Celebrity Edge has departed Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale in Florida, becoming the first cruise ship to sail from the US since March last year when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Celebrity Edge leads the US cruise fleet back to sea for the first time in 15 months, with the only female American cruise ship captain in command, and 1,195 guests onboard.
While Celebrity Edge is the first major cruise ship to cruise from a US port since March last year, she will soon be joined by more, with Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and more all planning to resume services in the coming weeks.
Celebrity Cruises is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises, which also owns Royal Caribbean International, the two cruise lines have been leading the US restart race in recent weeks.
Celebrity Millennium and Adventure of the Seas relaunched cruise services in the Caribbean, and the Freedom of the Seas recently completed a test cruise for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Celebrity Edge departed Port Everglades on Saturday evening following a joint press conference at the cruise terminal, held by the city of Fort Lauderdale, Broward County and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Jonathan Daniels, Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director and Michael Udine, Broward County Vice Mayor spoke about the important economic role cruise lines play in Florida’s economy.
Brian Abel, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Celebrity and Richard Fain, Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Group said the departure of Celebrity Edge from the port, becoming the first cruise ship to sail from the US since the pandemic, was a historic moment for the global cruise industry.
“Today we are truly making history,” said Fain. “It means so much to every individual at our company, every individual in our crew to be part of the story of rebuilding the tourism economy,” he added.
Captain Kate McCue, the master of Celebrity Edge and the only female American cruise ship captain, spoke of her pride at being in command of the first cruise ship to reopen the US cruise market.
Celebrity Edge set sail with 1,195 guests on a week-long roundtrip cruise to the Caribbean. Port calls include Costa Maya, Cozumel and Nassau, with three days at sea.
The ship is operating at 41% capacity due to ongoing social distancing requirements, with the vast majority of her passengers, and 100% of her crew, having been vaccinated.
Just two of her adult passengers and 24 children onboard are unvaccinated, representing 2% of her total passenger manifest. The CDC currently recommends that at least 95% of passengers are vaccinated.