Xpedition not ready after Drydock!

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#1
Acworth, GA
1,080 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
I posted this on the Xped rollcall as well...but for those who do not frequent that board I thought this may be of interest:

We just returned from the 9/30 sailing, and are happy to report the B itinerary was wonderful. The lava fields at Sullivan Bay and the tour of the bird nesting grounds at North Seymour were breathtaking. Snorkeling beneath Pinnacle Rock was among the best I have experienced. Our guides, especially William Cox and Fatima Fernandez were outstanding.

I can answer any last minute questions as the experience is very fresh, but I must first address the revolt that occured among the passengers soon after boarding.

As many of you know, the 9/30 sailing was Xpedition's first after what had been scheduled to be a 15 day dry dock in Panama, during which deck 6 would be reconfigured with 4 suites and a new fitness center. We later learned from the California man assigned to head the project, the dry dock took place in Cartegena. That cost 5 days of transit (with 100 men per day assigned the work...it's close to 5,000 man hours)

Result: We arrived to find deck six CLOSED!!! No hot tub, no spa, no fitness area. The Blue Finch Bar on Deck 5 was also closed, used instead as the initial storage for snorkel gear which would normally be on deck 6. The Beagle Grill on 4 was also closed! We were also told there would be no bridge tours...as the noise from the contruction one deck up was off-putting. I have my own theories about the bridge tours, which I will share later.

The loss of deck 6 also meant the loss of its public space, including a public restroom, and an interior staircase.

Having heard a chorus of discontent, the hotel director did manage to get at least the hot tub open by Wednesday, altough it was surrounded by construction workers, construction noise...and construction debris.

While all these areas were closed initially, we did find something we didn't expect: Sawdust EVERYWHERE. The ship was filthy. Dust in our drawers, sticky construction adhesive on our window sill, and new carpet so new it produced fuzz balls with everystep.

Beagle finally opened for a lobster lunch Wednesday, then for burgers the rest of the cruise. Blue Finch never opened, nor did the fitness center. It isn't open as I type this either. It was torn to shreads Sunday morning only hours before Itinerary A was to board.

It was clear early on the ship would not be ready, yet X did nothing to communicate to its 1st post-drydock passengers what they would experience, and how the cruiseline planned to accomodate them.

One of the most glaring errors on X's part involves the ship's captain. He appeared the first night at the welcome toast, and offered no apology, no explantion, no nothing. HE WAS NEVER SEEN AGAIN!!! He even skipped the farewell toast, leaving it to the hotel director and Pricilla the chief purser to deal with the guests and their complaints. It was insulting.

As we are elite with X, we had to ask for, and were granted, free laundry to make up for the massage we were denied due to the lack of a spa.

Some of us got letters signed by Xpedition vice president Bill Ramos apologizing for the ship and promising contact from the cruiseline. I'm sure they will offer something. I'll post what it is.

They ship may be fully operational by the 10/14 sailing. Let's hope so.

Luckily, Galapagos is not about the ship, it's about the place. And the place is wonderful!
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Jim & Marie
#2
Long Island, NY
3,407 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
Wow, sorry you had to experience this. For the dollars spent on this itinerary, one would expect that all ships's facilities would be open & functioning. Most Galapagos experiences are once in a lifetime, & to have it ruined like that must be terribly disappointing. I'm happy that you seemed to have made the best of an awful situation, & hope that Celebrity does something really special to compensate all for their inconvenience, but short of a refund, I can't imagine what they could do.
Please let us know the final results.
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Rich
#3
Lower Mainland,BC canada
2,792 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
a somewhat similar ''experience'' to that suffered by the guests on Azamara's initial sailing back in '07 ( or was it 08 ?). A case of a ship woefully unready for public voyage.
I've heard of the all too familiar stories of drydocks always planned 3-4 days shorter than what's really needed, stuff simply not totally ready on first post-drydock sailing, lines trying to queeze corners to save $$$ ( a very natural course of action), ship being turned into veritable construction zones for the post drydock sailing (and often times the last pre-drydock cruise...), etc.etc....
But this scenario with Xpedition is a case of a ''ship gone too far'' ( no pun intented....)
Cheers
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Claude G.

#4
1,065 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by marieps

One of the most glaring errors on X's part involves the ship's captain. He appeared the first night at the welcome toast, and offered no apology, no explantion, no nothing. HE WAS NEVER SEEN AGAIN!!! He even skipped the farewell toast,
How things change.

When we were on board some years back, the Captain made it clear on the first night that he had an open-bridge policy. All were welcome to visit and chat.

#5
Canberra, Australia
2,318 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Sorry to hear about your experience with the ship not being ready. It must have been very frustrating. Luckily as you said the Galapagos cruise is not about the ship, it is about the destination, the islands and the experience. It sounds like the Galapagos put on an amazing show for you and did not disappoint. I can't wait to return.
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#6
2,016 Posts
Joined May 2007
Unfortunately, so many businesses today are driven by the need for revenue; any operational shutdown means shrinking profit or even loss. So management takes the view that nothing can go wrong during a remodel where the engineers have offered a quote that is overly optimistic in order to get a bid. Sets up failure for sure! Like flying in on embarkation day; it is never wise to book a cruise right after a remodel .
#7
Southwest Florida
10,689 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Really sad to hear how such a wonderful trip can be ruined by financial greed....had they cancelled your trip, they would have lost roughly $300,000 in revenue, and they weren't willing to do that to have enough time to do the job right. We have a standing policy that we will not take a cruise leading to dry dock (because they start to disassemble things and get ready during the prior cruise)...and we will never take a cruise on a ship just out of drydock because I am not aware of any where the job was finished...eg. the millenium solsticization, etc.

Hope Celebrity makes it right for you.....but you still got to see the galapagos and that's just a wonderful treat.
#8
New Cumberland,PA, USA
27,342 Posts
Joined May 2000
What a bummer! Several of us that regularly post on CC have often recommended that all cruisers avoid voyages both immediately before and after scheduled drydocks since it is quite common to have disruptions on ships. In addition we never recommend taking a maiden or even 2nd voyage on a new ships for similar reasons. Greed is not always a good thing and no cruise line will keep their ships out of service anymore then is absolutely necessary.

Hank
#9
Acworth, GA
1,080 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
We have this evening spoken to a lovely woman named Shirley, who has gone through the comment cards and has determined that the Captain's absence was among the most egregious errors, among many, X made during the 9/30 sailing. "We made a mistake, and we're going to own it," were her words. She has offered us each 25% refund in the form of a cruise credit, which is fine for us since we are booked on Eclipse in January. It will be applied to the final payment due soon. We are satisfied.

X did not duck its responsibilities toward us. How it deals with the Captain remains to be seen.
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Jim & Marie
#10
Long Island,NY
1,454 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by marieps
We have this evening spoken to a lovely woman named Shirley, who has gone through the comment cards and has determined that the Captain's absence was among the most egregious errors, among many, X made during the 9/30 sailing. "We made a mistake, and we're going to own it," were her words. She has offered us each 25% refund in the form of a cruise credit, which is fine for us since we are booked on Eclipse in January. It will be applied to the final payment due soon. We are satisfied.

X did not duck its responsibilities toward us. How it deals with the Captain remains to be seen.
You have a great attitude. Enjoy the Eclipse
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Diane (and Michael)
#11
Montreal / Stowe
4,643 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by marieps
X did not duck its responsibilities toward us. How it deals with the Captain remains to be seen.
Good for you and good for Celebrity.

I was shocked when we took a cruise 7 weeks after a dry dock and they were still finishing the renovations.
During our Pride cruise they replaced the carpeting in the corridor outside our cabin during our cruise.
They were quiet but there was the smell of glue and on occasion we had to step over a carpet roll.
No big deal for us but would have been an issue for those in a wheelchair.

I guess the 2nd to last thing all cruise lines wish to do is forgo an extra week of revenue. The last thing is to cancel an existing cruise.
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#12
Planning our next adventure!
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Joined Dec 2007
Originally posted by marieps
"We made a mistake, and we're going to own it," were her words. She has offered us each 25% refund in the form of a cruise credit, which is fine for us since we are booked on Eclipse in January. It will be applied to the final payment due soon. We are satisfied.

X did not duck its responsibilities toward us. How it deals with the Captain remains to be seen.
Glad to see X taking the high road with this one, an Expedition Cruise is on my bucket list, & with what you pay for it, the ship should be in top working condition.
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#13
VA, MD & FL
6,221 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Originally posted by marieps
Luckily, Galapagos is not about the ship, it's about the place. And the place is wonderful!
Originally posted by marieps
...We are satisfied. X did not duck its responsibilities toward us.
We had a wonderful Xpedition cruise three years ago. Sorry yours was somewhat less wonderful, but glad you didn't let it interfer with your enjoyment of the islands themselves. Great Attitude
Originally posted by richstowe
...I was shocked when we took a cruise 7 weeks after a dry dock and they were still finishing the renovations.
During our Pride cruise they replaced the carpeting in the corridor outside our cabin during our cruise.
They were quiet but there was the smell of glue and on occasion we had to step over a carpet roll...
Carpet replacement may be just general maintence, and not necessarily related to drydocking [speculation on my part]. I would agree that it seems like something I would do during a drydock, but we had the carpet in an Explorer of the Seas cabin replaced in the middle of a cruise. It was not noticably worn, and the ship was years from any drydock.

Thom
#14
Redondo Beach, California
576 Posts
Joined May 2006
We were on the Expedition last December and eveything exceeded our expectations. That makes reading about these problems even more sad. I feel for the passengers who had their cruise marred. The islands are incredible and the star of the cruise, but the Xpedition was an integral part of the experience too. We have wonderful memories of gathering near the Beagle Grill after morining and afternoon excursions. Actually the Blue Finch was closed the entire time, but it was not missed. It seemed to serve as a smoking area.
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#15
465 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by billrco90278
We were on the Expedition last December and eveything exceeded our expectations. That makes reading about these problems even more sad. I feel for the passengers who had their cruise marred. The islands are incredible and the star of the cruise, but the Xpedition was an integral part of the experience too. We have wonderful memories of gathering near the Beagle Grill after morining and afternoon excursions. Actually the Blue Finch was closed the entire time, but it was not missed. It seemed to serve as a smoking area.
I could not agree more. It was a wonderful trip and each day between excursions we would relax on deck. We also enjoyed the deck at the stern. Your experience would have upset me greatly after 14 months of planning. I so admire your positive tone.
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