LAUDERDALE — Celebrity Cruises celebrated yet another milestone in its road to recovery with the June 26 sailing of the Celebrity Edge, the first cruise ship to sail from a U.S. port in more than a year.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, tweeted the news last weekend, writing: “#HopeFloats. Today marks the rebirth of our company and our industry as our beautiful Celebrity Edge sets sail on a new-luxury experience that will – once again – feed peoples’ love of travel.”
The ship departed Ft. Lauderdale on June 26 for Mexico and the Bahamas with Captain Kate McCue, the first and still only American female captain of a major cruise ship, at the helm. Celebrity Edge, which along with Celebrity’s entire fleet, has been grounded since March 2020 due to the global pandemic. It was recently given the green light by the CDC to be the first ship back in the water, having met all new standards for providing a healthy and safe cruise experience.
“This is a momentous sailing and one that we have been preparing for a long time. It’s not only a huge honour 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,” said Richard Fain, Chairman of the Royal Caribbean Group, the parent company of Celebrity Cruises. “There’s nothing more enriching in life than exposing yourself to new cultures, sights and experiences, and nothing more luxurious than doing it onboard a Celebrity cruise ship. All that’s left to say is welcome aboard.”
Named ‘one of the world’s greatest places’ by Time Magazine, Celebrity Edge offers a modern cruising experience with offerings like the Magic Carpet, the private oasis called The Retreat, a botanical Rooftop Garden and hyper-luxe two-storey villas featuring private plunge pools.
With the inaugural sailing, eight of the 14 ships within the Celebrity Cruises’ fleet now have plans to return to sailing in 2021 to destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska and the Galapagos. These include:
- The Celebrity Millennium led North America’s return to service as the first ship to sail in the Caribbean on June 5 from St. Maarten
- Celebrity Apex, the newest addition to the fleet, made its world debut in Athens on June 19 with seven-night sailings to the Greek Isles
- Celebrity Silhouette is preparing to summer in Southampton, UK beginning July 3 and will offer cruises of the British Isles and coastline
- Beginning July 4 the mega-yacht Celebrity Flora will resume sailing the Galapagos Islands and wil be followed soon after by the award-winning Celebrity Xpedition and 16-passenger Celebrity Exploration on July 24 and Sept. 18, respectively.
All Celebrity ships will sail with a vaccinated crew. U.S. guests ages 16 and older must be fully vaccinated and, as of Aug. 1, 2021, all U.S. guests ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated. In Requirements for non-U.S. guests vary and more details can be found at https://www.celebritycruises.com/healthy-at-sea. Celebrity’s ‘Cruise with Confidence’ program also provides flexible cancellations and best-price guarantees.
Earlier this month, Celebrity reported that two passengers on the Celebrity Millennium’s inaugural sailing from St. Maarten had tested positive for COVID-19. The ship had sailed with a fully vaccinated crew and passengers onboard. The two passengers were asymptomatic and were put in isolation and monitored by the ship’s medical team. Contact tracing was conducted and close contacts were tested, all of whom tested negative.