All aboard! First cruise ship from the United States after the pandemic departs

0


FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (AP) – The first cruise ship to leave a U.S. port since the coronavirus pandemic brought the industry to a 15-month standstill sailed Saturday with almost all of its vaccinated passengers on board.

Celebrity Edge left Fort Lauderdale, Fla. At 6:00 p.m. with the number of passengers limited to about 40% and nearly all 1,100 passengers vaccinated against COVID-19. Celebrity Cruises, one of the Royal Caribbean Cruise brands, says 99% of passengers are vaccinated, which is well above the 95% requirement mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A huge greeting was projected on the wall of one of the port buildings: “There will be one day. Welcome back.”

The passengers arrived with matching T-shirts on which sentences like “straight from the vaccination” and “vaccinated and ready to cruise” could be read.

“Words cannot describe how excited we are today to be a part of this historic sailing,” said Elizabeth Rosner, 28, who moved from Michigan to Orlando, Florida with her fiancé in December 2019 just to get close to the cruise industry Hub.

In order to meet both CDC requirements and a new Florida law that bans companies from providing proof of vaccination from customers, Celebrity Cruises asked guests if they would like to share their vaccination status. Those who have not shown themselves to be vaccinated or who have not shown themselves to be vaccinated face additional limitations.

With the sailing on Saturday, the return of the cruise ships to the business of Carnival ships, which are scheduled to depart from other ports as early as next month, begins.

“This is an emotional day for me. When I got on the ship, I was proud. It’s a beautiful ship, ”said Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, after offering condolences to the victims of the collapse of the Surfside building less than 15 miles south of the port.

Celebrity Cruises unveiled the $ 1 billion boat in December 2018 – betting on luxury cruises with a huge spa and multi-story suites. The seven-day cruise will sail for three days in the waters of the western Caribbean before stopping at Costa Maya, Cozumel and Nassau.

The first cruise ship to leave a U.S. port since the coronavirus pandemic brought the industry to a standstill sailed on Saturday with almost all vaccinated passengers on board.

Celebrity Edge left Fort Lauderdale, Fla. At 6:00 p.m. with the number of passengers limited to about 40% and nearly all 1,100 passengers vaccinated against COVID-19. Celebrity Cruises, one of the Royal Caribbean Cruise brands, says 99% of passengers are vaccinated, which is well above the 95% requirement mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A huge greeting was projected on the wall of one of the port buildings: “There will be one day. Welcome back.”

The passengers arrived with matching T-shirts on which sentences like “straight from the vaccination” and “vaccinated and ready to cruise” could be read.

“Words cannot describe how excited we are today to be a part of this historic sailing,” said Elizabeth Rosner, 28, who moved from Michigan to Orlando, Florida with her fiancé in December 2019 just to get close to the cruise industry Hub.

In order to meet both CDC requirements and a new Florida law that bans companies from providing proof of vaccination from customers, Celebrity Cruises asked guests if they would like to share their vaccination status. Those who have not shown themselves to be vaccinated or reported not to be vaccinated face additional limitations.

With the sailing on Saturday, the return of the cruise ships to the business of Carnival ships, which are scheduled to depart from other ports as early as next month, begins.

“This is an emotional day for me. When I got on the ship, I was proud. It’s a beautiful ship, ”said Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, after offering condolences to the victims of the collapse of the Surfside building less than 15 miles south of the port.

Celebrity Cruises unveiled the $ 1 billion boat in December 2018 – betting on luxury cruises with a huge spa and multi-story suites. The seven-day cruise will sail for three days in the waters of the western Caribbean before stopping at Costa Maya, Cozumel and Nassau.

The ship is led by Captain Kate McCue, the first American to command a cruise ship and has more than 1 million followers on TikTok.

“You can really feel the excitement and energy in the group as we prepare to greet our first guests,” said McCue. “I’ve honestly never seen a group so excited to get back to work.”

Industry officials are hoping everything will go smoothly to overcome a chapter of deadly outbreaks on cruise lines last year that resulted in ships being turned back in ports and passengers being quarantined. Some passengers died of COVID-19 at sea, while others became so sick that they had to be carried by the ships on stretchers.

The CDC repeatedly extended no-sail orders last year as the pandemic raged and placed stringent requirements on the industry that have already been challenged in court by the state of Florida. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says industry generates billions for the state’s economy.

On Saturday, Fort Lauderdale Port Everglades officials said only that the port lost more than $ 30 million in revenue in fiscal 2020 due to the cruise shutdown.

During that hiatus, Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, the top three cruise lines, had to raise more than $ 40 billion in funding to stay afloat. Taken together, they lost $ 20 billion last year and another $ 4.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021, according to the filings of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The pandemic forced Kurt and Carol Budde to cancel their beach party wedding on board the world’s largest ship, the Symphony of the Seas, in March 2020. COVID-19 stopped the cruise six days before they were due to tie the knot in St. Maarten. Kurt Budde’s part-time job as a travel agent also dried up.

“It’s a honeymoon makeup cruise,” said Kurt Budde, wearing matching shirts that said, “On Cruise Control.”

“We are leading our best life today after COVID,” he said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.



Source link

Share.

Leave A Reply