Cruising is BACK! I had the great pleasure of sailing on Celebrity Edge from Fort Lauderdale, FL from July 3-10, 2021. This was only the second cruise to depart from the U.S. in more than a year, and I am excited to now have firsthand experience of our long-awaited return to cruising. Given that, I want to share my personal experiences with you, including a few videos, and hopefully address some of your most common questions about what to expect on these first several cruises.
Embarkation for Celebrity Cruises
For Celebrity Cruises, the key to making this process go smoothly is to download the Celebrity App about a month before your cruise. The app is the key to your success on Day 1. You can complete your online check in, safety briefing, health questionnaire and select your check in time within a few clicks before ever heading to the pier.
Once we arrived at the pier at our dedicated time, we went through a series of different check points.
- Station 1 – Proof of Vaccination They asked for my vaccination card. They took a picture of my card and reviewed the health questionnaire to make sure there were no changes to my answers. Once completed, I got a wristband to show that I was fully vaccinated. This band always stays on during the cruise.
- Station 2 – Proof of Citizenship: They took a picture of me holding my passport and that was it.
- Station 3 – Security: The final station was going through the security line just like at any airport.
Boarding Celebrity Edge
We continued down the gangway and on to the ship—the beautiful Celebrity Edge. There were no embarkation day photo opportunities, so we eagerly made our way to our beautiful Infinite Veranda stateroom. Upon arrival, our cabin key card was located outside the stateroom, and then we were in.
We were required to report to our muster station just to check in, which was a breeze since we had already completed the required muster station training on the app before boarding! This was a very efficient process, and we were soon off exploring the ship.
Post-pandemic Cruise Experience
Once on board, there were not a lot of changes from how cruising was pre pandemic. Masks were not required on the ship if you were vaccinated. Pools and hot tubs, bars, the theater and all main areas were open and ready to welcome guests. For the most part, it was cruising as usual just with more hand washing stations and the crew was constantly cleaning to keep the ship shining.
- Buffets were open and plentiful. The main difference was the staff served the food instead of guests serving themselves.
- Restaurant tables were spaced out and restaurants were only at about 50% capacity. Remember, ships are not sailing full, so this was not a problem at all. We made reservations just a few days in advance and got all the dining times we wanted.
- In our ports, everyone was required to wear masks off the ship and adhere to all local regulations. At the time of our sailing, that meant masks were required in all shops, for example. We did two snorkeling trips and masks were not required once on board the catamaran.
Highlights of Sailing on Celebrity Edge
We ate at Le Petit Chef one night, and this is an experience not to be missed. The table comes alive with virtual chefs preparing everyone’s food. After they create everyone’s meal, the human waiter is right there to put the food on guests’ plates, looking exactly how the virtual chef prepared it! Most importantly, the food was amazing. My suggestion is to pay the $15 per person extra charge and do the wine pairing. The selections really did enhance the meal.
The Magic Carpet on board Celebrity Edge is unbelievable. To be hanging off the side of the ship and on Deck 16 looking down really felt like flying.
The live shows on board were amazing. Passengers loved some of the performers so much that they brought them back to perform again at the end of the cruise.
The disembarkation process was the same as a typical cruise. We placed luggage tags on bags and set them out the night before. Groups were called at certain times to disembark, or guests could do self-carry and be the first ones off.
Final Thoughts After Sailing on Celebrity Edge
I felt completely safe and COVID-19 was not a topic people focused on once on board. We were in our own little bubble, in the best possible way, with most passengers vaccinated. If you’re on the fence about booking your next cruise, NOW is the time to do it. There’s nothing like cruising, and I am beyond excited that CRUISING IS BACK!
If you have any questions about Celebrity Cruises and their return to service, give me a call at 240-487-1116. I’m also available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’d love to share more about this incredible experience!
Cruise Consultant | The Cruise Web
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Cruise Web or Celebrity Cruises.