North America’s first cruise since the pandemic sets sail with fully vaccinated passengers on board

U.S.

MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — After more than a year of being stuck in the dock, a Celebrity cruise ship is sailing the Atlantic with passengers once again.

The Celebrity Millenium became the first cruise ship to sail from North America since the pandemic started this week. In order to board, everyone on Celebrity Millennium had to show proof of vaccination.

Avid cruiser Karen Best of Branson, Missouri is one of the 648 fully vaccinated passengers onboard. She said she was a little hesitant to come out but has enjoyed the experience.

“When we got off the ship in Barbados, we did have to wear our masks and we were kind of kept in a bubble on our excursions, so that is a little different than the past cruises have been,” Best said.

The weather is a little dreary, but things onboard look pretty normal. Cruisers lounging in the hot tub and playing ping pong on the deck. The shops are open and yes, the buffets are open, too.

One change is the usual “lifeboat drill” was actually virtual, done on passengers’ phones so they could avoid big groups of people congregating together.

Stewart Chiron, who goes by “The Cruise Guy,” said there are other noticeable differences.

“The buffets are handled very well and instead of the passengers utilizing the utensils and serving themselves, the crew wearing gloves were serving the passengers,” Chiron said.

When Royal Caribbean starts cruising next month, they will not require passengers to be vaccinated but anyone not vaccinated will be tested for COVID-19.

Chiron said he personally would still feel “a whole lot more comfortable” if all the passengers were vaccinated. 

“Based on what we know — the science and technology that we know — it makes a whole lot of difference,” Chiron said.

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