Passengers aboard the Millennium bid adieu to Ketchikan Sunday afternoon. Or, they thought they did.
Trouble with one of the ship’s two propulsion units sent the 965-foot cruise ship back to Ketchikan Sunday evening, so the 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members have another chance to experience Ketchikan.
Patty Rund and Rachel Pritchard, both from Minnesota, are two of those passengers, and gave a brief account of the trip out, and the trip back.
Rund said, “We started out, and then all of a sudden, they gave us the announcement.”
Then Pritchard elaborated: “We heard the ding-ding-ding-ding that we never heard before. Then … the head guy announced … that we were underpowered and that we could keep moving forward, but at a very slow pace, and therefore, he did not want to do that and made the decision to come back here.”
According to an emailed statement – the only communication that Celebrity Cruise Lines was offering to media – the ship was still able to sail, but the captain wanted to be cautious and make sure everyone on board remained safe.
The Millennium had been on its way to Icy Strait, but that part of the itinerary has been cancelled.
Rund and Pritchard, who are on their first trip to Alaska, say that passengers have been kept well informed, and they agree with the decision to return to port.
It was pretty rainy for their official stop in Ketchikan, so the two were taking advantage of better weather to do some shopping during this unofficial return visit.
“We’re going to go look at some jewelry that she should’ve bought yesterday,” Pritchard said.
Monday was a four-cruise-ship day for Ketchikan before the Millennium was added to the mix, so all four berths were taken, and a fifth cruise ship had to anchor out in the Tongass Narrows until one of the other ships left.
The Millennium had similar propulsion problems earlier this month, and was stuck in Seward for three days for repairs. The ship had to cancel its next sailing, and passengers on that voyage received refunds and credit toward a future cruise.
In the emailed statement, Cynthia Martinez, Celebrity’s Director of Global Corporate Communications, writes that the engineers and consultants have not been able to resolve the issue, and the ship will remain in Ketchikan at least overnight. That means it will cancel its scheduled stop in Juneau.
The Millennium left Vancouver, British Columbia, on Friday and was supposed to stop in Juneau and Skagway before ending the cruise in Seward on Aug. 23.