FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The cruise line industry is making a comeback after the first ship with paying passengers on board set sail from a U.S. port in more than a year.
Cruise expert Stewart Chiron is on board the Celebrity Edge. He said sailing from the U.S. marked a very big moment for the industry.
“I will tell you, it is quite a euphoric moment,” Chiron said.
The Celebrity Edge set sail from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday. It’s the first cruise with paying passengers on board to leave from a U.S. port in 15 months since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“It’s really going to signal a really interesting time as cruises start to resume out of the United States and of course, most importantly from Miami, Port Canaveral and Port Everglades, which are the three busiest ports in the world,” Chiron said.
There is reduced capacity on board and a majority of the passengers are vaccinated, Chiron said, adding that those who aren’t vaccinated have to get tested and go through additional protocols.
“There are certain areas they have to dine, certain areas of the showroom that they would go in, and they would be relegated to certain areas on the ship,” Chiron said.
He said other safety changes include crew members serving food at the buffets while wearing masks and gloves. He said passengers now also complete the lifeboat safety training on an app to avoid large crowds from gathering.
“A lot of what the pandemic has done is to rush new processes which actually helps provide a simpler, more convenient experience, especially at the beginning of the cruise,” Chiron said.
This comes as Disney cruise lines prepares for its test sailing. The Disney Dream is leaving from Port Canaveral on Tuesday as part of the cruise line’s efforts to get federal clearance to allow paying passengers to board by this summer.
Chiron said he feels safe while cruising and is excited to see ships leaving from the U.S. again.
“It’s just very important in some way or another for these cruise lines to be able to start getting their ships out on the high seas,” he said.