Ship boat

Celebrity cruise ship finally leaves after tug strike causes delay

A strike by tugboat workers at Vancouver, British Columbia Celebrity Cruises Failed Celebrity Eclipse overnight, as the ship was unable to leave the port of embarkation due to a fuel barge that was not moved. This delayed the Vancouver cruise ship and may impact the ship’s 7-night Alaska itinerary.

Fuel Barge Blocks Cruise Ship

Although the Solstice-class cruise ship itself does not require tug assistance to depart Vancouver, a fuel barge alongside the ship for normal refueling operations requires tugs to move in completely safe.

Due to the tug workers’ strike, the barge was not moved after refueling operations were completed, and Celebrity Eclipse could not leave as planned.

“There is a local strike by tug workers at the Port of Vancouver. Without tug support, the vessel is unable to leave port,” Celebrity Cruises said on Twitter during the delay. “We are working diligently with all local authorities to resolve the situation so that the vessel can embark for its navigation.”

Photo credit: Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock

While some passengers on board were upset by a perceived lack of communication from the cruise line, Celebrity Cruises was responding to social media requests as much as possible.

The cruise ship was finally able to start and leave Vancouver around 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon, rather than the original departure time of 4:30 p.m. on Sunday August 28.

Itinerary may be impacted

Passengers on board Celebrity Eclipse reported a general good mood despite the delay, as well as exceptional service from the crew. Celebrity Eclipse has a capacity of 2,850 passengers in double occupancy, with an onboard crew of approximately 1,270 international crew members.

The ship’s itinerary may however be adjusted to account for the delay. It is possible that port times may be shortened if necessary, or the days on which the ship is to visit particular port destinations may be changed to accommodate different journey times.

This 7-night round-trip itinerary has Celebrity Eclipse visit the popular ports of Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Ketchikanplus spending time navigating to see the Hubbard Glacier.

Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship
Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock)

Some passengers were upset about the situation, as identical cruises had been canceled due to the pandemic shutdown, and this sailing was a return to sea for many eager guests. It should be noted, however, that Celebrity Cruises is in no way involved in the labor dispute; Celebrity Eclipse only happened to be caught up in the strike.

The ship is scheduled to return to Vancouver on Sunday, September 4, and no delays are expected for her arrival and disembarkation before her next cruise.

Strike affecting port operations

The union-led strike of tugboat workers began on August 25, 2022 amid disputes over contract negotiations. This has led to workers shutting down services, which then impacts how ships can move around the port area and refuel when needed.

Whereas Celebrity Eclipse wasn’t the only cruise ship docked at Canada Place cruise terminal in Vancouver on Sunday August 28, it was the only ship affected by the strike.

Royal Caribbean International Serenade of the Seas and Holland America Line New Amsterdam both departed on time and without incident.

Tugboat workers aren’t the only workforce that could impact cruise operations in a homeport. If other essential workers at a port go on strike, cruise operations could be slowed or stopped. This applies to security personnel, pilot boat captains, dockworkers and other critical positions.

Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship