In the past fifteen months, it has been a constant back and forth when we would see cruising return, and in fact, if we would ever see cruising return the way we know it. Saturday, June 26, marks a special day for everyone involved in the cruise industry as Celebrity Edge becomes the first cruise ship to sail on a passenger cruise from the United States since March of 2020.
From the guests who have kept believing and kept on booking cruises, the crew members all too eager to return to work, suppliers, travel agents, dockworkers, and of course the cruise companies themselves, and many more, there will have been a collective sigh of relief today.
Celebrity Cruises Can Be Proud
There is no denying that Celebrity Cruises and indeed parent company Royal Caribbean can be proud of their achievements in the last few months. Despite a hugely experienced and knowledgeable Healthy Sail Panel and health measures that go above and beyond what any shoreside resort would need to deal with, the company has had to fight every day for fifteen months to get where they are today.
The day started at 10 AM in Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, with speeches from various stakeholders such as Jonathan Daniels, Port Everglades Chief Executive, and Port Director; Richard Fain, the Chairman & CEO of Royal Caribbean Group and of course Captain Kate McCue, the Celebrity Edge Captain.
Also Read: Things to Do on a Celebrity Edge Cruise
Richard Fain, Chairman of the Royal Caribbean Group, the parent company of Celebrity Cruises said:
“This is a momentous sailing and one that we have been preparing for a long time. It’s not only a huge honor to be the first ship back in the water, leading the industry in the long-awaited return to U.S.-based cruising, it’s also an incredible achievement and testament to the tireless efforts of our shoreside team and onboard crew.”
“Travel is a powerful catalyst for positive change in our world. There’s nothing more enriching in life than exposing yourself to new cultures, sights, and experiences… and nothing more luxurious than doing it on board a Celebrity cruise ship,” he added. “All that’s left to say is welcome aboard.”
Celebrity Edge departed from the pier at 6 PM with 1,195 guests on board, under the command of Captain Kate McCue. The vessel will be sailing on a week-long itinerary that includes the ports of Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico and Nassau in the Bahamas. Guests will also be able to enjoy a full three days at sea, more than enough time to enjoy all the beautiful things Edge has to offer.
Captain McCue said:
“The week after our entire industry was grounded, last March, I started a #HopeFloats tradition of blowing the ship’s horn every evening to let the world know that not only were we safe, but we were thinking of those at home and hoping the same for them.”
“Now, the sound of a ship’s horn symbolizes rising above from any hardship. The entire crew is so happy to be back and we can’t wait to welcome our guests aboard!”
Will it Be Safe to Sail Onboard Celebrity Edge?
It is a question that has popped up nearly daily for many people. Will sailing onboard a cruise ship be safe when they return to service? The answer can only be a resounding YES!
All crew on board the ship have been fully vaccinated, tested, and tested again; all 1,195 guests on board, except for two adults, have been vaccinated and tested. Also onboard are 24 children who have not been vaccinated, but they have all had PCR-testing and antigen testing is done before boarding the vessel.
Celebrity Cruises also implemented a new health system on top of the healthy sailing system they had already onboard the ships.
The Sharecare Health Security Verified System allows Captains and shoreside monitoring teams to verify the health and safety measures on board, ensuring the ship is compliant with all the rules and regulations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the additional measures from the cruise line itself. There is no denying the vessel is one of the safest places there is for a vacation.
Sure, cases will be found onboard the ships. Yet, these findings will only exemplify the fact that the measures the cruise lines have implemented are working as they should, even catching the cases that escape the rigid testing procedures before the start of the cruise.
Only last month, Celebrity Cruises proved their procedures work when two guests fell positive aboard Celebrity Millennium sailing from St. Maarten.
Manolis Alevropoulos, vice president of Celebrity Marine Operations, said to CBS:
“The cases were handled exactly as per protocol. And that’s why there were no further issues. We followed the protocols and we proved that the protocols work,”
For now, we can all be happy that we have arrived at the point many of us have waited for. Cruise ships are sailing again from US ports, vacations are back on, and even the one industry which was held back for so long can make a start with leaving the pandemic behind.