CDC Gives Cruise Ships Go-Ahead to Begin Sailing in June

The Fist Ship to Resume Sailing

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved, on May 26 Celebrity Cruises to restart sailings from Fort Lauderdale with a single ship, the 2,908-passenger Celebrity Edge, on June 26.

The Celebrity Cruise ship will be the first big ship to sail from a U.S. port in more than 15 months.

In a tweet late Wednesday night, Celebrity President and CEO List Lutoff-Perlo said “Someday is here.”

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Celebrity has since released a press release confirming the announcement “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.”

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Celebrity will launch their tw-year old shup, Celebrity Edge from the port at Fort Lauderdale. They will sail with at least 95% of passengers vaccinated for COVID-19. Due to the vaccination percentages, the CDC will not require the ship to undergo simulated ‘test cruises’ before resuming operations with paying passengers.

Related: Prices released for New Disney Cruise Line Ship The Disney Wish

The ship will sail alternating, seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages out of Fort Lauderdale.

Celebrity proposed a number of enhanced safety measures so they could resume sailing. They will require that all U.S. passengers over the age of 16 be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The age requirement will drop to 12 on Aug. 1.

Huge News For Cruising

The CDC’s clearance for Celebrity Edge to resume sailings out of a U.S. port is huge news for crusing. The cruise industry is one of the only industries who have not been provided guidance and details on how to resume their business since the start of COVID-19.

Sailing was suspended in ports across the world in March 2020 and although Europe has seen an abbreviated return to cruising, a ship sailing from a US port marks a huge milestone for the industry.

Celebrity, frustrated with lack of progress from the United States, previously announced they would resume Caribbean cruises on June 5 with one ship sailing of the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin (known as St. Maarten). Their sister line Royal Caribbean will also sail from the Caribbean starting June 12 with one ship sailing out of Nassau in the Bahamas.

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Crystal Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line will also resume sailing from non-US ports begining in August.

All major cruise lines have started submitting requests to restart operations out of US ports on a ship-by-ship basis to the CDC, as required by CDC rules.

To be allowed to restart, cruise lines must prove to the CDC that they have new health and safety protocols in place on ships designed to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 and manage them should one occur.

Alaska

We expect announcements of sailings from US ports to begin sooner rather than later as the CDC just this week signed a bill allowing cruises to Alaska to resume in August.

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This new law will allow those foreign-flagged ships from such cruise lines as Disney, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian to salvage their 2021 summer cruise itineraries to Alaska and bypass Canada which announced earlier this year that no ships would be allowed to dock there in 2021.

Related: Bill Signed Into Law Allowing Cruise Ships to Sail to Alaska in 2021

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