We are on the last day of the first week of our back to back cruise on the Celebrity Edge. Below are some of our observations and personal opinions on our sailing so far on the Celebrity Edge since the cruise restart.
COVID Rocked the Cruise Industry
The cruise industry including Celebrity was hit hard with the outbreak of COVID in early 2020, and was completely shut down for 15 months. The reports of what was happening onboard were terrible. I remember thinking I would never get on another ship again.. The industry had been plagued with other incidents of sickness before COVID. Stomach viruses swept through cruise ships regularly. The cruise industry was continuously updating health safety measures to address these concerns, but COVID highlighted there was more to do.
Cruising Is Back
Russell and I have cruised many times and have always enjoyed it. We generally avoided self serve buffets as part of our routine and regularly washed hands so we were fine on board. (On a side note we love the new protocols around buffet dining on the Edge. Waitstaff serve food so passengers never touch the utensils. We have enjoyed the buffet a couple of times. The food was great!)
Celebrity Edge Leading the Way
The first ship to sail from the U.S. was the Edge. The cruise industry is following the strict guidance of CDC. The guidance has continued to be updated since the restart. On the Edge during the second week of sailing 7 fully vaccinated people (passengers and outside contractors) came down with COVID. The passengers, at the expense of the cruise line were cared for and flown home mid cruise. Through contact tracing passengers who were exposed were quarantined and tested. The cruise line refunded a portion of their fare. Celebrity has been completely transparent about the number of cases. The cruise line made some additional adjustments to protocols and required all passengers to be tested 3 days before boarding. We had to make adjustments to our plans as that guidance changed. I suspect there are more changes coming based on the latest CDC guidance around testing, but the cruise lines are trying to get this right for the safety of their employees and passengers and just to survive as an industry.
Celebrity Cruises Rock
We think Celebrity is doing a great job! They continue to sail at reduced capacity – this week the Edge was only about 37% full. In some ways as a passenger this is amazing because there are no lines, deck chairs are always available, good seats in the shows are available. In some ways it feels a little lonely. I think about the cabin and wait staff who rely on tips as part of their salary, the entertainment staff whose enegy feeds off the audience, and a company that is trying to stay afloat (punny 😂) and keep thousands of people employed.
Crew and Passenger Are Happy to Be Back
It is very obvious the crew and passengers on board are happy to be back. Most of the passengers are hard-corps cruisers. Some have already been on more than one cruise since July, but some are just getting back for the first time in a year and a half. For us its been 3 years, but we are excited to be part of the restart. We have one more full week. It’s been a very relaxing vacation. You think they would notice if we didnt get off the ship next week!?!?!