MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Cruising is set to officially relaunch in the U.S. when the Celebrity Edge departs from Fort Lauderdale this Saturday.
Ships are already sailing from foreign ports.READ MORE: Officials Worry Large Crowds Will Leave Mess Behind After Memorial Day Weekend
Celebrity was the first U.S.-based line to launch from Europe with the departure of the Apex this past weekend from Athens, Greece, and is sailing through the Greek Islands.
Martha and Paul Pearlman from Philadelphia are on board to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.
“It’s just so beautiful here today,” Martha said. “It’s just, it’s so fabulous.”
The pandemic canceled three cruises the couple had planned. In order to participate in the Apex cruise, all passengers provided proof of vaccination, underwent a medical screening, and got a COVID test.
That was a first for Paul. “It was a little weird. Sitting in front of people and having that in a big open space but it was not a big deal,” he said.
The process flagged two guests with COVID-19 earlier this month on a Celebrity cruise ship out of Saint Maarten. Manolis Alevropoulos, vice president of Celebrity Marine Operations, said the affected guests were moved into isolation.
“The cases were handled exactly as per protocol. And that’s why there were no further issues. We followed the protocols and we proved that the protocols work,” Alevropoulos saidREAD MORE: Death Of Child Pulled From Homestead Pond Under Investigation
Masks are required on the Apex unless you’re drinking or eating because that’s what Greece mandates.
On the Edge, another ship launching out of Florida on Saturday, the rules will be different.
“We follow the U.S. CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated passengers, it is not a requirement to wear masks,” Alevropoulos said.
Lindsay and William Keough from the Boston area are comfortable with the rules aboard the Apex.
“I feel safe, relaxed. I’ve barely thought about COVID beyond this conversation since we’ve been on the ship.”
That’s exactly what they wanted, as they celebrate their honeymoon, delayed since October because of the coronavirus. This past Saturday, Royal Caribbean launched a test cruise from Miami with mostly employees aboard.
The CDC said companies that conduct a successful test voyage do not have to require passengers to be vaccinated.
The CDC’s “regulations” for U.S. cruise ships leaving Florida are being downgraded to “recommendations” or “guidelines.”MORE NEWS: Florida Law Enforcement Officials Reassure Parents On Potential School Shooter Threat
The change will happen next month after a judge sided with a lawsuit filed by the state of Florida challenging the rules.