FT. LAUDERDALE, FLA. - "#HopeFloats. Today marks the rebirth of our company and our industry, as our beautiful Celebrity Edge sets sail on a new-luxury experience that will - once again - feed peoples' love of travel." Those were the inspirational words tweeted from Celebrity Cruises' President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, as the exquisite Celebrity Edge prepared to sail from Ft. Lauderdale at 6.00pm ET, becoming the first cruise ship to sail from a U.S. port in more than a year.
All eyes are on Celebrity Edge as it makes history, departing from Ft. Lauderdale on June 26, 2021, becoming the first cruise ship to sail out of Port Everglades and indeed, US waters, since the pandemic took hold.
What seems only fitting, now, 15 months after being at the helm of history for the first all-female bridge and officer team sailing in March 2020 and the last sailing before the industry was put on pause, Captain Kate McCue, the first and still only American female to captain a major cruise ship, now leads the fleet – and the industry – back into operation from Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades. The ship set sails for Mexico and the Bahamas.
Rarely has a seven-night cruise of the Caribbean come with such symbolism and hope, but there is no underestimating that this is an historic moment for the brand as it cruises back to normal. Celebrity Edge was given the green light - and the honor - to be the first ship back in the water, having met all new standards for providing a healthy and safe cruise experience for its guests and crew.
"This is a momentous sailing and one that we have been preparing for a long time. It's not only a huge honor to be the first ship back in the water, leading the industry in the long-awaited return to U.S.-based cruising, it's also an incredible achievement and testament to the tireless efforts of our shoreside team and onboard crew," said Richard Fain, Chairman of the Royal Caribbean Group, the parent company of Celebrity Cruises. "Travel is a powerful catalyst for positive change in our world. There's nothing more enriching in life than exposing yourself to new cultures, sights, and experiences… and nothing more luxurious than doing it on board a Celebrity cruise ship," he added. "All that's left to say is welcome aboard."
"The significance of this moment is not lost on anyone on our team or the industry. We have longed for this day, not only because it represents a return to service and doing what we love to do most, but because we know that for many the return of cruising is a symbol of the world's return to normalcy," said Brian Abel, Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations for Celebrity Cruises. "For too long, we've had to encourage one another with dreams of 'someday' returning to being together, again. Now, as the world opens up, and we can gather and enjoy our families and friends on an amazing cruise vacation, 'someday' is here."
Named 'one of the world's greatest places' by Time Magazine, Celebrity Edge is widely regarded as the most innovative cruise ship on earth. The ship's onboard experience stands apart from anything else at sea, creating an exciting modern cruising experience with offerings like the incredible Magic Carpet, soaring cantilevered above the sea and transformational accommodations like hyper-lux two-story villas with private plunge pools.
Inaugurated in 2018, Celebrity Edge's unique outward-facing design breaks from traditional shipbuilding. Aboard, guests feel more connected with the sea and the places they visit, whether it's sipping cocktails from the sundeck of The Retreat, a private oasis within the ship, or taking in the stunning vistas from the botanical Rooftop Garden. The ship's amenities and views will infuse new life into passengers that have longed to travel and see the world once again.
"The week after our entire industry was grounded, last March, I started a #HopeFloats tradition of blowing the ship's horn every evening to let the world know that not only were we safe, but we were thinking of those at home and hoping the same for them," said Captain McCue. "Now, the sound of a ship's horn symbolizes rising above from any hardship. The entire crew is so happy to be back and we can't wait to welcome our guests aboard!"
With today's sailing, eight of the 14 ships within the Celebrity Cruises' fleet now have plans to return to sailing in 2021 and are ready to take guests to breathtaking destinations, from the Caribbean to Europe, Alaska and the Galapagos, including:
- The magnificent Celebrity Millennium led North America's return to service as the first ship to sail in the Caribbean on June 5 from St. Maarten.
- Celebrity Apex, the newest addition to the Celebrity fleet, made her world debut in Athens on June 19, with seven-night sailings to the Greek Isles. The cruise marked a historic return to Greece for the company, which was founded there 33 years ago.
- Celebrity Silhouette prepares to summer in Southampton, UK beginning July 3 and offer stunning cruises of the British Isles and coastline.
- Beginning July 4, the luxurious, state-of-the-art mega-yacht, Celebrity Flora, will resume sailing the magical Galapagos Islands. She will be followed soon after by the award-winning Celebrity Xpedition and intimate 16-passenger Celebrity Xploration® on July 24, and September 18, respectively.
- And, Celebrity's long-awaited return to the incomparable natural wonders of Alaska begin July 23.
Healthy at Sea
Celebrity Cruises has established new health and safety measures in accordance with guidance from public health authorities, government agencies, and its own team of health and safety experts to provide guests with the peace of mind to fully enjoy their voyage.
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. In Florida, vaccinations are strongly recommended.