As Covid-19 restrictions in the country continue to ease, the Celebrity Edge will be the first major cruise ship to sail from the United States in over a year.
The ship, which is part of the Royal Caribbean Group’s Celebrity Cruises line, has been approved to sail from Fort Lauderdale in June 2021.
“After months of working with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other government officials, our Healthy Sail Panel and industry partners, we can again offer cruise lovers the chance to enjoy the wonders of cruising. We are truly thankful to reach this special milestone,” Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Group chairman and CEO, said in a press statement.
According to the CDC, cruise lines must either complete “trial” cruises to simulate real-world cruising conditions or comply with CDC vaccination requirements in order to resume sailing in US waters.
Celebrity Cruises has chosen the latter option, which entails submitting an attestation to the CDC stating that “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.”
Celebrity Cruises’ sister company, Royal Caribbean, recently announced plans to launch its first cruise.
On June 26, the re-inaugural Celebrity cruise will depart from Port Everglades, with all crew and passengers over the age of 16 required to show proof of vaccination before boarding. And that rule isn’t going away: starting August 1, the vaccination requirement will be extended to all travelers over the age of 12.
The ship has a capacity of nearly 3,000 passengers. The cruise’s complete itinerary for its historic June sailing has yet to be revealed.
Celebrity Edge debuted in 2018 and was built and outfitted at a cost of $1 billion.
The first cruise ship to be designed using 3-D technology, the ship’s revolutionary “endoskeleton” design — which places the majority of the ship’s mechanical features along its spine, allowing for more light and visibility on the outside — set a new standard in the industry.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the cruise industry. In honor of International Women’s Day, the Celebrity Edge’s last cruise was completed in March 2020 with an all-female crew.
Captain Kate McCue, who is in charge of the ship for the majority of the year, was forced to stay on board with her crew for nearly seven months before being allowed to return home.
“It was important for me to stay as long as I could to make sure that the 1,350 crew members that we had on Celebrity Edge — and all of the crew members that we had in our fleet in the Caribbean — that we could get off, did get off,” she told CNN Travel about the experience.
The US isn’t the first country to reintroduce cruise travel. MSC Cruises recently launched a number of short “staycation” itineraries in and around the United Kingdom.