Cruise Specialists marketing team member, Maggie Blehert, cruised on board Celebrity Edge on the first cruise out of a U.S. port since cruising’s pause. The 7-day cruise departed Fort Lauderdale on June 26, 2021, and cruised roundtrip, calling on Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico, and Nassau, The Bahamas.
Maggie has cruised approximately 10 times and this was her second Celebrity Cruise. She is filing reports on behalf of Cruise Specialists on everything from the logistics of this cruise to the mood on the ship, to details about Celebrity Edge. We start with an overall look at how people feel being back cruising again.
I’m writing this post from Celebrity Edge on the 5th day of our cruise, just after departing Cozumel, Mexico. Looking back on this voyage that is now more than half over, you might guess the mood is still very happy and excited. Well, you’re absolutely right! I thought it might be helpful to share some examples of why exactly that is. Of course, for being such a momentous cruise, every single person we’ve spoken with has shared that they are thrilled to be part of history.
This cruise entails one of the most unique groups of travelers perhaps ever assembled. First off, we know that this cruise is sailing with at least 95% of guests fully vaccinated. We have been told informally that the percentage is even higher than that. (And there are only about two dozen children below the age of 12 who can’t be vaccinated as of yet.) Where else in the world does such a large group of fully vaccinated travelers exist? Other than the few other cruises that have departed places other than the U.S., we can’t think of too many.
In talking with a variety of cruisers throughout this week, both in sit-down interviews and casual conversations, I’ve learned a lot about their experiences and feelings about the trip so far. Overwhelmingly, they are incredibly positive. Everyone on board seems to have relished this cruise so much and they are so excited to book their next cruise (many already have). There is a general feeling that other than some logistical changes in preparing for the cruise, and some minor modifications on board, not much about the cruise is altogether different from past cruises. Keep in mind, all cruise lines have updated their health and safety protocols significantly, but as far as the general feel of a cruise, it feels extremely normal.
I spoke with other travelers who all had a special reason for being here:
- There was the teacher who only gets one month off this summer, who was looking for a getaway and this was the first cruise from the U.S. she could find.
- There was the grandmother who has been on over 200 cruises and was so excited to be back on the ship with her teenage granddaughter—who has already taken more than 90.
- The Captain’s Club reception (Celebrity Cruises repeat guests) was a “who’s who” of cruise guests—definitely spotlighting the dozens and dozens of loyal Celebrity cruisers who could not wait to be part of this historic cruise.
- There was the couple who had special t-shirts made just to commemorate the occasion. They were quite a pair strolling around the ship.
Surprisingly, I learned that 25% of the ship is actually first time cruisers. It seems as though many people were so excited to get out and travel the world again, and this cruise is one of the safest places in the world to be! There are also many experienced cruisers and Celebrity Cruises aficionados. They all have given the cruise itself and crew members extremely high marks for how the ship has been brought back into service.
The Crew & Staff
One of the interesting things about this voyage with it being reduced capacity is the accessibility of the crew. Celebrity Cruises is an upper premium cruise brand: delectable cuisine with intimate specialty restaurants that replace the traditional main dining room concept, innovative staterooms such as the Edge Stateroom with Infinite Veranda, a wide variety of high quality entertainment, and so much more. The service is always a hallmark of Celebrity Cruises, and at this time with fewer guests, it simply allows the crew to interact with guests on a more individual basis. It really makes for a memorable time.
I’ve been able to sit and visit with crew as they’ve led us in various activities or in casual conversations around the ship that aren’t always possible, or at least as frequent, when a ship is full capacity. In this way, we’ve collectively been able to share thoughts and feelings about the past 16 months. The crew have all said such positive things about their company and how it remained in communication with them while they were on pause. Additionally, they were thrilled to get the call back to return to service. Many returned to Edge a little more than a month prior to this sailing. They did a lot of preparation and drills to get “back in shape” for cruising with guests again. Whether from Croatia, Indonesia, Israel, or other faraway lands, they are all here because of their passion for cruising and to deliver the ultimate in service to Celebrity Cruises guests.
If you have the opportunity to cruise in the near future, I would highly recommend taking advantage of this unique time in travel’s history. Contact a Cruise Specialists Cruise Consultant today to ask any questions and make your reservations.