The first major cruise ship open to North Americans because the industry paused over a year ago due to this coronavirus pandemic set sail on Sunday.

Celebrity Millennium, part of the Celebrity Cruises line owned by Royal Caribbean Group, sailed from Philipsburg, St. Maarten with paying passengers on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. Royal Caribbean has not held cruises since March 2020.

This is such a substantial moment for our company, our industry and the Caribbean. This day has finally arrived for our guests as well as our team is truly special — beyond words, really,” Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said at a statement. “What an honour to now be the first to say, once again –‘Welcome Aboard!'”

The 7-day cruise from St. Maarten will include port stops in Barbados, Aruba and Curacao.

About 500 passengers are on boardover 95 percent that are completely vaccinated. Kids who couldn’t yet receive vaccinations were required to reveal negative Covid-19 tests.

All ship crew members are also completely vaccinated.

“More than 80% of our passengers said they’d prefer to sail a ship with fully vaccinated people,” Colleen McDaniel, the editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic who’s aboard Celebrity Millennium, told CNN. “It’s like travel in a bubble.”

“That is the first major ship sailing from the Caribbeans therefore it feels pretty unique,” she added. The crew is so eager to have people eventually on board. So many people were clapping, you can tell this finally feels normal again and it’s making everyone very happy.

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that for cruise lines to recommence sailing in US waters, they must either complete “trial” cruises to replicate real-world cruising conditions, or comply with the CDC vaccination requirements.

Celebrity Cruises has opted for the latter, which involves submitting an attestation to the CDC stating “that 95% of crew (excluding any newly embarking crew in quarantine) are fully vaccinated and submit to CDC a clear and specific vaccination plan and timeline to limit cruise ship sailings to 95% of passengers who have been verified by the cruise ship operator as fully vaccinated prior to sailing.”

While the ship usually sails from a port in the US, it is sailing from St. Maarten because there are still a number of hoops cruise lines have to pass through with the CDC to be allowed to sail.