever we are, i.e. closest port, and they will fly us home."

 

"Two X customer service reps came on board this morning [in Ketchikan] and are meeting “outraged” guests in the boardroom on a one on one basis. The mutineers had another meeting yesterday with much shouting etc., nothing accomplished from what we saw. We just happened by on deck 4 near the Grand Staircase when it was going on. Many calls for everyone to stick together, do not let X divide and conquer, etc. Another meeting planned for 4:00 p.m. today but they had a great deal of difficulty agreeing on the time, let alone what the meeting (or shouting session) will cover. We are staying away from it all!!"

 

"Most people we have met are quite happy with the treatment from X and are really enjoying just being on the ship. I have not heard one person comment on how devastating the cancellation of the May 20th cruise is for both scheduled passengers and to us, most importantly, the loss of income for the crew. So many people are hurt by this cancellation and we are with passengers who are being so picky about the loss of 2 ports. There is a couple on board who planned to get married in Seattle and had a bunch of family flying in for the occasion, plus some passengers had family getting on board the ship in Seattle so I have some sympathy for them….but I would not have planned such an event to start with…..things are never ever etched in stone with ship itineraries."

 

My apologies for the rather lengthy post, but this is just to keep current with situations aboard the vessel.

 

 

 

 

CM

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Cruise News Daily,

 

Well said. You stated the excact same thing we have heard from an engineer we sailed with shortly after the Infinity started sailing and we had our whole itinerary changed because of the first bearing problems.

Celebrity knew at that time that they had a big problem on their hands.

There is no easy fix.

Looking at this from a business point of view, it has got to be quite a nightmare they have been dealing with for the past five years.

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Following are excerpts from an e-mail I received from a dear friend who is aboard Summit for this cruise. She asked that if I found a thread pertaining to the issue to post some of her comments to hopefully clarify situations aboard the vessel.

 

My apologies for the rather lengthy post, but this is just to keep current with situations aboard the vessel.

 

Thanks. May I handle any onboard situations with the same class as this woman!

 

When the QM2 situation happened, I felt that Cunard set a horrible example by giving into the complaints onboard the ship. Unfortunately, now all the other cruiselines have to live with that precedent. I would rather see Celebrity (or any cruiseline in a similiar situation) be skewered for a while than to give into these complaints.

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Missing ports due to weather/safety/political instability or a rescue/life-saving mission is one thing - nobody in their right mind would EVER complain about such things.

 

Be careful what you say. When Millennium was 17 hours delayed in Arica, Chile because 12 of our fellow passengers died on a private tour, some of the other guests were complaining to the chief concierge and hotel director about our late arrival into our next port of call, Lima. Some even went as far to say that Millennium should have left Arica as scheduled because the passengers who died 'were on a private tour anyway'. :eek:

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Brian & CelebrityMan,

 

A little more explanation might help.

 

Brian: Each pod has two sets of bearings in rings. The thrust bearings are the ones that surround the shaft that goes out to the propeller. The radial bearings are the one that help the pod itself turn. Both have failed at times. This time it's the thrust bearings in the starboard pod, but they will change the thrust bearings in both pods during the drydock in Victoria.

 

CelebrityMan: Your friend may have seen things in the wake and felt things as they were leaving Los Angeles, but that wouldn't have had anything to do with this problem. This problem is not perceptable other than by the instrumentation in the engine room. I don't know what caused the problem they described; it could have been a power failure, a computer glitch, or they could have been avoiding something in the water.

 

Anyway, back to the bearing situation. The systems have lubricant circulating through them which runs into the hull of the ship and then through a filter inside the ship. The filter traps any impurities including microscopic metal particles which come from the bearings, and some sort of computer counts the particles. Some metal is normal since metal rubbing against metal is always going to wear some. (That's why these bearings are supposed to be replaced in the normal drydocks every two or three years.) The problem occurs when they notice an elevated number of the metal particles. That's the symptom that tells them the bearings are wearing too fast and theoretically on the road to complete failure. (That's never happened because they know what to do - they think - to stop it. Read on.) This kind of thing with microscopic wear just can't be felt in the ship.

 

In this case, they noticed the particle count going up while they were on the way to San Francisco. (Sorry, I don't remember exactly when.) It wasn't exactly like it has been in the past, but they suspected something was starting to go wrong. As they usually do, they contacted Rolls Royce, and the discussion was still going on as they left San Francisco about if this really indicated the usual problem or not.

 

In these instances, the manufacturer advises to reduce speed to 17.5 knots and that will reduced the wear, and it works, putting the wear back to an acceptable level. (The faster the ship goes, the faster the bearings spin, and the more they wear.) They want to avoid wear in these situations, since they don't know at what point they would approach a point where the bearing might fail completely and actually fall apart. That would create a lot of damage to the pod internally, and could be a much, much bigger repair job, so they want to avoid that. Of course, if one pod would fail like that, they could safely get to port operating on just one pod.

 

It wasn't until after Summit left San Francisco that Rolls Royce decided that the symptoms they were experiencing were indeed a problem and the bearing ring should be replaced. That's when the people in Miami needed to work out the alternate itinerary and decide when they could get the work done. All that was happening within a few hours of the word coming from Rolls Royce.

 

By the way, they can't make the announcement right away, because there are a massive amount of things to get in place, some of which could affect the whole plan if they can't be worked out.

 

Brian: As far as I know, the offer has always been $200. I don't think anyone is negotiating anything. They try to be consistent from instance to instance, and they stand their ground because they don't want to have to negotiate with each passenger. They even put the offer/options in writing and deliver them to each stateroom, so there won't be a misunderstanding. I don't know where you heard that about just getting port charges, but I suspect, that a passenger was pressing someone, such as at the purser's desk for information before they had the official word. (One of those things they want to have in place before they announce anything.) Either someone guessed or the story just changed as it was passed from person to person.

 

Brian: I'm glad you enjoy our website, but if you subscribed to CND, you'd already know all this. :)

 

Alan Wilson

Cruise News Daily

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Alan Wilson...what a breath of fresh air!! Factual information that contributes to rational thought. Such a novel concept in light of the "sit-in" alternative! Please continue your informative contributions.

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It's times like these I am glad my mother is hopeless on the internet.

 

My husband and I took our honeymoon on Summit and it was fabulous. We booked my mother and her boyfriend on the July 1 B2B, and I know publicity like this would really concern her.

 

It's sad when a few bad apples can paint the whole cruiseline in such a manner. I can understand being distressed at missing ports, but calling a mutiny? Give me a break.

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Alan Wilson and Celebrityman.

 

Many, many thanks for the cool, calm , collected and informative way you dealt with this issue.

Besides vindicating the great majority among us in how we feel about this, it also serves to point out how shamefully irresponsible headline seekers and ambulance chasers-type can be...

 

Glad the majority among us is consists of level heads and realistic toughts.

 

We simply should stop paying attention to that ''mutiny '' link as it really does not deserve any.

Let's all sympathize with the 1925 -odd guests on board GTS SUMMIT , rightfully disappointed no doubt, but carrying on with their life and cruise.

 

Cheers

CG

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Alan Wilson...what a breath of fresh air!! Factual information that contributes to rational thought. Such a novel concept in light of the "sit-in" alternative! Please continue your informative contributions.

:D YEA !! Right on !!! Motion seconded

 

CG

;)

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Unfortunately, there will always be a few people looking to get something for nothing. Demanding a full refund becasue 2 ports were missed is clearly an attempt to take advantage. Then to "blackmail" the cruise line is just sad. Shame on the people involved!

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I am so sorry forthose inconvenienced, one group I do not see mentioned is the crew. Firstly I expect that some passangers will be very hard to please this trip and the crew, particualrly the wait and cabin staff, will have to handle things. Secondly, they will miss next weeks tips. You always get people who want to make a drama out of a situation and I do hope the plank has been polished for them to walk. John Howell is an excellent CD and I bet he has had to use all his skills and tact over the last week

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Unfortunately, there will always be a few people looking to get something for nothing. Demanding a full refund becasue 2 ports were missed is clearly an attempt to take advantage. Then to "blackmail" the cruise line is just sad. Shame on the people involved!

 

Well said.

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Preventive maintenance, as you suggest, would be great if they knew when to expect the bearings to disintegrate, but they don't. This is the fifth time this ship has had them changed, and the fourth in an unscheduled situation.

 

Every large company has "bean counters" and Celebrity is no different. They run the show and if in their opinion it is benefitial to roll the dice on preventative maintenance then they will. Be assured Celebrity has analyzed this very situation and determined that it is worth it to them to dissapoint random cruises versus taking the ship out of service on a regular basis to service this condition. Celebrity must feel the almighty dollar is much more important than losing the faith and perhaps future return of a few passengers on these effected cruises.

 

For your information $200.00 per passenger equates to $380,000.00 that Celebrity must give back. Their fuel savings with reduced speed and dropped ports are probably three times that amount. Again, the "bean counters" were consulted!!!

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For your information $200.00 per passenger equates to $380,000.00 that Celebrity must give back.
This is soft money. How many will ask for cash back at the end of the cruise if they do not spend their $200? Think those drinks really cost $5-$9? That soda $1.50? That logo shirt $45?
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For all the comments about being "held hostage" after leaving San Francisco, how many people actually left the cruise? I'll bet none! I would have been very happy to go on this cruise even with the changes in itinerary. We had to cancel this cruise at the very last minute due to a family medical emergency.

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In every situation in life, someone must evaluate the costs versus the benefits of making a decision. Yes, it generally falls to the accountants to come up with the facts and the figures, but is rarely their decision as to which road to take. :cool:

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