Travel | May 27, 2021 12:51 pm

Set Sail on the First Approved US Cruise Since the Pandemic Began

The CDC is allowing a single paid sailing from a Royal Caribbean subsidiary in June

Cruise ship Celebrity Edge seen at Piraeus Port. Celebrity Edge is the first Edge-class cruise ship operated by Celebrities.
The Celebrity Edge cruise ship, as seen in 2019.
Giorgos Zachos/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Cruises are back. Tentatively.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved a paid sailing by the cruise ship Celebrity Edge out of Fort Lauderdale, F.L., in late June, according to the New York Daily News.

It’s the first paid cruise to launch from the U.S. since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic; the CDC approved the cruise if the criteria of having 95% of passengers and 95% of crew vaccinated is met.

Celebrity president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo took to Twitter with her excitement.

“CDC has provisionally approved one cruise ship from Royal Caribbean to begin restricted revenue sailing in June, following a request for a conditional sailing certificate and the submission of an accurate and complete port agreement,” as Caitlin Shockey, spokesperson for the CDC, told USA Today.

As the outlet notes, the cruise line actually plans to have 100% of its crew vaccinated, as well as 100% of passengers over the age of 16 (which will go to “over 12” starting in August).

Still, this initial sailing doesn’t portend a return to 2019. As travel site The Points Guy pointed out earlier this week, several cruise lines — including Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises — have restart plans that are five to nine months away.

But with new vaccination protocols in place, the Celebrity Edge experiment should do better than last year’s rushed attempt to get back on the water.