Celebrity resumes cruises: How cruise lines bypassed the CDC, travel restrictions to ease soon?
Updated: Jul 4, 2021
On March 19, 2021 about a year after the pause of cruising began Celebrity Cruise Line announced their return to sailing; however it is not the way that many of us expected. As of today the CDC did not release their revised framework to enable cruise lines to begin test cruises; instead Celebrity Cruises and Royal Carribean bypassed the CDC by sailing out of foreign ports. Celebrity announced the Celebrity Millenumin will be re-deployed from their 2021 Alaska season to being home ported in St Maarten. I speculate they are repositioning the Millennium since Canada banned cruise ships until 2022. Is there a way to save the 2021 Alaska season find out here.
Since this new itinerary salis from a port outside of the US and the ports of call do not visit any US state or territory The CDC framework for cruising does not apply. Do not worry that health protocols will be loosened, Celebrity will still follow the advice of their Healthy Sail Panel you can see their proposed health protocols here.
In the past few months many people asked the question; Will cruise lines require passengers to be vaccinated? In the Recent weeks a few small cruise lines announced they will require all passengers to be vaccinated against COVID 19. Virgin Voyages was the first large cruise line that sails out of the US to require vaccination against COVID 19 for all passengers. Celebrity announced today that…
“The ship will sail with vaccinated crew and will be available to vaccinated adult guests and children under the age of 18 with a negative test result within 72 hours of embarkation. In addition, guests must meet St. Maarten’s travel requirements, which currently include presenting a negative PCR test taken within 72-hours of arrival to the island. Celebrity Millennium will sail with comprehensive, multilayered health and safety measures developed with expert guidance from parent company Royal Caribbean Group’s Healthy Sail Panel and Global Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer; and local health and government authorities. These measures, including vaccination requirements, will evolve in keeping with current public health standards. Details on all health and safety measures across the entire Celebrity Cruises vacation experience can be found at https://www.celebritycruises.com/healthy-at-sea. “
The question remains will Celebrity Cruises require the COVID vaccine once they restart in the US? Well at the time this article is being written your guess is probably as good as mine. But If i was to speculate I would say the chances are pretty good they will initially require the vaccine when Celebrity Cruise Line resumes cruises in the United States.
Celebrity Cruises will offer two itineraries out of St Maarten, below is an excerpt from an email I received from Celebrity.
“Now, beginning March 25th you’ll be able to book our new summer season of Caribbean cruises for a week of world-class dining experiences, thrilling shows and dreamy, stylish staterooms all while basking in the sun, culture and history of some of the most beautiful islands on the planet. Our itinerary offerings include:
• Aruba, Curaçao and Barbados - This trifecta of spectacular islands offers plenty of wonder from Aruba’s natural rock pools, caves and volcanic lava formations; to the colorful Dutch-colonial-style buildings and the Willemstad City Center UNESCO World Heritage Site in Curaçao; to snorkeling and catamaran sailings in the cool blue waters of Barbados.
• Tortola, St. Lucia and Barbados – In addition to the many water adventure offerings in Barbados, this itinerary adds in St. Lucia’s lush green landscape and relaxing Sugar Beach; along with one of the British Virgin Islands’ treasures, Tortola, with its mountainous landscape and beautiful sandy coves that are enough to make any beach lover swoon.”
White House to ease travel restrictions?
With vaccine distribution in the United States ramping up and according to the president the vaccine is planned to be widely available to the general public in May. The White House may reduce travel restrictions in mid-May, said a source (a senior administration official) according to a CNBC article.
An article from cruise Industry News speculates the CDC may change their framework as well especially if cruise lines require all guests and crew to be vaccinated. This article also cited an industry source that stated that most ships will be able to restart cruising 60-90 days after the CDC provides technical guidance regarding test sailings, while some ships may be able to operate sooner.
I speculate as more days and weeks pass without technical guidance by the CDC cruise lines will re-position more ships out of US ports and waters so they can definitely start sailings. Do you think Celebrity will move more of their ships out of US ports?