Celebrity Cruise Ship Oversold Six Months Before Sailing

Guests anxious to explore Japan this fall aboard Celebrity Millennium may not get the chance, as the ship has been accidentally oversold.

Celebrity Cruises has reached out to select guests booked on the October 24, 2023 sailing of Celebrity Millennium to let them know that their cruise has been oversold.

The cruise line is offering several options for guests whose bookings have now been cancelled, but why are oversold situations happening for different cruise lines at all?

Celebrity Millennium Oversold

Celebrity Cruises has contacted select guests to inform them that their reservation aboard the October 24, 2023 sailing of Celebrity Millennium has been cancelled.

“We are sincerely regretful to inform you that, due to a rare and unexpected inventory error, your Celebrity Millennium 12-night Japan sailing departing October 24, 2023 has been oversold,” the email reads. “This is not a situation we encounter often and one we are truly disheartened to report.”

“We regret to advise that we have no choice but to cancel this booking. Please know that we exhausted every possible option to avoid having to take this action.”

The impacted cruise is a 12-night roundtrip “Best of Southern Japan” sailing from Tokyo, with seven ports of call in such spectacular destinations as Shimizu, Kyoto, Okinawa, and Korea.

Celebrity Millennium Cruise Ship
Celebrity Millennium Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock)

Guests booked aboard the sailing should note that the cruise is not entirely cancelled, but guests in overbooked cabins may have their individual reservations cancelled.

Celebrity Cruises has not released details of why some guests are cancelled and others are not, though such decisions can be based on a variety of factors such as cabin type, when the initial reservation was made, whether the booking is already paid in full, the loyalty status of the booked guests, and other considerations.

Celebrity Millennium is the first of her class, having debuted in 2002. Weighing in at 90,963 gross tons, she can welcome 2,138 guests per sailing, with approximately 950 crew members aboard to provide spectacular service.

Alternative Options

For guests whose reservations are now cancelled, Celebrity Cruises is offering two options.

Guests may choose to “lift and shift” their reservation to select alternative Asia voyages, with the cruise fare honored for like stateroom categories. Guests may choose from three alternative 12-night sailings aboard Celebrity Millennium in 2024: the September 24, October 6, or October 18 departures.

This option also includes a refund of other costs such as non-refundable flights or other travel arrangements associated with the cruise, up to $500 (USD) per guest with appropriate documentation.

The second option is for guests to cancel their cruise altogether, which would result in a full refund of all monies paid, as well as a future cruise credit (FCC) of $450 for any future cruise booking, on any ship and for any destination. Guests cancelling their cruise will also receive a $500 refund of other documented ancillary costs.

Celebrity Millennium Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock

If guests used a previous FCC to book their now-cancelled reservation, the credit will be reissued with an expiration date of one year from the date of issuance. Similarly, the new FCC due to cancelling the cruise, will also have a one-year expiration date.

Guests hoping to “lift and shift” their reservation must do so by before May 1, 2023. After that date, oversold reservations will be automatically cancelled and refunded, and the future cruise credits issued.

“Once again, we wish to express our sincere regret and empathy for this disruption to your vacation plans,” the email concluded. “We truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this unexpected situation.”

Why Are Ships Being Oversold?

Several cruise ships from different lines have been “oversold” in recent months, including the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, being oversold for the popular spring break week in early March.

But why are these “unexpected situations” happening?

While cruise lines have not explained the exact circumstances that have led to oversold bookings, there could be several reasons. Technical glitches with booking engines might result in some staterooms accidentally being booked twice, or group bookings might be introduced to select sailings that could lead to oversold situations.

Because many guests are booking cruises further in advance and trying to rebook sailings that may have been cancelled during the pandemic-related industry shutdown, that can complicate existing reservations, especially if guests have shifted reservations several times.

While oversold situations are very rare for cruise ships, guests can take several steps to minimize the risk that they might have a booking cancelled. Directly choosing a cabin rather than opting for a guarantee rate can help solidify a booking, as can ensuring the cruise is paid in full well before payment due dates.

If an oversell does happen, the best recourse for any impacted guest is to be patient and understanding about the unusual situation, and choose which alternative option works best for their travel plans.

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