Celebrity Cancels Cruises Aboard Summit

Celebrity Cruises SummitCelebrity Cruises announced that it is canceling the April 8, 2017 cruise aboard the Celebrity Summit and is shortening the April 17, 2017 cruise from seven to only four days, passengers are reporting. Celebrity is offering a 25% cruise credit and $200 per person to go toward re-booking airfare. We received this message advising of the changes this past weekend:  

" . . . there are about 4000+ passengers who have just had their spring holiday ruined. Seems Celebrity Summit is having a problem achieving full cruising speed and is canceling cruises just two weeks out, with a horrible offer of compensation. The ship has had reduced ports & port times for a few weeks because it is hobbling along, all while Celebrity says "don't worry folks, no safety issues here." So now they have completely canceled the 7 days out of San Juan on 4/8/17 and reduced the 4/15/17 cruise for 7 days going out of San Juan to only 4 days. She looks to be going into dry dock for 10 days.

Imagine flying to San Juan for a 4 day cruise? The only air fare compensation is $200 per person which is ridiculous. You would think they would be working with each passenger to get them booked on another cruise for that week, but the passengers say that is not the case. They got an email saying you are canceled. Either completely or you are now on a mini cruise and we will refund you via on-board credit the prorated daily rate for your nice 7 day that is now a mini 4 day. Am not on this cruise personally but Cruise Critic has threads and each roll call does as well and it is apparent there are a lot of mad people. So if each person keeps their airfare and goes on this 4 day mini cruise they have to then get a hotel for 3 nights in San Juan for Easter week which is obscenely expensive. All these passengers are asking what to do....most do not seem to realize they have little to no rights..."

The Summit is apparently suffering from a reduction in its propulsion which has affected some of its prior cruises.

Passengers booked on these cruises are now expressing their natural frustration of having to try and find an alternative vacation at the last minute at high season when the hotel and airfare expenses are appreciably higher. Many people have asked us for advice whether this is "legal."  Unfortunately, the legislation which the cruise passenger's advocacy group was successful in passing is quite limited in scope and provides no legal recourse under these circumstances. There is, of course, nothing that benefits anyone other than the cruise line in the ticket issued to the passengers. 

As a practical matter, affected passengers probably will lose at least a minimum of $1,000 each in higher airfare and hotels expenses. Considering that there are several thousands of passengers affected, these new and unexpected expenses will probably total well over several millions of dollars.

It's fanciful to expect that the cruise industry, which is bent on maximizing profits, notwithstanding the tremendous profits that they are collecting, will offer more than the nominal cruise credit and the minimal $200-a-person airfare amount. 

The cruise lines will remind passengers that they should always consider purchasing insurance which applies to this type of occurrence.

Have a thought? Please leave a message below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

March 29, 2017 Update: Several readers brought to my attention that this is not the first time that the Summit has had to alter its itinerary because of propulsion problems. A seven day cruise to Alaska was canceled back in September of 2004 when Celebrity put the ship in dry-dock for repairs. Passengers booked on the canceled cruise received a full refund and a free future cruise. More recently, Celebrity delayed the start of its March 27th cruise on the Summit from San Juan due to problems with the ship's propulsion system, which forced the Summit to sail at reduced speeds. The ship had already been docked 3 days in Cozumel earlier in the month while repair efforts were attempted. 

Propulsion problems are relatively common in the cruise industry. Last year, nineteen cruise ships experienced propulsion issues which interrupted and delayed cruises. 

Today, the RCL Blog reported that the Anthem of the Seas is sailing at a reduced speed due to propulsion issues.

Photo credit: Wknight94 - CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

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Comments (26) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Ted - March 27, 2017 9:34 PM

This ship has a history of problems. In 2004 we had the same thing happen in Alaska. One of the azipods could only run about half speed. We didn't miss any ports but got into port late, sometimes as much as 6 hours. Since the cruise was in September, the days were not long and it really impacted our trip. The only compensation they offered then was 1 hour of free drinks! I've not considered giving them, or their parent company Royal Caribbean, any business since. Instead I am a 5 star Mariner with Holland America.

Brad - March 28, 2017 9:32 AM

I was just on the CC Celebrity page and while there were some that were disappointed at the outcome of a lost vacation, people seemed to be pretty positive. Had the cruise happened and other things went wrong, what would the complaints be then? Better to try and save the trip than to be stranded or complain about the fact that you missed a port that you really wanted to go to? Anything to complain for some people.

William - March 28, 2017 10:22 AM

Brad, I don't know what boards you're reading but their are furious people all over the place. I'm one of them. To salvage this vacation is going to cost me around $1,500. Celebrity is taking a hardliner stance compensation and is standing firm on it's terms and conditions. We've also been informed that because they're only shortening the cruise with a refund Travel Insurance is useless. This was going to be my first trip on Celebrity after being with Holland America and Norwegian for years. I will never use Celebrity again after this. It's easy to dismiss people missing a port but when individuals have worked for years to save up enough for a special vacation a loss like this can be devastating. Celebrity failed in it's duty of performing adequate asset maintenance on the ship. Now they're failing to provide positive customer service to help resolve it.

Robert Scoza - March 28, 2017 2:11 PM

My family had thirteen passengers booked on the April 8, 2017 sailing of the Summit. We booked this cruise on board last spring break to have all our children and grandchildren together to celebrate our retirements and our significant birthdays. We booked airfare 11 months ahead to get direct flights from the New York City area. We needed this cruise time frame to work with the grandchildren's and their parents school holiday. We needed to pay thousands of dollars more to reschedule flights at the higher rate during this holiday period and pay a 200 dollar change fee per ticket. We are going to sail on another cruise line departing from Miami on the same date. We are having severe anxiety over this nightmare. We have ten days until we are flying on three different connecting flights to make our new cruise out of Florida. Why didn't we cancel the whole vacation? How do you tell your 5 grandchildren who have been looking forward to their first cruise for a whole year that we are not going? We have cruise insurance from Celebrity but it does not cover the airline change fee and the higher airfare required during this holiday period. We will be praying everyone makes their plane connections and we are finally on vacation. So far our retirement plan and celebration is not going well. What else can we do? We are furious too. Celebrity has not even notified us personally about the cancellation. We WERE loyal customers!

Edward Dobson - March 28, 2017 6:04 PM

Six of our family were booked on this cruise. Three of our family are aging and this was to be a last "family" cruise. We were also celebrating my sister in law's recent retirement. This was going to be my first Celebrity experience after multiple cruises on Holland, Royal & Norwegian. The entire booking experience was a major hassle. What a crappy website. What an ordeal to even try to book flights! We will NEVER sail on Celebrity! We will tell all of our veteran traveling friends of this SNAFU.
One positive outcome. I plugged in Expedia to see if we could book something else. Sandy from Expedia's Phoenix center went over and above booking an alternative on Carnival. Not a Carnival fan, but what are you going to do?

Carolyn Copeland - March 28, 2017 11:05 PM

It's not that Celebrity cancelled two weeks out, but we immediately put a courtesy hold on a room on the Reflection and were told that we would have to pay again and wait for a refund and use the 25% next trip. That they could not treat everyone on an individual basis. Still waiting for our money back, while they have had it interest free for 6 months! The old saying goes, its not whether you win or lose its how you play the game! So not only did they lose our money by cancelling, but had no desire to book another cabin for us. Even when the customer does all the ground work. Seems like an unstable financial policy. With that being said not happy with the lack of flexibility and very poor judgement on how customers were treated.

Dave - March 28, 2017 11:36 PM

Thanks Celebrity for ruining the celebration of our 35th wedding anniversary. This was to be my first cruise but unfortunately we won't be taking it since we can't afford to be paying extra expenses during Easter Holiday for something that took us over a year to save for this adventure.
We were flying from the west coast for this cruise and it's not worth it to us to travel that distance for a 4 day cruise.

Marcos - March 29, 2017 12:37 AM

Im sorry to say but i just dont know why you continue to cruise with companies that do not follow the rules! Simple as that! If everyone took the same correction im pretty sure they would shape up the act! But Are you willing to sacrifice you well being for under-payed crew members? I didnt think so! So at the end it was your choice to cruise with a company with BS reputation so what do you expect! Information will only bring you benefits and make your holiday a more enjoyable experience.

ElGeorgeo - March 29, 2017 1:16 AM

File a small claims Lawsuit and allege FRAUD.

FRAUD voids a contract and then you can proceed on the merits of your claim.

They sold a cruise on a vessel that they had KNOWN was problematic!

Any good lawyer can get them to settle for more as FRAUD often has punitive damages.

REALLY WOULD MAKE AN AWESOME CLASS ACTION.

Yes, they have an anti-class action clause, FRAUD VOIDS THAT !!!

Sandy - March 29, 2017 1:00 PM

We too were affected by this cancellation and I am outraged with Celebrity's poor handling of this situation. 25 percent is consistent with what they have offered when cancelling a cruise 6 months from the date. To offer that paultry sum with 2 weeks notice during a holiday week is horrendous. Also, they wouldn't even speak to me about this cancellation because I booked through a travel agent. Really Celebrity? I've spent a lot of money with Celebrity and I am angry! What happened to the once great customer service Celebrity offered? They just don't care about existing customers!

Karen Sanderson - March 29, 2017 3:04 PM

I booked my cruise about 18 months ago. I am going the week of April 1, then was also booked for the 8th which we all know was canceled. To change my flight from The 15th to the 8th would of cost me over $1200 , and because flights are full travel time would have been 22hrs with 4 spot overs. So I decided to find a hotel in San Juan for about the same amount and try to enjoy the second week of my vacation. I am very disappointed with Celebrity and will not cruise with them again. I feel the least they could of done is not only refund us but offer us another cruise in the future. $200 towards flight change really does nothing.

assy mashta - March 29, 2017 9:03 PM

Me too are one of the furious passengers who supposed to be on the summit at April 8th.That cruise was supposed to be a retirement vecation with my wife. I had to make a reservation for another cruise from Miami instead and since my flight back home is from san juan I had to order anotber flight just to get the flight home. The hole thing cost me over 1000$ and a very long flight back home.

Girish Giriyappanavar - March 30, 2017 3:56 AM

Wish to have updates

Jason - March 30, 2017 2:23 PM

Also very disappointed.. Booked this cruise 14 months in advance, and we were really looking forward to it. I still have not received the official cancellation email, and if not for cruisecritic, I wouldn't have even known it was cancelled besides getting my deposit back yesterday (still waiting on refund).
I've had hours and hours of research on where we are going, and what to do. And now I have a more hours trying to get my money back. The hotel and plane ticket are nonrefundable. I am fighting to get that that back.
We tried to go other places, but by the time I found out it was cancelled everything was booked or super expensive due to the holiday week/less than 2 weeks before. Our hotel went from 300 a night to over 500 to extend our stay instead.. no thanks.

We decided to go to Vegas instead for a few days. But it's not the same. We are not happy at all. I have no idea how much money we lost and we did get insurance but that only cover the cruise I guess. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all. It's such a headache figuring everything out.

charlie - March 30, 2017 8:28 PM

Me and my wife were also booked on the summit for the cruise 4/8 to the 15th. We were lucky to find another cruise. We had booked a hotel room for 3 days in san juan before the cruise. The problem was getting a flight back to Miami, for the other cruise. Did that, but at the end of the cruise, we will be short on time, to catch our flight home from Fort Lauderdale. My biggest issue with the whole mess was, they didn't even say they were sorry to any of us.

Jason - March 31, 2017 9:31 AM

This cancellation also goes even farther for us. My wife wanted to keep our kids close in age, we have a 2 and 3 year old now. I talked her into waiting to have another kid until after this cruise. Now it is cancelled... We could have been trying months ago, or even had a baby by now. I'm sure I wont live this down.

Jerry - March 31, 2017 6:02 PM

Another very disappointed customer. I think Celebrity has shown their true colors. I will not book with them again.

Bernadette & Steve - March 31, 2017 10:23 PM

Steve & I had 2wonderful cruises on the Equinox. We & another couple went on the Equinox 2 two years in a row. I have been on 40+cruises when i was single . I have been on many of the other cruise lines. Over the years my personal favorite ship changed.

At this point in time, Celebrity had our votes being the BEST, even after their affiliation with Royal Caribbean.
We were disappointed to hear the Summit had pod issues. The cruise line SHOULD TAKE the Summit out of service and TOTALLY REPAIR!!! THE PROBLEM. AND THEN
THEY SHOULD FIRE THE GENIUS WHO THOUGHT OF THIS UNDER HANDED PLAN.

while I was on the phone with the cancellation representative ,I inquired about another ship (b/c I am not able to change my vacation). I was told that there was another ship sailing from Florida. well o.k. She then told me there was only one cabin left due to EASTER.WELL OK. BUT IT IS A HIGHER CATEGORY ROOM SO WE WOULD BE EXPECTED TO PAY MORE$$$.THANKS BUT THEY LEFT US NO OTHER CHOICE .WE CANCELLED!!!
LET ME RECAP: THIS CRUISE LINE HAS A: BROKEN SHIP!

THIS CRUISE LINE IS CANCELLING A PAID IN FULL CRUISE.
THIS CRUISE LINE HAS AN EMPTY CABIN ON SISTER SHIP.
THIS CRUISE LINE HAD 2 PASSENGERS WILLING TO CHANGE THEIR PLANS
AND TAKE AN ALTERNATE SHIP AND ITINERARY.
THIS CRUISE LINE WANTED THESE PASSENGERS TO PAY???
THIS CRUISE LINE NEEDS TO RE WRITE THEIR HOSPITALITY POLICY.
we will certainly cruise again. but i am not sure that it will be WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN/CELEBRITY CRUISES.
Thanks we will take a road trip for a fraction of the price of our cruise.
We have some great memories of our old cruising days. When passengers/customers
were appreciated>

Danelle - April 1, 2017 8:12 AM

The reason you don't see many complaints on the direct website is because Celebrity has hid a lot of angry peoples comments including mine which said: I am so frustrated I cannot even tell you how upset I am with Celebrity. I have taken 3 cruises with them one was booked in September to Europe and they cancelled that one because ship was being sent elsewhere so I booked it with NCL. Was frustrated about that cruise but I was able to rebook through NCL because bill had not been paid in full and I had an upcoming cruise booked to the Caribbean leaving April 15th. I booked both these cruises way back in 2014 through RCI. I was notified about the European cruise November 2016 being cancelled and sent elsewhere and I was just informed TODAY that they are docking the ship for repairs and cutting our cruise short. Which I can understand. I don't want to be on a sinking ship so I am fine with them giving me alternative options. However the options they gave me were as follows: either we will refund you 3 days of your cruise and give you credits for 1 day to go towards excursions. Which I had already booked and paid for! Well gee thanks since I won't be on the ship those days because you decided to cut it short for repairs so that is NO discount to me because you would legally have to refund day's that I paid for and did not get to travel and your can take a shorter vacation. Um no thank you, my husband took off those days so we could be traveling on the ship. OR. now this is just too much, we can go in November during HURRICANE SEASON! According to Google. Yeah won't that be fun! Let's take a cruise then! NOT HAPPENING! Or I can pay over $1500 more per person to book it for the same cruise next year. Same exact ports except a lot more money because I have to pay 2018 prices for a cruise which was originally booked in 2014! You would think that this is something beyond my control that they would allow me to have my 7 day cruise I paid for next year. Same exact cruise! I will never go on Celebrity again! And word of mouth is going to lose you more money then the amount of money you could have eaten because you screwed up our vacation. Thanks a lot Celebrity Cruises!

Shirley - April 4, 2017 10:11 AM

I think the most shocking thing that I will remember about the cancelation phone call was "Rachell" telling us to " have a nice day" at the end of the bad news!
I must have replayed that message 5 times to make sure I understood what was going on.
Never using Celebrity cruises again !!!!!

L jacks - April 4, 2017 10:44 AM

I was on the 3/27 er 3/28 cruise. They took a hard line. Their 'compensation' essentially covered my hotel cost and meals for the night I missed on the cruise and flew in to SJU on 3/27 but when I called when I returned they said corporate said that's it since a large number of people were involved that's it. It's hardball and I don't think a chargeback would do any good since the refunded the night misssed.

Abe Kestenbaum - April 4, 2017 9:34 PM

I just found out today that my cruise on the Celebrity Summit for the April 8th cruise was cancelled due to electrical problems. Thanks again Celebrity for giving me just a 3 day notice. My family and I have sailed on at least 20 plus cruises with Celebrity. I am TOTALLY disappointed how they let customers know the last minute about the cancellation especially during a holiday. It is costing me well over a 1000.00 more to find an alternative vacation. Celebrity always boast that they are the #1 passenger cruise line. NOT ANY MORE in my books!!!

Jose - April 7, 2017 6:02 AM

They ARE NOT providing a full refund, they are keeping port fees and taxes. My refund came in $310.00 short!

Michelle Forsgren - April 7, 2017 12:53 PM

My husband and I were also booked on the sailing leaving April 15th. I for one would never sail on a ship that "may" be ready to take off days later than scheduled. We were in shock, sad, and upset but luckily re-booked another cruise with Norwegian out of Miami on their Escape. It is only 2 yrs old and looks AMAZING. My frustrations have been washed away and I feel this is a learning lesson to not travel on an older ship.

Mike Cohen - April 12, 2017 9:01 AM

I am not satisfied with the compensation offer for the shortened cruise of the Celebrity Summit for the week of 4/15. I had to book a room in San Juan for 3 nights and will have to spend an additional $1300. My wife and I have been sailing with Celebrity Cruises since 1999 and this is the first time we have encountered any problems with Celebrity. we booked a back to back, so hopefully the second week will be o.k. and we arrive back in Port Liberty,N.J. on time . The Edge class of ships are obviously needed to replace the aging fleet that Celebrity is currently using.

Jones, D - April 20, 2017 4:36 PM

My husband and I booked the Celebrity Summit repositioning cruise for April 22nd - booked a year ago. We asked at the time of booking if a passport was necessary. The answer was no. We turned the booking over to our travel agent. In January of 2017 I became concerned with the new president making changes to the state office and so my husband called Celebrity again and was reassured there was no need for a passport. This past Sunday we tried to do the online check-in and could not proceed without a passport. Again we were reassured by Celebrity that we could board the ship in San Juan without a passport . I've since learned that you do indeed need a passport for what is called an open loop cruise; you can pay a company a fee if $500+ per person to obtain an expedited passport; as of today Celebrity still maintains that we should fly to San Juan and board the ship; the USState Department advised me that we DID need passports; after three days of phone calls the best we could get from Celebrity is that we should have read our cruise documents - which after a lengthy argument it was determined that they were emailed to 'us' though we do not have record of any emails. We lose our cruise because we failed to have proper documentation. Yet, if you call and ask, they will tell you that you do not need a passport!! One representative suggested we go ahead and fly to San Juan so we at least don't lose our air fair...though she does not understand that we only had one-way tickets because the ship was bringing us back to New Jersey. Not to mention having no place to stay!! Shame on us for taking the booking agent's and Captains Club agent's words for it and not knowing enough to have to check with the USState Department..I mean, doesn't everyone know better?!? And shame on us for not reading the documents we didn't receive. And tuff luck for losing our cruise, our airfair costing us a fee for later use, our inability to just make an adventure out of just winging it and flying to San Juan for the thrill of it. Even our travel agent called and was told you do not need a passport in spite of this being an open loop cruise. I've sailed 17 times with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean and I am finished. I've brought them 14 new passengers but never again!! I'm no longer Loyal to Royal. We were treated terribly after our cruise on the Anthem through a hurricane...that should have been the end with RCI.

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