It's been a long-awaited moment for the world's largest cruise market.
'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,' Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo tweeted.
Kate McCue in command
The ship is commanded by Capt. Kate McCue — a fitting choice since she was at the helm for the history-making first all-female bridge and officer team sailing in March 2020 and the last Celebrity cruise before the pause.
'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,' McCue said. '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.'
At least 95% vaccinated travelers
Carrying at least 95% fully vaccinated crew and passengers, Celebrity Edge becomes the first cruise ship to get the green light to resume service from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will be calling at Mexico and the Bahamas.
It is the third Celebrity ship to resume service, following Celebrity Millennium on June 5 from St. Maarten and Celebrity Apex on June 19 from Piraeus. Eight of the fleet's 14 ships are planned to carry passengers in 2021.
'This is a momentous sailing and one that we have been preparing for a long time,' Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said. '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 US-based cruising, it’s also an incredible achievement and testament to the tireless efforts of our shoreside team and on-board crew.'
Fain continued: '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.'