MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — Miami-based Royal Caribbean Group sailed its first cruise ship on Saturday with paying passengers in North America for the reason that pandemic prompted an business vast shutdown.
Celebrity Millennium, a part of the Celebrity Cruises line owned by Royal Caribbean Group, sailed from Philipsburg, St. Maarten with paying passengers on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. Royal Caribbean has not held cruises since March 2020.
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“Today, we sail, again! This is such a significant moment for our company, our industry and the Caribbean. That this day has finally arrived for our guests and our crew is truly special — beyond words, really,” Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, stated in a statement. “What an honor to now be the first to enthusiastically say, once again — ‘Welcome Aboard!’”
The 7-day cruise from St. Maarten contains port stops in Barbados, Aruba and Curacao.
About 500 passengers are on board, over 95% who’re totally vaccinated. Children who couldn’t but obtain vaccinations have been required to point out destructive COVID-19 checks.
All ship crew members are additionally totally vaccinated.
“More than 80% of our passengers said they would prefer to sail on a ship with fully vaccinated people,” Colleen McDaniel, the editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic who’s aboard Celebrity Millennium, instructed CNN. “It’s like traveling in a bubble.”
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“This is the first big ship sailing in the Caribbean so it feels pretty special,” she added. “The energy and excitement is here is so powerful. The crew is so eager to have people finally on board. So many people were clapping, you can tell this finally feels normal again and it’s making everyone very happy.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that for cruise strains to recommence crusing in US waters, they have to both full “trial” cruises to duplicate real-world cruising circumstances, or adjust to the CDC vaccination necessities.
Celebrity Cruises has opted for the latter, which includes submitting an attestation to the CDC stating “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.”
While the ship often sails from a port within the US, it’s crusing from St. Maarten as a result of there are nonetheless various hoops cruise strains must go via with the CDC to be allowed to sail.
However, Celebrity Edge is poised to be the primary main cruise ship to sail from the United States in June 2021. This re-inaugural Celebrity cruise will depart from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on June 26, with all crew and all passengers over the age of 16 required to point out proof they’ve been totally vaccinated earlier than boarding.
And that regulation received’t be going away — after August 1, the vaccination rule will develop to incorporate vacationers over the age of 12.
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