Celebrity Cruises announces first ship to sail out of the United States in June 2021
It looks like Celebrity Cruises will be the first cruise line to sail out of the United States with paying passengers.
Celebrity announced Celebrity Edge will sail out of Fort Lauderdale on June 26, 2021 to restart cruises to the Caribbean.
Edge will offer a 7-night itinerary alternating between Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave Celebrity the green light to restart cruises with passengers because the ship will have at least 95% of its passengers fully vaccinated, along with 98% of its crew members.
All Celebrity ships will sail with a vaccinated crew. U.S. guests ages 16 and older must be fully vaccinated and, as of August 1, 2021, all U.S. guests ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated.
Celebrity also said eight of the 15 ships within the Celebrity Cruises’ fleet now have plans to return to sailing in 2021.
Read more: First Timers' Guide to Celebrity Edge
While Celebrity Edge will be the first ship (and cruise line) to restart cruises from the United States, she will not be the first ship in Celebrity's fleet to restart sailings.
The Celebrity Millennium will start cruises from St. Maarten, beginning on June 5 with 7 night sailings to the Southern Caribbean.
Other ships restarting cruises outside of the United States this summer include Celebrity Apex from Greece, and Celebrity Silhouette from Southampton. Celebrity Summit will cruise from the United States on July 23, when she starts sailing to Alaska.
The US summer sailings also follow Celebrity news that beginning July 4, the mega-yacht, Celebrity Flora, will resume sailing the magical Galapagos Islands. She will be followed soon after by Celebrity Xpedition and 16-passenger Celebrity Xploration on July 24, and September 18, respectively.
What about Royal Caribbean?
Royal Caribbean International's restart will be slower than Celebrity Cruises, because Royal Caribbean is going about restart differently.
Unlike Celebrity, Royal Caribbean will not be able to reach the 95% mandate of passengers being vaccinated by the CDC to skip test cruises.
As a result, Royal Caribbean needs to conduct test cruises first, before applying for permission to restart revenue cruises with paying passengers.
Thus far, Freedom of the Seas will start test cruises in June, and Ovation and Serenade of the Seas will start cruises from Alaska in July and August, assuming they can complete test cruises and receive permission from the CDC in time.