Celebrity Constellation Suffers Engine Problems in Key West

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein's web site indicates that the Constellation cruise ship was forced to spend an extra day in Key West.

Professor Klein reported yesterday about a passenger's complaint that the "Constellation scheduled to leave Key West yesterday, Dec. 15 @ 5pm. Repair needed and waiting on part(s). At 8:05am, December 16, still no evidence of upcoming departure. Scheduled to be 'at sea' day on the way to Cozumel."

The repairs were needed after the Celebrity cruise ship experienced engine problems.

Cruise line spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said that the Constellation had "technical issues" with one of its gas turbine engines during its departure from Key West on Sunday afternoon.

The Key West Citizen indicated that the ship's departure was delayed until 10 p.m. Monday while crews made repairs. The ship carries more than 2,160 passengers.

The newspaper explained that because of the mechanical delay, and the time and speed needed, Constellation was unable to make its scheduled port of call into Cozumel, Mexico, on Tuesday. Instead, it will call on Nassau, Bahamas, on Wednesday. 

The Key West newspaper characterized the Celebrity Constellation as an aging member of the Celebrity fleet. It made its initial cruise in May 2002.

Celebrity Constellation Cruise Ship

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Megadri

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Comments (26) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Another maintenance issue? - December 17, 2013 6:06 PM

Another maintenance issue? Would be curious to know if this was caused by delayed maintenance, lack of maintenance, or lack of funds for needed parts? Would also be curious to know if passengers receive any type of compensation for change in itinerary. I would be upset if I paid to go to Cozumel and ended up in the arm pit of the caribbean, Nassau. Not to mention, Nassau now has a reputation of being extremely unsafe.

Gail Nash - December 18, 2013 11:41 AM

I was on the 5-day cruise before this mechanical breakdown cruise, and it was wonderful. Everything was perfect. The Millenium class ships in the Celebrity fleet, however, seem to have serious engine issues. I do not know if it is a design flaw or just bad luck, but my friends were scheduled on the Millenium to Alaska this past September with what could have been the same problem. Their cruise was cancelled two weeks prior to departure. So sad.

Tbone 32951 - December 19, 2013 5:30 PM

I was on this cruise. We were not offered any compensation. On our 25th Wedding Anniversary and planned to meet up with friends in Cozumel. Had never been to Nassau, and it was an armpit. Other than engine problems, everything was fine within the ship. Two days in Key West is about 1-1/2 too many, unless you want to drink yourself into a coma.

Of course they indicated that it was necessary "for our safety", but it is a mechanical/maintenance problem not a weather-related issue. Rumors on the ship was they knew of the issue while in Europe and decided to wait till ship was in US to fix. No easy way to substantiate unless a crew member confirmed.

Meredith - December 19, 2013 6:16 PM

I was just traveling on the constellation during this incident! We stayed up and watched the turbine be delivered by an 18-wheeler at 4:30 am early Monday morning! I took pictures because it was huge! We also did not leave until Tuesday around 8am! And trust me no one was happy with the Bahamas over cozumel! I would not pay half of what I did or drive 12 hours to go to the bahamas! Other people had plans and family waiting in cozumel for them to get married while others were celebrating honeymoons and birthdays! We got NOTHING as an inconvenience most people at least expected a credit towards a future cruise!

Debbie - December 19, 2013 7:51 PM

I was also on this sailing, and was extremely disappointed in our itinerary change. Spending 2 nights on a dock in Key West was not what we signed up and paid for, nor was a stop in Nassau. In Key West, the ship had to be relocated to the Navy pier where we had to be tendered by lifeboats, as we were unable to simply walk on and off the ship at this pier. However, we were all grateful that the troubles did not occur at sea and that the ship was still functional and comfortable during the time we were docked. The captain made a ship wide announcement at 9pm on Monday, indicating we would be leaving soon and there would be some select free drinks available at the pool deck for one hour at 10:30. I did not make it to the pool deck for this event so I can't speak first hand about it, but we did not sail away until dawn the next morning. Although we did not endure major hardship during this cruise, we did not experience the cruise we paid for. I feel that there should have been some compensation to the passengers on this cruise, at least a credit towards a future to show a gesture of good faith to keep us loyal to the Celebrity brand.

Room 6035 - December 20, 2013 12:03 AM

Don't Sail Celebrity! They Do NOT Care About Their Customers. On This Past Cruise As Well. Broken Down In Key West And Substituted With The Garbage Hoarding City On Nassua. Good Bye Celebrity, Never Again...Thx Again For Our Memorable HoneyMoon.

stumpf - December 20, 2013 4:44 PM

We were on this cruise as well, it was the worst customer service experience we ever had. On top of the mechanic failure and the forced added 38 hrs. dock time in Key West plus the horrible port of Nassau, instead of a Western Caribbean cruise and Cozumel, the staff, executive office and crew did not care. The ship was dirty, nobody has manners and nothing was offered as compensation, on top of all Celebrity tried to make money out of this by selling added shore excursions. When calling the Customer care line of Celebrity the snappy agent informed me" that I got a cruise"- no I actually did not-I got docked 2 days in a naval dock and then shipped to the horrible port of Nassau including 10,000 more guests from 6 mega ships that came the same day. Not what I booked or signed up for. Celebrity wasted my time and my money , and does not care or offer anything so far!!!!! My travel agent told me to write to the Office of the president at Celebrity and list all incidents minute by minute, as she was horrified to hear about the neglect and treatment. I suggest all of you do the same!
PS: Crew told us that the prior cruise was with over 250 guest from Celebrity HQ and they were happy that nothing had happened on this cruise. Plus this has happened before and that guest had been as well kept in the " dark / uninformed" as we had been, told just info when really pressed and then send home with nothing. This is very bad customer service and really needs to be stopped. the cruise lines make money with docking us and not fulfilling their contracts of transportation, but never give money back- what's next a cruise on a dock in port everglades.?

Celestino - December 20, 2013 4:54 PM

Cruise from Hell!-The biggest and most pressing item for this post is the issue that the Celebrity Constellation broke down with a mechanical failure of one of the turbines on the second day of the voyage in the port of Key West on 12-15-2013. At the scheduled departure time of 5 PM, we were informed that a part had been brought in and the mechanics will be installing the part and the ship will sail by midnight (same day) to its next destination Cozumel- the highlight of our booked cruise to the WESTERN CARRIBEAN.
As the cruise director put it in his announcement,” the captain will put the pedal to the medal” and get us to Cozumel, Mexico, in time for the scheduled day on 12-17-2013.The stop in Cozumel was the reason we booked this cruise, as we have friends to meet in the port and the Mayan experience is a highlight for this itinerary, and the port was the ONLY!!!! reason we choose this cruise, and booked this way in advance, months before the scheduled departure.

The ship was moved in Key West for the repairs to the naval dock, which resulted in tendering guest to shore.
The lame excuse of the ship’s responsible staff was that they tried to sell this as a benefit “We give you added time to explore Key West”- how lame is this- the ship broke down and you needed time to fix it, so do not sell this as an advantage to passengers.
Nevertheless, on the next morning (12-16-2013), the day we were supposed to be at Sea and on the way to Cozumel, the ship was still docked, at the naval pier, in Key West, and after pressuring guest services (which had no real answer), the announcement came by 11 AM that the ship was still broken and would stay an added day in Key West to do the necessary, extended repairs. No compensation offered and any other compensation such as free tours or else, in contrary the staff tried to sell more excursions!. I was pretty appalled that the Cruise line tried to get more money out of guests instead of “calming the waves’ by offering for example a free conch train ticket to all guests to explore more. The first opportunity to show guest care and service past by and was missed by staff and cruise line.
We were as well informed that due to that fact the planned sea day (12-16-2013) plus the port of call, Cozumel, had been scrapped and the ship would sail in the evening of 12-16-2013 by 10 PM direction Nassau, Bahamas for a day at NAS on 12-18-2013., and then directly from there return to Fort Lauderdale to be in FLL of the AM on the 12-19-2013.
The whole change, which came upon the ships break down due to a mechanical issue, was sold to guest as an advantage by the staff members of the “striped “circle.( Captain and Cruise Director)- nobody ever apologized.
No info on any compensation or else was given. Before I expect a compensation from Celebrity for the a minimum of 50 % of my paid rate /price of my cruise including , taxes, and port charges, as I did not get to the port I had booked and my vacation was totally ruined, due to the fact that the mechanical failure of the Constellation ruined my vacation, did not bring me to the port of call, which is sold as the highlight of the cruise, and kept me over 38 hrs. waiting for repairs in a navy pier location. I do not consider being docked for over 38 hrs. in addition to the regular stop in Key West as cruising, it is docking due to repair and does not warrant CRUISE EXPERIENCE.
Frankly if I wanted to go to Nassau, I can take the ferry from Fort Lauderdale, and do not book a cruise.
The cruise I picked was for the itinerary to Cozumel and the 2 promised sea days for relaxation; - a day plus added hrs. (total of 38 hrs. wasted time) sitting at a naval dock in Key West, waiting for updated information, is not a relaxation day in my opinion, nor is the port of Nassau a replacement for the Mayan highlights of Cozumel.
In addition the ship still did not leave until around 7.25 AM in the morning of the 12-17-2013, meaning repairs kept the Constellation in the port of Key West at a naval dock, for 38 hrs. of my cruise time.
By calling the ships guest services at 7 AM on the morning of 12-17-2013 and talking to Jake, and inquiring about departure and location- the answer I got was” I believe we are still in Key West and we do not know anything further”- Really?- they believe they are in Key West? The policy to keep guest in the dark and keep them guessing (or filling them up with free drinks during a so called Beach Party at the pool deck, which the foolish cruise director sold as a “surprise” and consolation, as if the ship never has a planned Beach party???? ) may work with some, but frankly I am insulted by Celebrity that they think I am that stupid.The ship finally sailed out of Key West by approx. 7.20 AM in the AM of 12-17-2013, the board TV info given for Nassau showed estimated time of arrival” Wednesday”- so it seems that the time is still uncertain. I went to guest service to inquire in person, and again the same answer- “All we know I that the ship SHOULD be in Nassau at 8 AM on Wednesday- we have not gotten any other update”.
The ship docked in Nassau (with another 5 large vessels/ and an estimated total of 10,000 cruise ship passengers) at 8 AM after “cruising, or as the guest relation put it” circling like an aircraft” for 24 hrs. the Florida Straits.
I like to mention that we booked a “Western Caribbean Cruise- the emphasis is on Western Caribbean and Mexico; I did not book a shopping excursion to Nassau, which is
a) The Bahamas, not even close to Caribbean, and
b) Dirty and there is NOTHING to see!!!!!!!.
This was a waste of my hard earned money and my time, as I did not get anything that was promised my by Celebrity cruises. I do not consider a 38hr. mandated stop due to a turbine failure in Key West an enhancement, as the cruise director tried to sell it. I was deprived of anything I had booked this cruise for, Caribbean Sea days and the stop in Cozumel with excursion to Mayan ruins, Caribbean beaches and recreation.
I would never in my life book a cruise to the Bahamas, it was awful when I visited 10 years ago and it has not become any better- especially when 10,000 people at the same time walk on Bay Street. Again this was a waste by Celebrity of my money and my precious vacation time. I have very little time to relax and this aggravating experience is the worst travel experience I ever had. In addition a lot of the staff were untrained or did not care- I had to pick up drinks myself and clear tables ( SUNSET BAR) to sit down. Overall Horrible- celebrity needs to man up and compensate for this disaster..

fiona - December 20, 2013 5:01 PM

Bad customer service, and very disappointing cruise, or non cruise. We have been sitting for over 2 days in Key West for repairs with hrdly any information on the repairs etc. and no cruising to Cozumel and the Caribbean. No compensation offered. It got worst in Nassau, the replacement port- what a dirty town, and the people are nasty. No to compare with mexico and their nice people and clean beaches. The officers of the ship evaded any information or point blank lied about the situation- the staff did not care or go the extra mile, it became obvious that the staff was not happy as they are uncaring and ignore guests to the most part. Some areas / staff treats guts as nuisance= Guest relations. never again- celebrity better comes up with some sort of compensation , as I see we are not the only ones very disappointed and angry

CJ - December 20, 2013 5:31 PM

I too was sailing on this ship. I fully agree on all comments ago but have the need to add that the officers on this vessel were extremely inadequate for their positions. At the beginning of the saga they were hiding and later on avoided any kind of eye contact with the passenger (yes, the same people who make possible their weekly paychecks), but then again this seems to be some kind of Celebrity policy since all the staff at the Sunset bar and pool deck behaved the same way.
The only reason we were taken to the worst port of call in the world (which they made it sound as we were going to St. Tropez) was so that they would abide to the passenger bill of rights by not cutting the cruise short and therefore not be obligated to give out any kind of compensation.
How sad that a Cruise Liner who claims to strive to be at the same level as Cunard treats their customers worst than the Pepsi of cruises Carnival.

Dominika - December 21, 2013 7:06 AM

Celebrity Cruise lines are one of the best, the vessels sail thousand of miles, the crew members work hard to keep every single passenger on board happy and safe. Its understandable that passengers can be unsatisfied, but this things happen and there is no reason to huff and puff about it.

Dan - December 21, 2013 1:29 PM

I was on this cruse, and agree with all of the comments about Celbrity ruining this cruise and doing NOTHING to compensate customers. I was generally pleased with the Constellation, but sitting at a dock for over two days in Key West and then substituting Nassau for Cozumel was not at all what we signed up for on this cruise. The attempts by the ship's officers to hide the actual situation and give misleading departure times was pathetic. Given the Jones Act, we didn't even have the option to disembark the ship and drive home (we live in Florida). Celebrity's private island in the Bahamas would have been a much better choice than (crappy) Nassau.

cj - December 22, 2013 10:42 AM

Yes, things happen, even more so when Celebrity Cruises performs inadequate maintenance of it's ships. Are you aware that Celebrity has sued the turbine manufacturer? If they were so keen on safety they should stop running their fleet until all problems are resolved. I wonder if the top honchos would tolerate this fiasco on any other services provided to them. This is a recurring problem with their ships and shame on them for not taking care of them. If the crew is so keen on service why then lie and mislead their customer and find pathetic resolutions such as sending us to the armpit of ports so as to not give any kind of compensation

Andy Smithers - December 22, 2013 11:27 AM

We just saw the Connie yesterday in Nassau on the 20th. Think they abbreviated their stay there is my bet. She left port before all the other ships that day.

Yikes - December 22, 2013 2:29 PM

Gail, you were very fortunate to take the trip when you did, you see, you were in the company of some of the top executives of Celebrity Cruises and believe me, if this fiasco would have happened during your trip, a private corporate jet would have taken all of the BIG WIGS back to Miami rather than making them spend all that time in Key West and God forbid spend a day in horrible Nassau.
Also, this explains the great service you received since the staff feared getting fired if they gave the same type service offered to paying guests who fill the pockets of the Celebrity executives.

Adam C - December 22, 2013 4:00 PM

If you did not receive the product or service you paid for simply call your credit card company and ask them to begin a charge-back. It will take up to two months but you will probably get your money back. I deal with these, on the business end, 2-3 times a year. This is a built-in feature for all credit cards. Amex is the most aggressive in defense of their cardholders, debit cards don't have this service. I hope you all have better vacations next time. Cruise ships sailing the Caribbean dump sewage and garbage info the ocean, so I avoid them all together.

Debbie - December 22, 2013 9:04 PM

"Cruise line spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said that the Constellation had "technical issues" with one of its gas turbine engines during its departure from Key West on Sunday afternoon."

Something does not add up here. If the problem was discovered during departure as quoted above, it is quite impressive that a huge engine part was ordered, conveniently in stock and delivered to Key West all within 12 hours. It would be interesting to find out when the part was actually ordered and to see the photo of the part that Meredith (above) took at 4:30am.

Just curious, as we had 38 hours in Key West to wonder about this, since we received little, if any, accurate information while on board. And I am still not convinced we have the whole story. Any thoughts?

stumpf - December 23, 2013 9:22 AM

Debbie,check out the YouTube video a guest took.- if the link does not work just google: you tube constellation engine Key west. The part is huge and I was wondering the same as well. My hunch is they ( celebrity) knew, and planned this all along , we were the last cruise before the heavy duty x mas season , so we got " sacrificied". PS- I posted the link of the video on the Celebrity web- and guess what it was deleted asap- they do not want to have this get out.
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=celebrity+constellation+key+west+engine+failure++you+tube+&FORM=VIRE6#view=detail&mid=80FC5B275332E04E7AA380FC5B275332E04E7AA3

oneofthesheep - December 23, 2013 3:33 PM

I just got off with a guest relations manager at Celebrity,according to Celebrity the cruise was a success,she told me how many positive responses they had received about what a wonderful job Celebrity had done to handle the situation,when asked about any form of compensation she directed me to the on deck party were we were offered a 'limited selection of drinks" for a one hour period (at 10:30 pm) and also mentioned that I did not pay a lot for my cruise so any compensation they would offer would be insulting. I replied "try me" the line went silent.She also mentioned she had been to Cozumel and it was not anything too exciting.After cruising on Celebrity for many years I am saddened to see how fall they have fallen and would not take a chance on any future cruises.

Richard - December 25, 2013 11:37 AM

I too was aboard that sailing, and yes the staff was I am certain told not to supply information as to the details of the engine failure. I asked many, many, officers on the ship for details and the reposes that I received were all canned responses,and denial of any knowledge. They told me what parts of the ship they were assigned and supervised, but declined to answer any questions as to what they knew, what they heard or even refused to speculate on. It was very apparent that they were ordered to say nothing at all.

The constellation has four engines, it can function well on two. When we left Fort Lauderdale, I strongly believe that the failed engine was known to have failed well before we departed. It seems aparent to me that this is so for several reasons.
Fact: The Constellation has everything on board to change out an entire engine if need be.
Fact: They did not have a spare engine on board. They needed to truck an entire engine to a port suitable to work on there ship.
Fact: Fort Lauderdale pier was not suitable to make this change, but the Navy peer at Key West was available and highly suitable. If something went wrong with the new engine, fire fighting equipment was right there, no press and no lawyers, limited negative press and limited liability.
Fact: The constellation had limited time in Fort Lauderdale as another ship was coming in.
Fact: Key West was far more desirable, absence of press, lawyers, photograghers, newsmen. No news anchors there, it's a Naval facility.
Fact: The Navy pier, in Key West, was available and not in use with all its ships out at sea. Every emergency piece of equipment was available there and ready if needed.

As for Cozumel, they do owe us something. You booked this ship for cozumel certainly not Nassau, that was your contract to you from them. They do have the right to change the terms of the agreement, but you have the right to bring suite for your damages. Is it worth it?
Only you can decide.

Rick

stumpf - December 25, 2013 1:10 PM

As part of the problem ridden "Millennium class", with constant failures of mermaid pod engine/ turbine system, the Constellation is falling in the same category as sister ships Infinity and Millennium. Celebrity Cruises received from the maker of these engines( RR )a multi mullion dollar payout after a lawsuit that dragged along for years.
The passenger of the stranded Celebrity Millennium ship( in Seward Alaska) in August 2013 received for a 4 day repair in-port on a stranded ship , and canx ports subsequently to make up the time a full refund of their cruise plus 25 % voucher towards a new cruise, plus flight compensation. So that will make our compensation for 2 days repair and 1 missed port equal to 50% messed up cruise, a 50% refund plus a voucher against another cruise.
Dispute the charges with your credit card company , and have web print outs and a claim ready. The whole case is again one of these " lets hide behind a cruise contract" methods of the cruise lines, which really starts to be a slap in any trusting passengers face. While the cruise lines and their CEOs make millions, the cruise lines deprive the guests of their expected and paid with hard earned money vacation experience , and just laugh in their face. This story needs to be picked up by media, CNN and other, not only to get all the unhappy passengers of this cruise their compensation, but as well to avoid these issues in the future. celebrity needs to stand up to their mistake/ mechanical problem, compensate , and fix these ships, or pull them out of service.

Jc - December 28, 2013 11:24 AM

We took this cruise on good faith that we would be taking a cruise to Mexico .Not the Bahamas .we were stuck in key west like prisoners for 40 hours in a navy ship yard.This is a disgrace and a cover up by celebrity cruise line practice of main trance problems?To act like they did nothing wrong and praise there crew who are being paid to provide us with a safe ship is a disgrace.Points noted we paid to got to cozumel not nassua and we never got there we called them celebrity headquarters asked what they were planning to do on compensation there reply we are not doing anything.To work off the legal fact that they did not cut there trip short what a unprofessional approach .Its all dollars to them they could care less about us and offer us free drinks as compensation for 1hour is a disgrace shame on you all at there headquarters.please all dispute this with your credit card company and let the people speak

Debbie - February 17, 2014 8:27 AM

I just received word from my credit card dispute on American Express, denying the charge back. I was told to contact Celebrity's customer service for further assistance. What a joke, had I been able to receive any response from Celebrity in the first place I wouldn't have had to dispute the charges. Getting the royal run around, and each time they stand behind a self serving cruise contract. This is a disgrace. A shame that such a wonderful company like celebrity had to pull this stunt and not only ruin our vacations, but lose a ship load of loyal customers forever. I always understand that problems do happen, but it is how one handles it that defines them. Apparently, Celebrity did not get enough bad press and consumer complaints to make it worth their while to compensate a few thousand of us for this. Shame on you, Celebrity!

The Rowdys - March 28, 2014 3:36 PM

we were on this cruise as well... and yes! some sort of incentive to get us to try the trip again would have been deeply appreciated! the free poolside bbq with punch (for an hour) was a slap in the face! we paid $310 each for premium beverage pkg...free punch? the only thing that did was burden already overworked wait staff and servers!

if it had been my husband and myself missing port-no big deal! but a high school graduation gift of a 1st cruise to a dream location for our son? I'm sorry but a limited excursion list in Nassau hardly makes up for missing a once-in-a-lifetime Mayan excursion that he had dreamed about his entire HS years!

I know that not all points are the same BUT Carnival just prorated their cruises that were held due to oil leak (TOTALLY not cruise line's fault! I understand that is something NOT in line's control) AND gave them a 25% off a future cruise BEFORE they even set sail! since when does Carnival have better customer service than Celebrity!?

ps: at what point is a cruise line responsible to admit, that a ship needs some mechanical work done... lets not promise her service until we know she is 100% ready for the sea!? pps: since the cruise in question, Connie lost power for 90 minutes in February...what else is going on with her?

George Bauslaugh - March 29, 2014 4:03 PM

I am having a discussion on the Cruise Critic website on this topic. There are many posters, who seem to believe that this incident was trivial. Perhaps some of the posters here could describe your experiences on the Connie December 16th cruise, on my thread on Cruise Critic. Where is my Constellation Refund???

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2015467

Richie - March 29, 2014 4:39 PM

Will all you whiners please GET OVER IT? Credit card company does not allow charge back? Perhaps they agree that you are looking for a windfall & are just trying be a deadbeat!!

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