National News

1,000 Grand Celebration passengers disappointed

by: Sharell Lockhart, News Reporter

The MS Grand Celebration's maiden voyage to Grand Bahama from the Port of Palm Beach, Florida on Sunday, February 1 was postponed to Tuesday, February 3 (today) according to a Sun Sentinel online news article.

One thousand cruise passengers scheduled to set sail on the newly renovated ship, which offers two-night cruises and Bahamas Resort stay vacation packages from four to eight nights had their plans "anchored"  due to a defective Public Address (PA) System.

Furthermore, the Sun Sentinel article revealed the U.S Coast Guard forced the MS Grand Celebration that also boasts of 10 public decks, 750 large cabins and terrace suites with more than 60 percent having an ocean view, to suspend the crossing until the faulty system functions in accordance to standard safety regulation.

The Freeport News telephoned Bahamas Celebration Cruise Line executive vice president Glenn Ryerson, Minister of Tourism Obediah Wilchcombe and Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville among other governmental officials for comment on the issue; however, to no avail.

" call by this daily was also made to Port of Palm Beach executive director Manuel Almira, who expressed disappointment with the postponement and gave an eyewitness account of the ordeal.

" We were all ecstatic that the service was going to resume after the discontinuance of the Bahamas Celebration two-night cruise schedule to Grand Bahama.

" Contact was made with our internal security as well as the valet parking attendants resulting in 30 individuals being rehired in preparation for a successful sailing day, unfortunately however, at 3:00 p.m. the postponement had been announced,⠝ claimed Almira.

Nearly 1,000-plus passengers stood inside the cruise terminal at the time Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, the new ownership behind the Grand Celebration gave official notice.

Charlie Kinnear, Kinnear Maritime Services, LLC and Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line addressed passengers, maintained Almira, who also queried, "Could you imagine how disappointed passengers, who were anxiously waiting to board the MS Grand Celebration had been with the ordeal, especially as many had already been queuing in line as early as 9:00 a.m.?

" Like the passengers, I too was displeased along with the cruise line that did everything possible to satisfy U.S Coast Guardâ s requests." 

Despite it all, passengers understood the decision made by the U.S Coast Guard and moved in an orderly fashion out of the cruise terminal, the executive port director noted.

" A small percentage of passengers while expressing their annoyance did request an immediate refund and those displaced received hotel, meals and ground transportation courtesy of the cruise line,⠝ revealed Almira.

The MS Grand Celebration is expected to arrive at the Freeport Harbour, Terminal 1 on Wednesday, February 4 with Ministry of Tourism officials and the Grand Bahama Island Tourist Office team ready to greet passengers in grand style.


Published Tuesday, February 3, 2015


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