|Owner:||Royal Caribbean Group|
|Port of registry:|
|Launched:||7 November 1999|
|Sponsored by:||Robyn Roux|
|Christened:||26 June 2000|
|Acquired:||22 June 2000|
|Maiden voyage:||1 July 2000|
|Class and type:||Millennium-class cruise ship|
|Length:||964.6 ft (294 m)|
|Beam:||105.6 ft (32 m)|
|Draught:||26 ft (8 m)|
|Draft:||26.3 ft (8 m)|
|Decks:||11 (passenger accessible)|
|Propulsion:||2 × 19 MW Rolls-Royce/Alstom Mermaid azimuth thrusters|
|Speed:||24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)|
GTS Celebrity Millennium (formerly Millennium) is a cruise ship operated by Celebrity Cruises. She is the lead ship of her namesake class, whose ships are powered by gas turbines. Delivered in 2000, she is the oldest operating ship in Celebrity's fleet.
Planning and construction
In February 1998, Royal Caribbean signed a letter of intent with Chantiers de l'Atlantique to build two new ships, with an option for two more, that would make up a new class of ships, dubbed the Millennium class. Designed to be an evolution from Celebrity's Century-class ships, these new ships were originally planned to measure 85,000 GT and have a guest capacity of approximately 1,900, and be delivered in June 2000 and January 2001, respectively.
The ship was the first new-build vessel for Celebrity following the merger between it and Royal Caribbean, and also Celebrity's first new-build not built by German shipyard Meyer Werft. She was launched on 7 November 1999 from the shipyard. She set out for her first set of sea trials on 7 April 2000 and her second set on 21 April 2000. She was initially scheduled to be delivered on 31 May 2000, but her delivery was delayed to 22 June 2000. She was christened in Southampton on 26 June 2000 by Robyn Roux, wife of French celebrity chef Michel Roux. Her first port of registry was Monrovia, Liberia.
Following her christening, Millennium sailed her maiden voyage on 1 July 2000 from Amsterdam to Baltic ports. Following an inaugural Europe season, she debuted in North America in New York in November 2000 before re-positioning in December to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to sail cruises in the Caribbean through the winter. She sailed in the Mediterranean the following summer. Since 2001, the ship has sailed extensively throughout Europe, Australasia, and the Caribbean.
In May 2011, a female passenger in her sixties was declared missing when she failed to disembark at a port call in San Diego. Security cameras on the ship showed that she had jumped off the ship into the waters between Cabo San Lucas and San Diego.
In December 2012, the ship debuted in Asia after arriving at her homeport of Singapore, where the ship has been primarily deployed through the winter; in the summer, she has primarily sailed in Alaska.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in February 2020, Celebrity cancelled all Asia cruises on Celebrity Millennium and re-deployed her to Los Angeles to sail complimentary cruises in March and April 2020 for first responders and military personnel. However, all sailings were cancelled after the company halted operations on 13 March 2020. The ship has been berthed or anchored offshore near San Diego throughout the pandemic; after months of difficulty repatriating crew members, up to 480 crew members still remained on board the ship in May 2020.
In fall 2021, Celebrity Millennium is scheduled to return to cruising in the Caribbean.
Design and specifications
Millennium's original hull livery featured a predominantly dark blue paint with yellow and white bands lining the vessel. Upon delivery, she became the world's first cruise ship to use a turbo-electric COGAS power plant. The COGAS plant consists of gas and steam turbines, with the latter being driven by steam generated using the heat from the exhaust of the gas turbines. In this way, some of the otherwise lost energy is reclaimed and the specific fuel consumption of the plant is decreased. Propulsion is provided by two "Mermaid" azimuth pod-propulsion units from Kamewa and Cegelec (now Alstom).
The ship was also built featuring the Olympic Restaurant, a specialty restaurant that contained the walnut wood panels that were used on the RMS Olympic (sister ship to the ill-fated RMS Titanic and HMHS Britannic) and removed and preserved when the ship was sold for scrap in 1935.
Recurring pod-propulsion issues
Months following her delivery, Millennium encountered problems with the bearings of her pod-propulsion system, which resulted in cancelled sailings for an emergency dry dock in December 2000 for repairs in Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. In July 2007, the ship's propellers were damaged after striking a submerged rock during an electrical malfunction near Villefranche-sur-Mer, forcing the cancellation of numerous Mediterranean sailings. The damage was expected to negatively impact the earnings of Royal Caribbean by approximately $0.14 per share. In August 2013, the ship encountered problems with the electrical parts of the pods' motors that caused the cancellation of her remaining Alaskan sailings and forced an emergency dry dock for repairs in September 2013. The problem reportedly cost Celebrity approximately $13 million in lost ticket revenue and an estimated total of $31 million with all incurred expenses combined.
Numerous repairs that proved unsuccessful led Royal Caribbean to file a lawsuit against Rolls-Royce and Alstom in August 2003 for $300 million to recover lost revenue and the costs associated with the pods. Royal Caribbean later settled the lawsuit in January 2010.
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