The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved a Celebrity Cruises ship to set sail with passengers, marking the first official CDC-approved for-profit cruise since the crackdown on the cruise industry in the United States. However, there is one major caveat: all guests 16 and older must be fully vaccinated.
In a press release, Celebrity Cruises announced the Celebrity Edge as the “first cruise ship to sail from US waters in more than a year,” beginning June 26. Because the CDC determined the ship as meeting all health standards, it will depart from Port Everglades in Florida, led by Captain Kate McCue, described as “the first and still only American female Captain.”
Per the announcement, all guests 16 and older must be fully vaccinated. They plan to lower the age requirement for vaccination to 12 beginning August 1:
All guests ages 16 years and older must be fully vaccinated with all Covid-19 vaccine doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing. As of August 1, 2021, all US Guests age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated. For UK residents, all guests 18 and over must be fully vaccinated with all Covid-19 vaccine doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing. Crew members onboard will be vaccinated.
“For the past 15 months our conversations with friends and loved ones about seeing the world have been accompanied by the phrase ‘someday.’ I’m beyond proud and excited to say that day has arrived,” Celebrity Cruises CEO and President Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said in a statement.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has stood as one of the most outspoken critics of the CDC and feds over their restrictions on the cruise industry, particularly given the impact on the Sunshine State, home to some of the busiest ports in the world.
“The latest guidance from @CDCgov is a joke but what else did we expect from the Biden Administration?” DeSantis asked earlier this month, slamming vaccine passports.
“Vaccine passports infringe on our liberty and don’t keep people safe,” he added. “Our cruise industry is a major economic driver. Let our ships sail!”:
The latest guidance from @CDCgov is a joke but what else did we expect from the Biden Administration? Vaccine passports infringe on our liberty and don't keep people safe. Our cruise industry is a major economic driver. Let our ships sail!https://t.co/TMrkA09QvN
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 4, 2021
As Breitbart News reported:
In April, the CDC issued the next phase of the conditional sail order for cruise ship operators, which contains a flurry of red tape, requiring the establishment of a plan and timeline for the vaccination of crew and port workers as well as simulated trial voyages to put the health requirements into practice before sailing with passengers.
The agency later clarified that cruise ships could begin to sail with passengers, without doing the simulated voyages, as early as June, but on the condition that 98 percent of the crew and 95 percent of the passengers are vaccinated for the Chinese coronavirus.
Earlier this month, DeSantis signed a measure banning the use of vaccine passports in the state.