It has been a long and difficult road to reintroduce cruise travel in the United States. The first major cruise ship will sail out of the US port on Saturday, 15 months after the pandemic had halted the industry.
Celebrity Edge will sail from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades at 6 p.m. for a seven-night cruise that includes stops in Mexico and the Bahamas.
Celebrity, along with the industry, will sail at 40% capacity while Celebrity sets off towards a US recovery.
Celebrity Cruises’ head of global public relations, Susan Lomax, stated that “for this start-up period we’re sailing at a reduced speed to allow us all to get used the protocols and to really allow natural social distancing.”
Stewart Chiron hopes for a “fabulous experience” onboard.
Chiron, a cruise expert behind The Cruise Guy website, was recently on a Celebrity Millennium cruise out of Sint Maarten, so he knows what to expect.|Chiron, the cruise expert behind The Cruise Guywebsite was on a Celebrity Millennium trip out of Sint Maarten recently so he knows what he can expect.
“Vaccinated passengers can remove their masks from the ship while aboard. There will be restrictions on going ashore in Mexico or the Bahamas, but that’s not important. We are cruising on the high seas again. Chiron sent an email to say that jumping through hoops isn’t a big deal.
Celebrity Edge passengers were so excited to board that they wore special tshirts.
Cynthia Mitchell of Hope, Kansas said, “I ordered them because I needed to make a big statement.” She wore matching “Straight Outta Vaccination” shirts with James.
Mitchell stated, “I know that we all have been through enormous trauma and everyone knows people who have lost their loved ones through this situation.” Celebrity has helped their people get back to work and are now ready to sail. “I’m excited.”
“I did cartwheels only a moment ago. Tina Carter from Washington, DC said, “That’s how excited that I am.” “It’s so exciting to go back to cruising. It’s nothing like it.”
Crew and passengers who have been vaccinated
All crew members will be vaccinated along with at minimum 95% of passengers.
This is in accordance with CDC rules which state that a cruise ship can sail with passengers and crew nearly fully vaccinated, 95% in each case, or conduct a trial voyage before sailing with paying passengers in order to test safety protocols.
Celebrity Edge is compliant with the rules. However, a federal court sided with Florida and issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) from enforcing the conditional sailing order.
The Florida ban that prohibits businesses from requiring proof of vaccination has brought into question the policies of cruise lines. Celebrity claims that asking about vaccination status is allowed under the ban, but it can’t be required.
Lomax reports that celebrities who refuse to provide vaccination information will be considered unvaccinated. Lomax has reserved 5% of the cabins for them. Additional Covid-19 testing will be required for passengers who are not vaccinated and over 16 years of age.
Lomax stated that parts of the ship would be reserved for guests who have not been vaccinated. Guests with unvaccinated faces will need to wear masks and face covers.
The CDC recently lowered its cruise travel warning for vaccinated passengers. Recently, the CDC lowered their cruise travel warning to vaccinated passengers.The agency advises all non-vaccinated passengers to avoid cruise ship travel.