Celebrity Cruises started sailing “on the right foot.” After the hiatus of all cruises since March 2020 due to the pandemic, the Celebrity Edge, which was inaugurated in 2018, became the first ship to sail in the United States on June 26.
With the popular Captain Kate McCue, the ship continues to sail on her first seven-day voyage, with limited capacity to less than 50% occupancy and with no incidents to sail. The voyage, which departed from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, includes Costa Maya, in Mexico, and Nassau, in the Bahamas. The captain is famous for being the first American woman of that rank on a large ship, but also for her usual companion, her cat who is a celebrity and whose travels and curiosities are documented on her Instagram page, Bug Naked.
For Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of the cruise company, the departure of the Edge represented a renaissance for Celebrity and for the entire cruise industry. For the captain, the return was doubly emotional since she was in command of the last ship that sailed in 2020, and that made history by having the main crew, composed only of women.
“I can always answer any questions about the ship and our protocols for re-sailing, but when it comes to talking about our passengers and crew, it touches my heart,” said a very excited captain in a video.
But the Edge is not the first Celebrity ship to sail this year, as the Millenium did first, departing from St. Maarten, on June 5. The balance of that first trip was about to damage the expected return of the line, because two passengers were reported positive for COVID-19. These were minors, were not vaccinated and were isolated in their cabin after diagnosis, without reporting an outbreak on board or other infected passengers upon returning.
They are also sailing the Greek Islands, in Europe, on the new Celebrity Apex, whose maiden voyage set sail from Athens on June 19.
The cruise line announced that it will continue to expand the options of ships sailing and that eight of its 14 ships will do so in 2021. It has already received the Celebrity Silhouette, which was completely renovated and will sail from Southampton, England from July 3 and the Celebrity Flora, which will sail through the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador from July 4, in addition to traveling through Alaska.
Changes due to COVID-19
Depending on where you are traveling from, the rules regarding vaccination tests change, but what is similar in all boats is that the crew is 100% vaccinated. In England they will sail with passengers over 18 years of age, who are fully vaccinated and show a negative PCR test, for COVID, within three days before the trip.
Passengers 16 years and older traveling from the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated, and as of August 1, it will be requested for those 12 years and older. The exception to this rule is trips out of Florida, where the company said “it is strongly recommended that they be vaccinated.” In that state, it is illegal to request proof of vaccination, per Executive Order from Governor Ron DeSantis.
However, Celebrity Cruises, in Florida, gives the passenger the option to present their vaccination card and if they do not wish to do so, it considers them not vaccinated, and they are subject to its rules. Because they can impose rules within their ships, such as requiring unvaccinated passengers to wear a mask, including those who participate in their children’s or youth programs. These are also subject to other tests and protocols on board, and a test upon disembarking. For this, those over 16 years of age, not vaccinated, must pay, since they are not included in the cruise fare. A similar measure requires its sister company, Royal Caribbean.
Passengers who have traveled have shown their satisfaction for not finding strict measures on board, since those vaccinated are not asked to wear masks and many have commented, through social networks, that the only thing different they notice is the little number of passengers, something that compares them.
With his return to the sea, the great unknown for those who like buffets was cleared up, since they have not been eliminated, but are served directly by the staff. The pools and most facilities are open.
Both in this line and in all those that have returned to sail, facilities have been established to avoid physical contact, such as making the check-in process faster, without the need to wait a long time at the port, except in cases where COVID-19 testing is required before entering, for which the results must be awaited before boarding.
As for the drills or “drill”, they are doing it through the app. Reservations are still open for future trips and can be made through any local travel agent or with the cruise line.