Celebrity Cruises announced the Celebrity Edge will be the first major cruise ship to depart a U.S. port when it sets sail from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, June 26. The vessel will also score another historic first with the first American female captain of a cruise ship, Kate McCue. This will the first large American cruise ship sailing from a domestic port in over a year, albeit with a reduced occupancy and a vaccine requirement for all passengers 16 years of age or older.
“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,” Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO and president of Celebrity Cruises, said in a statement. “Nothing compares to these experiences at sea and now the wonder of these journeys returns. 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!”
While Celebrity Cruises was in a celebratory mood about the announced departure, the luxury cruise line was also quick to point out that guest safety will be its top priority. In addition to operating at a reduced capacity, all crew have been vaccinated and guests 16 years of age or older must present proof of vaccination in order to board the ship. That age will drop to 12 and older beginning August 1 this summer. Celebrity Cruises said their health and safety experts worked closely with public and government authorities to develop the policies which it hopes will provide guests “the peace of mind to fully enjoy their journey” onboard the luxury vessel. Celebrity Cruises encouraged guests or those considering a cruise to consult their regularly updated health and safety page.
“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,” Richard Fain, chairman of Royal Caribbean Group, the 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 Celebrity Edgefirst set sail in 2018, and is generally regarded as the most cutting-edge cruise vessel afloat. Most notable is the Magic Carpet, a cantilevered platform used as a lounge or gathering spot for drinks that is attached to the exterior of the ship and can be raised or lowered. Many cabins on the Celebrity Edge feature windows that slide down to create a veranda overlooking the ocean. Hyper-luxurious two-story villas have their own private plunge pools.
Celebrity Cruises announced a wide range of available itineraries including Alaska, western and eastern Carribean, and more.
“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!” said Lutoff-Perlo.