The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given the green light to Celebrity Cruises to restart sailing from Fort Lauderdale starting on June 26.
After 15 months of suspended cruises, the Celebrity Edge will be the first large ship to restart operations.
“For the past 15 months our conversations with friends and loved ones about seeing the world have been accompanied by the phrase ‘someday.’ I’m beyond proud and excited to say that day has arrived,” said Celebrity Cruises CEO and President Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. “The power of travel has a way of healing our souls as we connect with cultures, sights, and experiences that bring greater joy and renewed energy to our lives.”
Celebrity Cruises was able to bypass the CDC’s requirement to undergo simulated ‘test cruises’ by requiring that all cruises will sail with over 95% of the passengers vaccinated. The only passengers onboard that will not be vaccinated are those under the age of 16 and beginning in August, those under the age of 12.
We’ve been preparing for this day for months and, on behalf of all of us at Celebrity Cruises, we’re ready and we can’t wait to welcome our guests aboard once again!” Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.
Celebrity Edge will sail alternating, seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages out of Fort Lauderdale. The ship will be captained by the first American female captain of a major cruise ship, Kate McCue.
With today’s announcement, 8 of the 15 Celebrity ships have now planned their restart to destinations including the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska and the Galapagos.
“Today’s exciting news is the result of a collaboration with the CDC, our elected officials at the local, state and national levels and our industry partners at CLIA,” said Richard Fain, Chairman of Royal Caribbean Group, parent company of Celebrity Cruises. “We’ve consulted with the brightest minds in the health industry to ensure that our passengers and crew feel safe and comfortable on our ships while enjoying the uncompromised experience they know and love.”
The CDC had been blocking all large cruise ships from operating in U.S. waters since March of 2020 when the Covid-19 outbreak was classified as a pandemic.
Multiple cruise lines have planned restarts in June outside of the U.S. departing from ports in the Caribbean to bypass the CDC’s strict guidelines. The Celebrity Millennium will resume Caribbean cruises on June 5 sailing off the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin.
Royal Caribbean will begin sailing out Nassau in the Bahamas on June 5 with one ship.
For now, the Celebrity Edge is the only large cruise ship that has been given approval to restart operations in the U.S. Each cruise line and each individual ship must apply to the CDC for approval before sailing with paying passengers on board.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com