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Delayed cruise ship to be in port until at least Thursday

Posted: August 22, 2013 - 12:10am

JUNEAU — The Celebrity Cruises ship that returned to Ketchikan, Alaska, after experiencing mechanical issues last weekend will remain there at least until Thursday, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Cynthia Martinez, a spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which owns Celebrity Cruises, said by email that charter flights had started taking passengers from Ketchikan, in southeast Alaska, to Seattle or Vancouver, British Columbia. She said 635 of the roughly 2,200 passengers who were on the ship had booked a post-cruise tour with Celebrity Cruises and would remain on the Millennium until Thursday, since their tour was scheduled to begin on Friday. After their tours, they will return home as planned, she said.

Martinez has said the 965-foot ship, which also carried nearly 960 crew members, experienced a mechanical issue with one of its two propulsion motors. She said the ship had an issue with the same motor on a prior Alaska outing.

The mechanical problem also has forced the cancellation of four future Millennium cruises, Celebrity Cruises announced late Tuesday, sailings that had been scheduled for Aug. 23, Aug. 30, Sept. 6 and Sept. 13.

The current cruise was a seven-night sailing that had left Vancouver on Friday. It was leaving Ketchikan — one of several ports of call scheduled before the cruise was to end in Seward — on Sunday only to return later that evening. The ship has been there since.

Coast Guard spokesman Kip Wadlow said the cruise company will need to file a sail plan that will allow it to move the ship for further repairs. Martinez said the ship will be repaired in the Bahamas.

The cruise line has said passengers on the current cruise would receive refunds of their cruise fares and chartered air travel home. It also said it was offering future cruise certificates for 100 percent of the fare paid for this cruise.

Passengers booked for the additional canceled sailings are to receive full refunds and certificates for a future cruise.

The cruise line was re-booking passengers on the current cruise who had purchased their air travel through the company, Martinez said. Those who made their own travel arrangements will need to make their own flight plans from the point of their charter flight destination, she said. The company will reimburse those guests for any change fees or change in fare price, Martinez said.

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