June 26, 2021 #SomedayIsHere
The hardworking Celebrity Edge crew have been diligently preparing, finalizing every little detail, in order to welcome guests back aboard. Setting sail for the Caribbean as the first cruise ship to return to sailing US waters since the CDC brought the industry to a halt more than 15 months ago with a no-sail order that has been extended a number of times.
What does sailing look like in a post-Covid era?
Based on guidelines required from the various governing authorities, there will be several changes, some visible and others there, but out of sight, including isolation areas and ICU beds with expanded medical facilities onboard. Gone are the self-serve buffets. Separate areas for guests who are vaccinated and those who aren’t. Special equipment such as upgraded air filters. Regular testing of the crew and unvaccinated passengers. All in an effort to limit the spread of Covid-19.
This first 7 day Caribbean sailing is limited to about 1/3 of regular capacity and guarantees that 95% of passengers and 98% of the crew are vaccinated, but Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis has banned businesses from requiring proof of vaccination. Therefore, guests were encouraged to be vaccinated but those who aren’t were still allowed to sail, following additional restrictions & protocols while onboard.
In a personal video welcome message from Richard Fain, Chairman & CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. on the day of the inaugural sailing in US waters, he thanked all of the people who have helped in getting to this day. Employees have stepped up throughout the year to get the crews home and to keep the ships safe and operational, implementing new protocols to instill confidence so that when cruising resumed, it would be a healthy return and fun experience that their guests have come to expect. He thanked the loyal guests who’ve been eager to return to cruising, booking multiple cruises over the past year, hoping each time that would be the time they would restart. He thanked the travel professionals for the efforts and sacrifices made to keep our businesses strong in these tough times. And while there are still a lot of uncertainties regarding guidelines within and between the governing bodies such as the CDC and the state of Florida, with continued mediation between the parties, the fog is beginning to clear and some things are for CERTAIN.
What IS CERTAIN, more than 90% of the guests booking cruises are either fully vaccinated or they intend to be soon, and 100% of their crew have been fully vaccinated and specially trained on how to create a safe, memorable experience for all their guests. They know that the destinations are excited to welcome back guests and while June 26th was the first sailing from a US port, there are 13 ships already operating from other ports around the world and within a month, 28 of their ships will be operating around the world. Guest ratings are higher than before the pandemic and at each port, local authorities, and business leaders have turned up for great welcome back celebrations.
He proudly reported that health & safety protocols are working as intended based on evidence from a recent situation where two guests sharing a stateroom on Celebrity Millenium, tested positive for Covid-19. The guests were quickly isolated onboard and rapid contract tracing showed there were no additional cases. The two guests were promptly flown back to the US. No drama onboard for the other guests, no interruption to their cruise, no trouble for the local community. Simply put, the protocols and procedures worked precisely as they were intended. CRUISING IS BACK!
All eyes and ears will be watching and listening as the first few sailings “TEST THE WATERS”
If you have questions about cruising in the next year, please reach out to Kathylynne, Accredited Cruise Counsellor at Fenton Travel by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1 306 873 3234. I’m here to guide you through the new normal for cruising.